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Using Lightroom’s Radial Filter

Having recently upgraded to Lightroom 5 I wanted to spend some time looking at the new tools that the software offers. This week’s Let’s Edit focuses on using the Radial Filter tool.

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The Radial Filter tool can be found in the cluster of icons below the histogram – it’s the circle to the left of the adjustment brush tool. When selected you will have a handful of new sliders opened to you for adjustments as well as a feathering control and an inverse filter effect.

To apply a filter simply drag into the image where you want it and use the sizing points to size and shape the filter as desired. You can move the filter around by grabbing it and you can rotate it by hovering outside the filter and waiting for the dual arrow rotation icon to appear.

Checking the inverse filter box changes how the effects are applied from outside in, to inside out, which gives you some great control over where and how you want the filter to work. For even more customization try using two or more radial filters to achieve truly interesting results.

Watch the video below for a hands on look at using the Radial Filter in Lightroom 5.

Using Lightroom’s Radial Filter Tool

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8 Responses to “Using Lightroom’s Radial Filter”

  1. I’ve been waiting and waiting for this! Now I’ll have to wait some more because I don’t have time before I go to work to watch it. But, just want to say thanks in advance, John! :) I’m doing pretty well with most of the other tools, but this one has stymied me.

  2. revdfw said

    I’ve been waiting and waiting for this! Now I’ll have to wait some more because I don’t have time before I go to work to watch it. But, just want to say thanks in advance, John! :) I’m doing pretty well with most of the other tools, but this one has stymied me.

    Happy you’re excited about it! I’ll be doing more with this filter in the future too so don’t think this video is the last that you’ve seen of it. :)

  3. Now that I’ve seen it, I’m really excited about using it. You gave me just what I needed to get started! Trouble is, I can’t! My computer is “indisposed” at the moment, but for good reason! I’ll have it back tomorrow . . . so in a way, I’m still waiting!

  4. This was a good tutorial. I don’t use the Radial Filter a lot, but it can give a pretty dramatic, if subtle, impact to an image. I like how you used the Radial Filter to add a vignette to the photo. I hadn’t really known about that. Just curious how the post-crop vignetting, under the Effects tab compares with the Radial Filter. I haven’t spent enough time to decide if one offers an advantage or increased flexibility or more options. What do you think?

  5. steve priebe said

    This was a good tutorial. I don’t use the Radial Filter a lot, but it can give a pretty dramatic, if subtle, impact to an image. I like how you used the Radial Filter to add a vignette to the photo. I hadn’t really known about that. Just curious how the post-crop vignetting, under the Effects tab compares with the Radial Filter. I haven’t spent enough time to decide if one offers an advantage or increased flexibility or more options. What do you think?

    I guess my take on this is that – the post-crop vignetting feature of Lightroom has been out-shined by the radial filter.

    The reason is simply that the new radial filter tool can pretty much do everything that post crop vignetting did (i.e. – create a vignette with any degree of feathering and darkness that you’d like). However, with the radial filter you can move it off-center, add blur, saturation, change the temperature and invert the effect which to me almost begs the question – why does post crop vignetting still exist?

  6. I see what you’re saying. It does offer much greater potential. I suspect the post crop vignetting is still there, in part, because it was easier to leave it than take it out. And any time you remove something that people have become familiar with, they get upset. Eventually, it will probably quietly go away.

  7. Yeah exactly – much easier to leave it in than take it away (especially when the tool is brand new). Who knows there might be some very specialized use that we’re overlooking too. :)

  8. Richard Depinay March 11, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    I use the radial filter ALL the time. Yes, this crash about it, and even the reason why I upgraded to Lightroom 5.
    Sometimes, I will even purposely underexpose the picture, to then bring back the light where and only where I want you to look at, using the radial filter.
    Here is an example of a picture I took: http://www.flickr.com/photos/10765722@N08/13095834274/

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