Everything You Need to Know About Lightroom’s Radial Filter

One of the most under-utilized yet exceptionally powerful tools in Adobe Lightroom is the radial filter. But whether you’re an old hand with this amazing little tool or brand new to it, this particularly useful tutorial from photographer Anthony Morganti will set you up with some tips and shortcuts that will make your work much easier:

Introduced in Lightroom 5 and then expanded upon in Lightroom 6, the radial filter is an incredibly powerful image adjustment tool that can be used to make numerous local and refined adjustments to your images. But it’s easily overlooked. If you haven’t explored the various little icons on the right-hand side of the Develop module, you’ve likely missed out on the myriad of creative adjustments the radial filter can do.

Rotating Lightroom's Radial Filter

In a nutshell, the radial filter allow you to select a circular or ellipsoidal area of your image, allowing you to make adjustments (e.g. color, hue, exposure, etc.) to that area alone. By default it affects the outside of the circle (making it super easy to create custom vignettes), but checking the “invert” checkbox will make it so your adjustments affect the inside of your circle/ellipse.

From there you can make adjustments using any of the sliders in the right-hand panel, feather your adjustments, and even use a paint brush to “erase” or mask out areas within the selected area that you’d like to not be affected.

But even if you knew all of this you probably didn’t know all the cool little shortcuts that Morganti brings to this tutorial, the oddest of which is that you can actually change the color of your mask overlay simply by holding down Shift + O.

Change the mask color simply by hitting command or control-o

So if you’re a Lightroom user and you haven’t yet experimented with this humble little tool, give it a whirl. Not only is it the best way to really commit Morganti’s tips to memory, you’ll probably be delighted at the results.

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