Apply a Radial Filter in Lightroom
Learn how to quickly add depth and selective colour adjustments using filters and gradients
Lightroom’s range of tools help us to produce effects and get more creative with our images. Although limiting to some extent with how far we can take these effects, the Radial Filter opens the door for effects like selective colour, and with the help of brushes these effects are quick to apply.
We can start by splitting our image into two tones by using the brush that comes with the Radial Filter. Keeping the effect gradual is easy to do as well, with just a couple of simple adjustments needed to create a better blend.
In this tutorial you will learn how to apply the Radial Filter to a single subject, and then how to apply tweaks to colour and saturation. Adapting the edge transition of the effect is possible using the Size and Feather options that come with the tool’s Brush feature, and altering the sharpness of the background will produce depth of field to finish off the effect.
1 Locate tool Import your image into Lightroom and head to the Develop module. Go to the Radial Filter tool (found just under the Histogram) or hit Shift+M to jump straight to it. This opens a separate set of adjustments.
2 First gradient For the selective colour effect, drag a circle (or oval if the object isn’t circular) over the object that will remain in colour. Carefully position and resize the oval to fit over the object completely.
3 Remove colour Reduce Saturation down to -100 to remove all colour from the rest of the image. This should just leave the object selected in Step 2 in colour. Don’t worry if there’s colour overspilling on the background.
4 Load brush Click the Brush option at the top of the Radial Filter’s adjustment panel to load a brush. Reduce the brush’s Size and set Feather to 50. Keep Flow and Density set to 100. This will help retouch the colour overspill.
5 Brush technique Zoom into 1:1 ratio using the Navigator panel, and carefully brush around the edge of the object to remove any colour that’s overspilled onto the background. Reduce the brush Size for greater accuracy.
6 Time to blur Now that we’ve created the selective colour effect, click on New inside the Radial Filter’s panel. This will allow us to add as many filters as we like and ultimately stack them up for a depth of field effect.
7 Add depth with blur Drag a Radial Filter over the object, covering it completely with room to spare. Inside the adjustment panel, reduce Sharpness to -100. You should now see a slight blurring of the background.
8 Stack filters Click on New again and add more filters, changing Sharpness to -100 as you go. Stacking them up will increase the amount of blurring. You can add as many as you like, with different sizes for blending.