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How to adjust Linear & Radial filters in 3 easy steps in Lightroom Classic!

Adobe Employee ,
Jun 12, 2020 Jun 12, 2020

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Adjust Linear and Radial filters in your portrait

What is a filter?

Once you have completed global adjustments, you may want to make some local exposure, clarity, or tonal adjustments that are limited to a certain area of your photo. Lightroom Classic offers the Graduated Filter and the Radial Filter to help you create a mask that blends gradually into the other parts of your image.

  • Here's how the unedited portrait looks:

    After Dehaze, saturation and Vibrance.jpg


Graduated Filter

The Graduated Filter is used to create linear gradient masks in Lightroom Classic. The masks begin at a straight line and fade away. They can be used to make local changes to parts of an image, such as a sky. Because of its linear approach, you can make a gradual change of tone and color in an image.

  • Click on the rectangular-shaped graduated filter icon found under the histogram panel.


Note: You can also use the keyboard shortcut Shift+M to open the Graduated Filter, a panel opens up with all the editing choices available for this tool

  • To adjust the foreground of the image, click anywhere on the foreground and drag up. This creates a linear gradient that will apply the strongest adjustments starting at the bottom of the image, gradually fading out to no adjustments above the top line of the gradient.


Note:  If you want the linear gradient to be horizontal, hold the Shift key as you drag.

  • To fine-tune the size of the gradient, drag either or both of the two white outer gradient lines.
  • To move the gradient, drag the pin.
  • To rotate the gradient, drag the center line.
  • To make changes to a gradient, select the pin for the gradient you want to edit and adjust sliders in the right panel.


: You can draw a linear gradient in any direction–horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, depending on which part of the image you want to affect.



 Radial Filter


The Radial Filter available in Lightroom Classic creates a mask so you can apply local adjustments inside or outside an oval shape. It can be used to highlight specific parts of an image.

  • Click on the Radial filter icon found under the histogram panel. It looks like a circle with a dot in the center.



Note: You can also use the keyboard shortcut Shift+M to open the Radial Filter, a panel opens up with all the editing choices available for this tool.


  • To create more than one radial gradient in the photo, drag over the photo again and set the adjustment sliders for this radial gradient.



Note: You can also duplicate a radial gradient to apply the same adjustments elsewhere in a photo. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (MacOS) a radial gradient pin and choose Duplicate. Then drag the duplicate pin to a new location.

  • To make changes to the adjustments on a radial gradient, select the pin for that radial gradient and adjust sliders in the Radial Gradient panel.


    Here's how the final portrait looks:



Download the sample portrait from HERE and apply all the retouching techniques to see the results.

Related Links:
Edit a landscape photo with linear gradient adjustments
Highlight parts of a photo with radial gradients

                                             < Dehaze, Saturation, Vibrance - Dodge and Burn >






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