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

Adobe Employee ,
Jun 17, 2020 Jun 17, 2020

Copy link to clipboard


Adjust Linear and Radial filters in your portrait

What is a gradient?
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 offers the Linear gradient and the Radial gradient 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



❶ Adjust the photo using a Linear gradient

The Linear gradient 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.

  • You can find the Linear Gradient on the right-hand panel in Lightroom. Tap “L” on the keyboard to access the 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.



❷ Radial Filter


The Radial Filter available in Lightroom 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.

  • The Radial Gradient is on the right panel in Lightroom. You can tap “R” on the keyboard to access the 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 adjustment 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 >







Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
no replies

Have something to add?

Join the conversation