The Graduated Filter allows you to make photo adjustments to specific portions of your photos. For example, you can apply a radial gradient – to add stylistic vignettes – or linear gradients – affecting just the top and bottom of the image.


Use this control to gently mix the effects of the graduated filter with the image. This is useful to tone down an effect and make it more believable.


Choose from several useful presets to learn how to best use the Graduated Filter tool. In addition, you’ll find a collection of presets for both portrait and landscape photos to choose from.

Place Center

This control is useful to position the effect. Often vignettes look the best way placed centered on a face or subject. Additionally, you may want to adjust a linear gradient to accommodate the horizon line.


These controls let you change how the Graduated Filter is applied. As you make adjustments, you’ll see red and blue areas to indicate the selected areas and changes to shape or position.

  • Click the Radial Gradient or Linear Gradient icons to change the shape of the graduated filter.
  • Shape. This option is only for Radial Gradients. For example, you can create a stretched oval or circular shape.
  • Size. This control affects the overall size of a radial gradient. In the case of a linear gradient, it creates a gap between the two selected areas of top and bottom.
  • Feather. This control blends the transition between the two adjustments. A higher value created a smoother blending effect.
  • Rotation. This control allows you to angle the adjustment. This is most useful when trying to simulate lighting effects.

Inside/Outside or Top/Bottom

For each of these types of gradients, you can define two sets of corrections: inside and outside for radial gradients and top and bottom for linear gradients.  These two sets of adjustments are shown at the bottom of the Graduated Filter tool.  The arrow button between these two sets swaps the settings on these two sets.


Be sure to use the many controls to refine the tone and color for the selected areas. The adjustments you can make are similar to those in the Finishing Tools.

  • Color Temperature – Try moving the slider to the right to correct a photo taken with a higher color temperature of light. You can move the Temperature slider to the left to correct a photo that was taken with a lower color temperature of light.
  • Tint – This overrides the white balance to compensate for a green or magenta tint. Decrease Tint (by dragging to the left) to add green to the image; increase Tint (by dragging to the right) to add magenta.
  • Exposure – This slider affects the overall image brightness.  It is like opening and closing the aperture on a camera which controls the total amount of light.
  • Contrast – This slider affects the midtones mostly.  As you increase contrast, the middle to dark areas will be darker, and the middle to light areas will become brighter.  Effectively this increases the difference between light and dark areas when you drag to the right.  If you use a negative value, then image tones are inversely changed as you decrease contrast.
  • Highlights – This controls the brighter areas of an image.  Drag to the left to recover blown-out highlights or to the right to brighten highlights while minimizing clipping.
  • Shadows – This affects the darker areas of an image.  Drag to the left to darken the shadows while minimizing clipping. Conversely, you can drag to the right to brighten shadows and recover shadow details.
  • Whites – This slider control clipping of the white point.  Drag to the left to reduce clipping in highlights. Drag to the right to increase highlight clipping.
  • Blacks – This slider control clipping of the black point.  Drag to the left to increase clipping in shadows. Drag to the right to decrease shadow clipping. A lower value gives you a purer black.
  • Color Vibrance – This is useful to adjust saturation in specific areas.  It is useful to minimize clipping as color approaches full saturation. This means that it changes the saturation of all lower-saturated colors with less effect on the higher-saturated colors.  Practically it tends to affect areas of blue and green with greater effect. Color Vibrance is also useful in that it can prevent skin tones from becoming oversaturated.
  • Saturation – This slider adjusts the saturation of all image colors equally.  A value of negative 100 produces a monochrome image, while plus 100 doubles the saturation.
  • Sky Enhance and Foliage Enhance – These color toning controls are even more useful when combined with a graduated filter which can blend and mask their effect.


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