Monday, June 20, 2011

Photoshop TIP: “Clarity” slider for quick watercolor effects

Autumn Road Drive A simple technique for producing “watercolor” effects or more “dreamy” looks in your images comes from moving the Clarity filter slider to the left (in the minus values) within Photoshop’s Camera Raw. (Click for more info. Photo taken in Zion National Park, near Zion Lodge.)

Clarity slider adjustment in Photoshop's Camera Raw converter Moving the Clarity fliter slider into the negative values has an effect similar to putting a transparent diffusion filter over your lens--causing the highlights to flare and diffuse into the darker details of the image. Even with this dreamy effect, the image still retains a high degree of detail.

Autumn Road comparison - bottom image with "Clarity" adjustment Here is a before and After comparison of using the ‘’Clarity” filter slider.

Of course, to use the Camera Raw function in Photoshop, you must start with RAW digital images, then open them in Photoshop--enabling the Camera Raw plug-in. Shooting in RAW has many advantages. It’s like have a master negative that has hidden tonal values and color that can be restored and changed whenever needed.

Update: M. Denis Hill, Qualified Panoramic Photographer, commented: “it is indeed possible to process images other than raw in ACR. From Bridge, right click and choose ‘open in camera raw.’ It is even possible to make ACR the default program associated with TIFF files. (BTW, I was hoping that word would not get out about using negative clarity settings; I thought it was my secret.)”

Tropical paradise sunset - tutorial comparison I’ve mentioned other benefits of shooting in RAW, such as my ‘’Changing Moods‘’ blog post.

Posted by Royce Bair on 06/20 at 06:08 AM

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