Chapter 9: Professional Filters

For complete control over your image, professional filters allow for precise adjustments.   These filters offer more control for fine adjustments in an image.

Advanced Contrast

Precisely adjusts tonal contrast with six distinct controls spanning highlights, midtones and shadows, making for more detailed results.  

  • Use the Highlights, Midtones, and Shadows sliders to refine the amount of contrast in each zone. Dragging to the right increases contrast.

  • Use the three Balance sliders to define the midpoint for each zone.  This allows you to refine which area is treated as a Shadow, Midtone, and Highlight.

Channel Mixer

Digital images are comprised of Red, Green, and Blue information.  These components are called channels and if they are not balanced properly an image can show color casts.  By modifying channels you can choose to emphasize or deemphasize certain details. The Channel Mixer filter allows fine-tuning adjustments and mixing of the Red, Green, and Blue color channels (RGB) to create highly customized images.  Many users will also use the effect in combination with their black & white conversions workflows.

  • Red/Green/Blue. Use the tabs to switch between each color channel.

  • Red. Influences the balance of Red details.

  • Green. Influences the balance of Green details.

  • Blue. Influences the balance of Blue details.

  • Constant. Adds a global amount of influence to the entire channel.

Сolor Balance

The Color Balance filter is useful to change the overall mixture of colors in an image for general color correction. It can also be used for creative control within different tonal regions of an image.

  • Color Balance Sliders. Adjust the balance of Cyan-Red, Magenta-Green, and Yellow-Blue to emphasize certain colors in each tonal region.

Color Contrast

This filter lets you choose a color range to which to apply contrast. The color selected will cause objects of that color to become lighter, while opposite colors on the color wheel will become darker. This effect can help make flat images pop based on the colors in the image.

  • Amount. This controls contrast that is created between differences based on colors (vs. luminance). The strongest is the more contrast between primary and secondary colors.

  • Hue. Chooses the target Hue for emphasis.

  • Brightness. The overall lightness or darkness of the image is controlled with this slider.

  • Contrast. This slider emphasizes the difference in brightness between areas and objects

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TIP

Double click on any slider name resets the value to the default. In most cases, double-clicking returns it to 0.

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Сurves

One of the most powerful tools for adjusting tones to brighten, darken, add contrast and shift colors. Curves can usually be applied to all channels together in an image, or to each channel individually. Curves can help you manually fine-tune the brightness and contrast of the image.

Most users will either use Curves a lot or they won’t use it at all. The Curves interface is a bit complex and allows for up to 10 control points. This can significantly open up more options when adjusting color and exposure. The primary advantage of Curves is that you have precise control over which points get mapped for tonal adjustment.

  • Tabs. You can make a curve adjustment to all channels equally or to an individual channel (such as to blue to emphasize the sky).

  • Sliders. At the bottom, there are sliders that let you adjust black and white points of the histogram (the leftmost and rightmost sliders), as well as the middle bend of the curve (the central slider).

  • Points. You can add up to 10 control points.  Drag up to add contrast to an area and down to lighten the area. Multiple points can be employed for contrast adjustments based on tonal range.

Dodge & Burn

Dodge & Burn tools are known as toning tools. They allow for finer control over lightening or darkening an image. These tools simulate traditional techniques used by photographers. In a darkroom, the photographer would regulate the amount of light on a particular area of a print.  

  1. To Dodge and Burn, apply the Dodge & Burn filter in the Filters list.

  2. Click the Start Painting button to open up your canvas.

  3. Choose either the Lighten or Darken tools in the top Toolbar to select the desired brush.

  4. Use the Size slider in the Toolbar to control how large the brush is.

  5. Use the Strength slider to control its impact.

  6. If you get an accidental stroke, the Erase tool can be used to remove it.

  7. Click Reset if you need to start over.

  8. Click Done to apply the adjustment.

  9. Use the Amount slider in the filter control group to further refine the global intensity of the filter and blend it back with the original image.

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Note

This is a tool that is meant to be used creatively and by feeling.  It is more about the looks and results than it is specific numbers and sliders. Feel free to experiment as you can always adjust the mask of the Dodge & Burn effect as well as its overall opacity.

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HSL

Selectively adjusts Hue (color), Saturation (color purity), and Luminance (intensity) of individual colors in the image for color correction to balance tones and explore creative possibilities. Allows you to create unique looks with selective coloring.

There are 3 tabs present in the Color Filter panel.

  • Hue. A set of sliders to adjust the hue or basic color shades of your image. Sliding the control further to the right results in a shift towards the next color in the list (for example from Orange to Yellow). Sliding the left shifts the hue towards the previous color in the list (for example from Orange to Red).

  • Saturation. A set of sliders to adjust color saturation. Sliding the control further to the right results in a more intense color. Of course, moving to the left removes color to the point where -100 will make the image appear black and white.

  • Luminance. A set of sliders to adjust the brightness of the colors. Sliding the control further to the right results in a brighter color within the image. The further to the left, the darker the image.

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Note

This is a powerful tool for fine-tuning of colors in the image as well as a means for creative image processing. Examples of using this tool:

  • The sky is mostly blue in photos. Therefore, lowering the brightness of blue colors in the image can cause more dark and deep blue of the sky.

  • Moving the yellow and orange color sliders to the right can significantly improve color saturation of autumn foliage on the photos.

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LUT Mapping

Use professional Lookup Tables (LUTs) to quickly change the appearance of your photo.  You can choose from a variety of film stocks, black and white looks, and color styles from the dropdown menu. You can also load your own LUTs (in the .cube format).

  • Amount. This lets you reduce the intensity of the Lookup Table.

  • Contrast. This impacts the overall contrast in the image and can be used to refine the LUT’s appearance.

  • Saturation. This impacts the overall saturation in the image and can also be used to refine the LUT’s appearance.

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Note

If you choose a custom LUT it will automatically be stored with your saved Luminar Flex file or embedded into any custom Luminar Look that you create.

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Microstructure

Improves the sharpening of your image in small areas of fine detail and texture. Advanced parameters allow you to fine-tune this subtle yet dramatic effect. Use this tool to get some creative, HDR-like effects.  

  • Amount. Use the Amount slider to control how much structure is added.

  • Smoothness.  Try the Smoothness slider to better blend the increased details and avoid hard edges.

Photo Filter

This filter simulates color filters that traditionally are attached to a camera lens.  Professional photographers often place glass filters in front of the camera lens to “cool” or “warm” a picture, or to add special effects. These can also be used to accentuate complementary colors and add creative toning to your photos.

  • Amount. Controls how much of the colored filter is added to the image.

  • Hue. Sets the color value for the photo filter.

  • Saturation. Controls the intensity of the color added to the image.

  • Save Luminosity. This option prevents the overall exposure of the image from changing.  It is useful for most cases and should be turned on to compare its effect.

Split Color Warmth

This filter can be used to selectively enhances cool and warm tones in your image. Allows you to get increased color contrast and vibrancy or create creative toning effects. You can separately adjust the Warm Colors and Cool Colors.  

Warm. Drag the slider to the left to neutralize warm tones such as yellows and reds and to the right to enhance them.

Cool. Drag the slider to the left to cool down Blues, Aqua and Cyan and to the right to neutralize and warm them up.  

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