Chapter 15: Utility

These filters are designed for making functional changes to an image.  They are often useful for adjusting the lighting in an image, or tone.

Adjustable Gradient 

The Adjustable Gradient filter allows you to selectively adjust exposure, contrast, vibrance and warmth for 2 different parts of the image. You can adjust the mask orientation for selective editing.


  • Set Orientation – Use intuitive on-screen controls to adjust the blending of the top and bottom area.
  • Exposure –  Adjusts the luminance of the image. Moving a slider to the left results in a darker image (reduction of exposure value). Moving this slider to the right results in a brighter image (an increase of exposure value). You can adjust the relative exposure for both the top and bottom of the image independently to refine an image.
  • Contrast – Separate contrast controls allow you to modify the amount of contrast at the top and bottom of the image.  Contrast is the difference in luminance or color that makes an object in an image distinguishable from another. Practically speaking, contrast is determined by the difference in the color and brightness of an object in relation to other objects within the same field of view.
  • Vibrance. This slider is a "Smart Saturation” control. In general, its effect is similar to Saturation with the difference that it increases less vibrant colors stronger and has a weaker effect on more vibrant colors. This allows you to get more realistic and less saturated colors the picture. This slider can be used in conjunction with the Saturation to enhance the secondary colors.
  • Warmth. This slider affects how warm or cool an image appears.  A positive value adds warmth while a negative value cools the image.

Bi-Color Toning

This filter simulates a traditional glass bi-color filter.  It uses two colors and a soft transition to tone the image. This is a good choice for enhancing seascapes and landscape photos. 


  • Amount. This controls the intensity of the filter.  Overall, how strong the colors are. 
  • Top Color. This is the color used at the top of the frame.  This will usually be a shade of blue or purple for the sky.
  • Bottom Color. Use this color to control the landscape.
  • Blend. The blend control affects how smooth or a transition there is between the top and bottom adjustment.  A higher value creates a soft transition while a lower value is more abrupt.
  • Shift. The shift option moves the transition point between adjustments.  By default, it is centered top-to-bottom, but this can be raised or lowered in the frame.
  • Rotation. If your image is angled (or your scene has strong geometric composition) you can rotate the angle of the blending.  You’ll find controls to rotate + or - 90˚

Brightness/Contrast

This is a basic filter which adjusts the overall lightness or darkness of an image (brightness) and the difference in brightness between areas and objects (contrast).  This filter is easy to understand and works well for new users. For best results consider using the Tone or Develop filters.


Color Temperature

This filter modifies the color temperature of the photo, making it cooler (more blue) or warmer (more orange). It helps you fix incorrect color temperature on your photos.


Exposure

A simple filter to adjust the overall Exposure of the image. This filter only offers one slider.  For more control consider using the Tone or Develop filters.

After adjusting the Exposure filter you may need to use a Saturation/Vibrance filter.  Increasing exposure will desaturate the image.  Decreasing exposure will boost the saturation.

This filter works well with filter masks for precise adjustments to exposure.


Highlights/Shadows

Provides adjustment for highlight and shadow by changing the brightness of each region independently. You’ll often need to combine this filter with a Saturation/Vibrance adjustment to restore washed-out color in recovered areas. 


  • Highlights. Adjusts the brightness of the brightest areas of the image. Moving the slider to the right cause very bright areas to become brighter, while moving the slider to the left, makes them darker.
  • Shadows. Adjusts the brightness level of the darkest areas of the image. Moving the slider to the right will cause such areas to become brighter and additional details will appear. When moving to the left, such areas become darker, and the number of shadow areas in the image generally increases.

Top & Bottom Lighting

This filter allows selective adjustment of lighting for the top and bottom parts of the image. Controls permit shifting the transition area, rotation angle and blending gradient. This effect is widely used in landscape or architecture photography with a distinct horizon. The effect flexibly and separately controls the brightness and other aspects of the top and bottom of the image.  This enables you, for example, to lower the brightness of the sky and raise the brightness of the foreground. Thus, your image can be significantly improved without resorting to creating layers and masking. 


  • Set Orientation. Click this button to adjust the area affected by the filter.    You can drag the on-screen controls to identify the Top and bottom areas.
  • Top. Controls the brightness of the top of the image. Moving the slider to the left will make it darker and to the right brighter.
  • Bottom. Controls the brightness of the bottom of the image. Moving the slider to the left will make it darker and to the right brighter.

Whites/Blacks

This filter is a simple way to adjust the white and black point of an image.  This gives you finer control over the contrast in a photo.  Drag a slider to the right to brighten a zone and to the left to darken. 


  • Whites. This affects the brightest areas of the image.
  • Blacks. This affects the darkest areas of the image.

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