01_Dehaze_Maximum

Maximum Dehaze

02_Clarity_Maximum

Maximum Clarity

03_Texture_Maximum

Maximum Texture

04_Sharpening_Maximum

Maximum Sharpening

05_Texture_Negative

Negative Texture

06_Clarity_Negative

Negative Clarity

Think of Adobe Lightroom Classic and Camera Raw’s new Texture slider as producing an effect that lies somewhere between the Clarity and Sharpness sliders.

It’s closer to Sharpness so when you apply it, rather than looking at the full image, zoom in to 100% to evaluate the detail accentuation it produces. So, use it more for detail enhancement than contrast.


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20170206_ANT_yalourislands _458
Lightroom and Photoshop offer an impressive array of tools for adjusting an image’s contrast. At some point luminosity contrast adjustment tips over to affecting image detail (contour and texture) more than overall lightness. Deciding exactly how you want to affect lightness, contour, and texture is the key to deciding which tool to use and how to use it.

The following progression moves from the smoothest to edgiest tools – Curves, Clarity, Dehaze, High Pass, and Sharpening. The differences between these tools can be found in the way they handle frequencies of detail; low or smooth, medium or broad lines and moderate texture, and high fine lines and grain.

01_Curves

Curves

Curves creates the smoothest effects. It simply affects light and dark values. With it, you can fine tune the relationships between different values with unparalleled precision. Curves ignores texture and contours. If either is affected it’s simply because those areas are lighter or darker, not because they have been targeted. Along with contrast, Curves also boosts saturation somewhat. (If Curves is applied in Photoshop, this saturation shift can be removed by using a blend mode of Luminosity.)
02_Clarity

Clarity

Clarity offers the second smoothest effects. It pays significant attention to contours. The contrast it adds to contours is smoothed or broadly feathered. Think of it as a local vignetting, not for the frame, but for areas within contours. To make the effect more realistic, it darkens the dark side of contours more than it lightens the light side of contours edges, greatly reducing visible bright halos. Clarity makes images look clearer for two reasons; one, because the overall contrast appears to remove haze; and two, because the edge contrast makes images appear better focused or sharper. Clarity, particularly strong applications of it, will accentuate texture affecting medium frequency detail even more than high-frequency detail. Strong applications of Clarity will boost saturation significantly, which can be removed with the Saturation slider. Clarity does not exist in the Photoshop Image > Adjustments menu but can be applied in Photoshop with the Camera Raw filter.

03_Dehaze

Dehaze

Dehaze offers the third smoothest effects. It creates effects that are similar to Clarity, only stronger. Dehaze darkens shadows and rather than brightening the highlights it simply pulls out more separation by darkening the lower values in these areas. Strong applications of Dehaze may even reveal detail you can’t see with the naked eye. Dehaze affects larger areas of contrast, sometimes losing the ability to distinguish between smaller areas. While Clarity boosts saturation somewhat, Dehaze boosts it more and often creates color non-uniform shifts. (There is a cure for this, which I cover in a separate article.) Dehaze does not exist in the Photoshop Image > Adjustments menu but can be applied in Photoshop with the Camera Raw filter.

04_HighPass_High

High Pass High

05_HighPass_Low

High Pass Low

High Pass filtration drives contrast into edges. It produces significantly different effects at low and high settings. At low settings it affects contours most, only slightly affecting texture and having little or no effect on overall contrast. At high settings it produces localized vignetting similar to Clarity but with less feathering, making it an excellent tool for emphasizing planar contrast. Be careful, it does not have the halo suppression built into Clarity. Only high settings create saturation shifts, which are localized not uniform. Remove this by desaturating the layer you apply the filter to. The High Pass filter is only available in Photoshop and is usually applied on a duplicate layer set to a blend mode of Overlay.

Texture_4235

Texture

The Texture slider produces effects that lie between the Clarity and Sharpness sliders.

When compared to Clarity, the Texture slider does not increase saturation and it produces an effect significantly more targeted to edges. With little or no localized vignetting, it has less effect on overall contrast (Think of it as a micro-contrast.) and will not produce planar or volumetric accentuation. While it does produce more of an overall contrast effect than Sharpness, Texture is much more suited to detail enhancement. Think of it as a broader softer Sharpness rather than a finer edgier Clarity.

When compared to the Sharpness slider, the edge it produces is not as pronounced (It’s more feathered.) nor does it increase artifacts or noise as much. Texture increases or decreases apparent sharpness in mid-frequency detail. Its effects on smooth (low frequency) and fine (high frequency) detail are minimal. Think of it as producing an entirely different mask that removes effects from low and high-frequency detail rather than the one produced by Sharpening’s Masking slider that removes effects first from smooth areas and then gradually converges on edges at higher settings.

06_Detail

Sharpening

The Detail Panel’s Sharpening sliders aggressively target edges. It offers four sliders – Amount, Radius, Detail, and Masking. Amount determines the increase in contrast. Radius accentuates contours in thinner (lower setting) or thicker (high setting) areas. Detail targets the effects of the previous two sliders into lower (less texture) or higher (more texture) frequencies of detail. Masking creates a mask that removes the effects of the other sliders from smooth areas at low settings and from all areas but contours at its highest settings. These sliders produce no overall contrast effects and little to no saturation shifts. (These detail sliders don’t exist in the Photoshop Image > Adjustments menu. Photoshop’s filter Unsharp Mask offers identical Amount and Radius sliders but it lacks the Detail and Masking sliders. Instead, it offers a Threshold slider that allows you to remove the effect from adjacent areas that have less contrast than the Threshold you set.) These tools are the ultimate tools for accentuating texture and contour.

Experiment. Develop your eye for all of the possibilities these tools open up for you. You’ll be amazed by what they can do. And when you master them, your viewers will be amazed at how good your images look.

Read more on Color Adjustment here.

Learn more in my digital printing and digital photography workshops.

View test files with maximum applications of these tools below.


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Quotes_Clarity

Here’s a selection of my favorite quotes on clarity.

“More important than the quest for certainty is the quest for clarity” - Francois Gautier

“You must first clearly see a thing in your mind before you can do it.” - Alex Morrison

“Having knowledge but lacking the power to express it clearly is no better than never having any ideas at all.” - Pericles

“A lack of clarity could put the brakes on any journey to success.” ― Steve Maraboli

“Clarity affords focus.” - Thomas Leonard

“It is still not enough for language to have clarity and content... it must also have a goal and an imperative. Otherwise from language we descend to chatter, from chatter to babble and from babble to confusion.” - Rene Daumal

“Clarity of mind means clarity of passion, too; this is why a great and clear mind loves ardently and sees distinctly what he loves.” - Blaise Pascal

“Clear thinking requires courage rather than intelligence.” - Thomas Szasz

“Simplicity, clarity, singleness: These are the attributes that give our lives power and vividness and joy as they are also the marks of great art. They seem to be the purpose of God for his whole creation.” - Richard Holloway

“For me the greatest beauty always lies in the greatest clarity” - Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

“Music is powered by ideas. If you don't have clarity of ideas, you're just communicating sheer sound.” - Yo-Yo Ma

“I experience a period of frightening clarity in those moments when nature is so beautiful. I am no longer sure of myself, and the paintings appear as in a dream” - Vincent van Gogh

“Traveling through the world produces a marvelous clarity in the judgment of men. We are all of us confined and enclosed within ourselves, and see no farther than the end of our nose. This great world is a mirror where we must see ourselves in order to know ourselves. There are so many different tempers, so many different points of view, judgments, opinions, laws and customs to teach us to judge wisely on our own, and to teach our judgment to recognize its imperfection and natural weakness.” - Michel de Montaigne

“Clarity is the most important thing. I can compare clarity to pruning in gardening. You know, you need to be clear. If you are not clear, nothing is going to happen. You have to be clear. Then you have to be confident about your vision. And after that, you just have to put a lot of work in.” - Diane von Furstenberg

“Everyone sees the unseen in proportion to the clarity of his heart, and that depends upon how much he has polished it. Whoever has polished it more sees more - more unseen forms become manifest to him.” - Jalal ad-Din Rumi

“Whoever knows he is deep, strives for clarity; whoever would like to appear deep to the crowd, strives for obscurity. For the crowd considers anything deep if only it cannot see to the bottom: the crowd is so timid and afraid of going into the water.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

“Mystification is simple; clarity is the hardest thing of all.” ― Julian Barnes

“The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.” - Nikola Tesla

“Although our intellect always longs for clarity and certainty, our nature often finds uncertainty fascinating.” - Karl von Clausewitz

“Clarity is the counterbalance of profound thoughts.” - Marquis de Vauvenargues

“Clear thinking at the wrong moment can stifle creativity.” ― Karl Lagerfeld

“Perfect clarity would profit the intellect but damage the will” - Blaise Pascal

“The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.” - Conan O'Brien

“I look at the human life like an experiment. Every new moment, every new experience, tragic or otherwise, is an opportunity to gain a more accurate perspective and helps lead me to clarity.” - Steve Gleason

“Will our life not be a tunnel between two vague clarities? Or will it not be a clarity between two dark triangles?” - Pablo Neruda

Read more Creativity Quotes here..

View The Essential List Of Creativity Videos here.


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