Creating a graduated filter effect is simple. Select the Draw Linear Gradient Mask cursor from the Layers tool, Cursor Toolbar, or use the keyboard shortcut L. Then click and drag in the Viewer to draw the gradient mask. The place you click first will apply a 100% mask coverage and the gradient will then fade to 0% coverage at the point you stop dragging and release the mouse. You can apply the desired image adjustment before or after drawing the mask.
Since the Draw Linear Gradient Mask function is applied in a non-destructive fashion, you can always readjust the linear gradient position, rotation, and length after the fact by clicking and dragging the end lines.
- Go to the Layers tool.
- Select Draw Linear Gradient Mask (L) from the footer of the Layers tool or use the keyboard shortcut L.
- To view the mask as an overlay while drawing the gradient mask, go to the menu and select Layer -> Mask Visibility -> Always Display Mask or use the keyboard shortcut M which will toggle the mask overlay on/off.
- Click and drag the cursor over the desired image area in the Viewer. A new mask and layer are automatically created. The transition in opacity will go from 100% where you first clicked on the image and gradually fade to zero where you release the cursor.
- Make the desired image adjustments, for example, select a -1.0 EV exposure adjustment. Use the keyboard shortcut M to toggle the mask overlay off, if it is on.
- The gradient mask can also be copied and applied to other images from the Layers tool.
Note that only one gradient mask can be applied to a layer at a time, so please create a new layer if you need more than one. Although you can not alter the opacity of the mask itself, you can fade the effect by using the master Opacity slider.
Set the mask visibility to Layer -> Mask Visibility -> Only Display Mask When Drawing and make your image adjustment (like a negative Exposure when darkening overexposed skies) before applying the gradient. Then start to draw the gradient mask. This way you can see where the mask is being applied while you drag in the Viewer. Then you will observe the effect of the image adjustment immediately when you release the mouse as the mask overlay will disappear automatically.