Clarity appears to be the favorite new-feature in Lightroom 1.1.
by George Mann
We have of course already seen the Clarity adjustment in the recently released Adobe Camera Raw update (ACR 4.1), but it is still the talk of the web on a number of digital photography forums. Coming a close second are the the new four slider sharpening controls which now resemble the Unsharp Mask (USM) and Smartsharpen Filter controls in Photoshop CS3.
Clarity is described variously as a local contrast enhancement filter and a way to add more depth and (apparent) sharpness to details in an image. It also seems to reduce that hazy look that you often get when shooting a glass-paneled building and sharpens objects behind the glass. The Adobe Help files describe Clarity as being a tool that adds "extra punch".
The best way to see what it does is obviously to run a problem photograph through it and see what happens. I will use a (less than perfect) picture of the Bangkok Airport control tower, which I need to use in a travel website project.
Image 1 - the full image without any Clarity adjustment.
Image 2 - 1:1 image without Clarity adjustment.
Image 3 - 1:1 image with full 100 value Clarity adjustment.
Image 4 - 1:1 image with 100 value Clarity adjustment, plus noise reduction and some sharpening applied.
Image 5 - the full image with all adjustments applied.
From the Adobe Lightroom 1.1 ReadMe file.
Clarity: New Control available in the Basic panel. Clarity adds depth to an image by increasing local contrast. When using this setting, it is best to zoom in to 100% or greater. To maximize the effect, increase the setting until you see halos near the edge details of the image, and then reduce the setting slightly.
|Nice job on this post George! I'm much clearer on Clarity now, and your illustrations really help.|
|What forums do you check out?|
|Thanks for the demo, makes it easy to understand.|
Numerous forums and web site postings, way too many for me to list here. Which is why sometimes my memory can also be a little faulty.
|Clarity is really a much appreciated Upgrade Feature. Thanks|
Good illustration of a particular feature of LR1.1,Thanks a lot.
Also I remember ,long time back i read a good article on "local contrast"on Luminous Landscape website,Understanding Series, now I will have to re-read the article to get better understanding of the phrase "Local Contrast".
thanks again for the good illustration.
"actually...it's a "local area contrast enhancement" adjustment as in midtone contrast-not low contrast). By local area, it's descibing it as adaptive (meaning it chages based upon the image content) contrast adjustment. It also is not a "sharpening" control, it's a tone control."