Targeted Adjustment Tools

by Michael Clark

One of the most useful new features in Adobe Lightroom Version 1.0 is the Targeted Adjustment tool. While they have a whacky name, they are very easy to use. The Targeted Adjustment tool lives in the Develop module in the Tone Curve, HSL and Grayscale panels. They appear as a little target icon in the upper left hand corner of the panels as the red arrows point out in the screenshot below.


To use the Targeting Adjustment tool you simply click on the target and the tool icon changes into a target with arrowheads above and below as in the image below. Also, your mouse changes so that it has the same icon and a cross hair above it when you mouse over your image. To use the tool you simply choose the tone, hue, color or luminance that you would like to change in your image and move your mouse up or down to change the value. You'll notice that simultaneously the sliders will move in the respective panels as you make adjustments with the Targeting tool. If you prefer you can also just click on a location and use the up or down arrow keys to make adjustments as well.


At first I thought these tools were a bit gimmicky, but I have since come to really love them because they allow me to concentrate on the image itself. With the Targeted Adjustment tools, I'm not looking at the sliders; I'm looking at my image and adjusting shadows, colors and saturation directly on my image. Once you start playing with them they will become second nature. I find myself using them a lot. And the great thing is that they allow me to adjust many different areas of an image all with the same tool.

The only other tool I know of like this is the U-Point technology in Nikon Capture NX. Whereas Capture NX allows you to limit the area that is adjusted, the Targeted Adjustment tools in Lightroom are global. It would be nice to have the ability to limit the area that the tool affects as in Capture NX, but for now it is global - maybe we'll see that feature added to Lightroom in Version 2.0.

I find that by using these tools and adjusting my images with them I can take my images to places they might have never gone. I was recently working up some images I shot for Backpacker Magazine and I wasn't getting the punch I really wanted so I clicked on a targeting tool and starting adjusting my image directly. The result was something I would not have come up with just by using the sliders. It seems I can fine-tune the image a little more with the Targeted Adjustment tools than I can just with the sliders. And on top of that it allows me to adjust my images faster as well. I would suggest playing with them a bit and see if they work for you.

That's it for this Monday.

Adios, Michael Clark


Erik J. Barzeski
2007-03-12 19:47:09
Masking would indeed be nice. Sometimes I find myself wanting to totally desaturate or color-shift one section of a photo, but am unable to because that color appears all throughout the photo.