- Written by Mark Rainer
The Graduated Neutral Density filter in Color Efex Pro 4 is the most notable and popular filter of the graduated series. Neutral density filters used on-camera not only allows the photographer the ability to reduce or change the intensity of light in an image, they also enable you to adjust the aperture and exposure time. This particular filter within Color Efex Pro 4 simulates the use of a traditional glass neutral density filter, allowing you to balance a scene, typically where the sky is brighter than the foreground, (it can also be used to darken the sky). It also enables you to achieve these enhancements without affecting the color in the scene.
Looking closely at the controls below, you will get a better understanding of the Graduated Neutral Density filter made available in Color Efex Pro 4.
Graduated Neutral Density control options
The Upper Tonality slider controls brightness on the upper portion of your image. Moving the slider to the left darkens the affected area, while moving the slider to the right brightens the area. This defaults at -25%, slightly darkening the upper portion, and operates on a -100% to 100% scale.
The Lower Tonality slider controls brightness on the lower portion of your image. Moving the slider to the left darkens the affected area, while moving the slider to the right brightens the area. This defaults at 0% (i.e. no change) and operates on a -100% to 100% scale.
The Blend slider controls the transition of the filtered effect and the original image. Moving the slider to the left creates a sharp transition, while moving the slider to the right softens the transition. Blend defaults at 25%.
The Vertical Shift slider is used to place the horizon within the image and can work in conjunction with Blend. Moving the slider to the left will raise the horizon that has been added to the image, while moving it to the right will lower the horizon. It is set at 50% as the default setting.
The Rotation slider is set to 180°, placing the horizon level across the image with the graduated color at the upper half of your image, blending inward. Moving the slider simulates the effect of rotating a filter on your lens. In this instance, moving the slider left will rotate the horizon to the left and moving the slider to the right will rotate the horizon to the right.
Tip: Don’t hesitate to experiment with the different sliders. You can always reset them back to the default settings by either double-clicking on the slider tab or selecting the Filter Control Menu options.
Filter Control Menu