Adobe Lightroom – Presence (Texture, Clarity & Saturation)

This article is a detailed look at the Presence controls in the Basic panel of the Develop module of Lightroom Classic. The article builds on the guide to Lightroom Histograms and Tone Adjustments. To this end, we will use the same image from that guide building on the post-processing workflow used in around 95% or images in Lightroom.

In the previous tutorial, we balanced the White, Black, Highlights & Shadows to leave ourselves with the image below. There is still a lot we can do with this image though, in particular with the sky tones to further enhance the tone and saturation.

Lightroom Saturation
Presence Controls

The controls we are going to use are at the bottom of the Basic panel in the Develop module of Adobe Lightroom. They are called Presence and cover Texture, Clarity, Dehaze, Vibrance & Saturation.

Lightroom Develop Module – Presence

To demonstrate what each slider does, it’s worth doing a before and after application for the extremes of each one. After which, we will look at the actual settings for our example image.

Texture

The Texture slider accentuates details. It’s great for skin, bark, hair, as well as stone and architectural objects. The slider starts in a central position. Moving to the left applies a smoothing effect and to the right a texture effect.

The slider works intelligently by concentrating on the areas in an image that already has detail. In this way, the effect is less noticeable on the sky than it is on say a building. From the example below, you can see that the effect does not change the colours or tonality of the image, only the details.

+100 Texture
+100 Texture
+100 Texture
-100 Texture
-100 Texture

Clarity

The Clarity slider increases or reduces sharpness. The Clarity slider targets the mid-tone contrast in an image. Moving the slider to the right increases the mid-tone contrast, and the inverse moving to the left. As you can see, reducing clarity makes the image look almost waxy or plastic at the extreme.

+100 Clarity
+100 Clarity
+100 Clarity
-100 Clarity
-100 Clarity

Dehaze

The Dehaze slider increases the contrast and saturation to give the effect of removing haze. Moving the slider to the left has the opposite effect. You can see from the before/after image below that Dehaze has the most powerful effect of all the sliders in the Presence panel. It is definitely one that you use sparingly in pretty much all scenarios of post-processing.

+100 Dehaze
+100 Dehaze
+100 Dehaze
-100 Dehaze
-100 Dehaze

Vibrance

The Vibrance slider is a global saturation slider, but it saturates or desaturates an image intelligently by concentrating on the un-saturated pixels in an image. It’s a great tool to use, particularly when you want to add saturation but avoid over-saturating areas.

You can see this below. Moving the slider all the way to the left has nearly desaturated the complete image, with the exception of the sun-spot. You can see through that at the extremes you end up with an almost radioactive looking glow. For this reason, Vibrance is a slider that should be used sparingly.

+100 Vibrance
+100 Vibrance
+100 Vibrance
-100 Vibrance
-100 Vibrance

Saturation

The Saturation slider is similar to Vibrance, except saturation just acts globally on all pixels in an image. One example where you might use it is to completely desaturate an image in a black and white workflow, and prior to adding contrast.

+100 Saturation
+100 Saturation
+100 Saturation
-100 Saturation
-100 Saturation

Lightroom Presence – Worked Example

In practice, all of the controls in the presence section should be used sparingly to avoid your photos looking over-processed. One excellent way of using them is with selective masks so that you can target specific areas of a photo, for a more polished look. We will cover this later in the Lightroom Ultimate Guide.

Lightroom Presence

With that said, our example image has a lot of mountains in the fore and middle-ground and can be enhanced with Texture. A technique you can use when applying texture globally is to counteract the effects on the other areas of the image by reducing Clarity.

For our example image, I did exactly this, with a slight increase in Texture to +13 and a reduction in Clarity to -11. This has increased the graininess in the mountains but counteracted the effect in the sky portions of the image.

To increase the mid-tone contrast I then added a little Dehaze to +13. Following on from this, I increased the Vibrance to +36, to boost the saturation in the blue and yellow portions of the sky, but to leave the already saturated oranges tones untouched.

After
After
After
Before
Before

There is still a little more we can do with this image to enhance the contrast. In the next article, we will cover all of the adjustments possible in the Lightroom Tone Curve.

Please check out more of our Lightroom Ultimate Guide. Here are some articles that may interest you:

Adobe Lightroom Classic
Post-Processing Workflow

This article covers a typical post-processing workflow, and forms the foundation for all other creative edits you may want to do

Lightroom Histogram
Lightroom Histogram & Tone Adjustments

Understanding the Lightroom Histogram forms the foundation of all post-processing you will ever do in Lightroom

Lightroom Library Module
Lightroom Library Module

The Lightroom Library Module provides numerous functions to manage and sort your images.


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