Both outdoor and portrait photographers have an updated tool to implement in their digital workflow this month. The Texture Slider, the newest and more sophisticated Lightroom update, will now allow photographers to edit the closer details of their work without having to dive headfirst into Photoshop.
The Texture slider is a tool that can isolate and adjust medium-sized details. Adobe’s examples of these include skin, bark and hair. The intended effect of the slider is to sharpen or gloss over these components of images without increasing noise or unintentionally ruining the coveted look of bokeh. Skin can be smoothed without changing details like pore size, resulting in a more natural finish. Bark can be sharpened without digital noise becoming an unwanted feature in the image.
Adobe created this feature for those who want to get a high-quality, skin-smoothing result without having to open Photoshop for extensive retouching. According to the lead engineer, the tool is “fully non-destructive.” When used to enhance detail like bark, it differs in important ways from regular techniques used to sharpen an image. In a side-by-side comparison of the Sharpening and Texture slider adjustment on the same image, the difference in unwanted noise is quite obvious. Overall, the Texture slider is more subtle than the Clarity tool as well, resulting in fewer general changes in tonality when used to enhance details.
The Texture slider has also been engineered for use as either a global or local adjustment, meaning that Lightroom’s adjustment brush feature can be used in tandem with the Texture tool. This is especially helpful for portraiture enthusiasts who’d like to soften fine lines in the face but preserve clarity and sharpness in facial hair or strong texture elsewhere in an image. It’s an effective tool for photographers looking to compose portraits that remain true to the subject while also subtly gloss certain imperfections.
Adobe is confident that Lightroom CC users will find Texture a needed complement to the Sharpen and Clarity tools in both outdoor and portrait photography.