Lightroom Texture Adjustment for underwater photographers

On Wednesday, Adobe released Lightroom Classic version 8.3. Apart from renaming the application, they added a new control. The Texture control is a new slider within the Develop module’s Basic pane and local corrections tools. Texture is the first significant new tool to be incorporated into Lightroom since the addition of the Dehaze slider in 2015.

Texture adjustments seem to be similar to a cross between positive sharpening and clarity. Sharpening works on the “high-frequency” areas of a photo (the edges and fine details), while Clarity is best for making stronger adjustments to a broader frequency range, including some lower frequencies.

Texture targets the “mid-frequency” areas and the tool boosts or reduces important details generally without amplifying noise or producing a flat, plastic appearance. This gives an appealing, subtly 3D appearance to image features with lots of detail (think fan corals…)

Bottom image is identically processed to the upper, but has 75 points of Texture added as a global adjustment

Crop of 100% view of soft coral in center of frame above.

Without Texture applied

Image above has 92 points of Texture applied

Used as a negative, the slider is designed to smooth out textures.

For underwater image makers, Texture provides a pleasing, subtle option for enhancing detail within images. Clarity sometimes boosts contrast too much, which can make blues become very dark and over exaggerates tonal boundaries. Texture seems to provide a more subtle option.

Local application applied

The adjustment seems to be ideally suited for correcting the inherent softness caused by shooting through water and the optics we use to do so.

Another use is to use the Texture negative adjustment to reduce backscatter.

Crop of 100% of image showing backscatter and messy background

By using local adjustments, most likely the Brush tool, and a strong Texture adjustment visible backscatter can be significantly reduced. This technique still needs more testing with a broader variety of images, but the initial results seem pleasing.

Crop of same image area as above with -100 points of texture applied as a local adjustment

When using local adjustments, Lightroom Range Mask tool could be used to select a specific color or tonal areas of an image.

Adobe Lightroom Classic (previously Lightroom Classic CC) is available as an update via the CC App for Creative Cloud subscribers.

(Images were taken while diving with the fantastic Emperor Divers Marsa Alam). Many thanks to them and Lisa Pulzer for acting as the model.