The Presence Sliders Explained in Simple Terms

Table of Contents

0:00Overview
1:54Contrast vs. Clarity
5:09Clarity vs. Contrast
6:53Clarity: Enhancing Depth with Local Contrast
8:56Using Clarity and Contrast Together
12:07When to Use Texture
13:34How Texture Interacts with Your Tones
14:47Texture vs. Clarity
19:30Using Texture and Clarity Together
21:49When to Use Clarity Over Texture
23:07How Dehaze Affects Your Tones
25:04How to Counteract the Size Effects of Dehaze
25:26How Saturation and Vibrance Affect Your Colors
26:35Saturation vs. Vibrance
27:47Saturation and Vibrance Need Existing Color to Work
31:13Reducing Saturation and Vibrance to Improve Balance
33:38Using Saturation to Evaluate Colors and Enhance Harmony
35:46Counteracting Side Effects by Adjusting Other Presence Sliders
37:53Using Presence Sliders Together to Pull More Detail Out of a Raw File
39:52Enhancing Finer Details
41:20Summary: Presence Sliders
42:50Preview of Your Next Lesson

Welcome back to the Tone and Detail Masterclass!

For your second lesson, we’re going to switch gears and focus on the presence sliders, which control the quality (or texture) of your detail. These sliders include:

  • Contrast
  • Clarity
  • Texture
  • Dehaze
  • Saturation
  • Vibrance

Once you’ve created the general environment of your image with the tonal sliders, the next step is to enhance those tonal relationships with your presence sliders. Here is where you get to fine-tune the strength of your detail by controlling how much attention specific focal points demand through local contrast.

For example, enhancing the contrast and texture of your foreground can direct the eyes away from other elements in your frame….or inversely, subduing the contrast and texture will let the eyes explorer other elements in your frame.

Said another way…

The presence sliders take the data you built up with your tonal sliders and moves the luminosity of those pixels around to enhance the texture, contrast, and detail…..which gives you a more interesting image without damaging your photo.

Here’s what we’ll discuss in the following lesson:

  • The exact changes the presence sliders make to your image, and how they can influence one another.
  • Different examples of when it’s appropriate to use one slider over the others.
  • The importance of enhancing detail locally…and the potential issues with making global presence adjustments.
  • How to counterbalance qualities in your image to further enhance your contrast and saturation.

Assignment: Enhance the Flow and Balance with the Presence Sliders

While it may seem that the presence sliders are designed to simply enhance the quality of your tones, they can make quite an impactful difference in the flow and balance of your composition. As mentioned in the video lesson, the luminosity, contrast, and saturation of your focal points determine how much attention they demand from the viewer…which influences the entire composition.

Take the image(s) from the last lesson on tonal adjustments, and enhance the composition by using your presence sliders.

Consider the following questions while adjusting your detail:

  • Which focal points do you want to demand the most attention? How can you use your local adjustment tools with your presence sliders to enhance their dominance in the frame?
  • Which focal points do you find distracting and want to subdue? How can you use your local adjustment tools with your presence sliders to reduce their dominance in the frame?
  • Remember that counterbalancing your focal points is just as powerful as adjusting the focal point themselves. Can you reduce the attention of your supporting detail to enhance the visual draw of your focal point(s)?
  • Contrast will adjust your entire tonal range, clarity will adjust the midtones, and texture will adjust the high-frequency detail of your midtones. Consider this intensity scale when making your adjustments.
  • The dehaze slider can do much more than simply remove haze. Consider the different effects this slider can make on your tones and how it can be used to enhance/subdue your focal points.
  • Each adjustment will have a side-effect. Be aware of this, and take the appropriate steps to reverse it if necessary.

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The Presence Sliders Explained in Simple Terms

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3 thoughts on “The Presence Sliders Explained in Simple Terms”

  1. I’ve always used the sliders to please my eye, but didn’t know what they were actually doing. I rarely decreased a slider so now I know what I can do with a decrease and why.

  2. Awesome in depth explanations! That helps a lot deciding exactly what to do, instead of pushing these sliders around. Thx

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