Radial Gradients in Photoshop, Lightroom (ACR), and ON1 Photo RAW


Last week I did a tutorial about the radial gradient in Photoshop. It had a tremendous response which kind of shocked me.  I whipped it together the morning of the free tutorial Friday and didn’t expect much.  However, it generated over 12,000 views in a week on YouTube and several excellent questions via email.  Here is a small sample of the questions:

“Blake, there is a Radial Filter in ACR or Lightroom, why not just use that instead of Photoshop?”

“Hey Blake, ON1 Photo RAW has a radial gradient in the local adjustment, how does that differ from Photoshop?”

These great questions prompted me to explore the radial gradients found in Photoshop, Adobe Camera Raw (and Lightroom), and ON1 Photo RAW.  Just like anything else, I made a spreadsheet (I have a secret passionate love for Spreadsheets, don’t tell my wife…) In the chart, I documented my notes about what each gradient could do and whether or not the features from program to program were compatible.  While you might think Photoshop is the best place to make a radial gradient, you may be wrong depending on what it is you want to do with the photo.

From what I gather, Photoshop is an excellent place to make a radial gradient, but ACR and ON1 provide a different approach.  Photoshop is more for the creative styling or color grading of your image where ON1 and ACR (or Lightroom) excel at technical corrections like tones and contrast.  You could use ACR or ON1 as a filter in Photoshop and have access to all kinds of options, but this was more of a study about what you can do in each without thinking outside the box like that.

I was pleasantly surprised by how well ON1 Photo RAW compared with Photoshop and Lightroom.  The thing that makes ON1 so unique is the ability to use Blend Modes, Apply To, and Protections on the radial gradient.  I don’t  know if you have realized it yet from following me, but those last three options are a deal breaker for me now.  If the software I am using does not allow me to access those things, I don’t even want to incorporate it into my workflow.  Kudos to ON1 for doing such a fantastic job in that department!

In today’s tutorial, I am going to break down the Radial Gradient in all three pieces of software and explain that spreadsheet above.  Enjoy!


Blake Rudis
f.64 Academy and f.64 Elite are the brainchildren of Blake Rudis. While he is a landscape photographer, he is most passionate about post-processing images in Photoshop and mentoring others.

For Blake, it's all about the art and process synergy. He dives deep into complex topics and makes them easy to understand through his outside-the-box thinking so that you can use these tricks in your workflow today!
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