The Texture and Clarity controls inside of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic enhance the medium-size details in our photographs. When used with a Mask, these features are great edge-enhancement tools that can make the most important parts of our image look sharper and more eye-catching.
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Although the Texture and Clarity features can be used globally –meaning over your entire image– these tool are usually more effective when they are applied to select parts of your image only. On most photographs, you will get better results if you use Texture and Clarity for targeted selective sharpening using Lightroom Classic’s new Masking Panel.
Adding Texture enhances small details like the brickwork in a building, grain in a block of wood, and other natural surfaces. You can also use a negative Texture setting for portrait retouching to soften imperfections in your subject’s skin. Adjusting the Texture slider does not usually create unwanted halos or cause dramatic color shifts in your image but the addition of Texture might make noise and other artifacts more noticeable.
Clarity often has a much more noticeable effect than Texture. Clarity increases or decreases the midtone contrast in your image. Visually the addition of midtone contrast tends to emphasize larger details than those that are most affected by the Texture slider.
Clarity can create the appearance of much sharper edges in your image but it can also have some unwanted side effects. Clarity tends to wash out bright colors, it can push the shadows in your image towards pure black, and it can create noticeable halos.
I urge you to be gentle when using the Texture and Clarity features but please don’t overlook their ability to draw your viewer’s attention towards the things that matter the most in your photograph when you are fine tuning your images.