The cool thing about subscribing to software rather than purchasing it outright is that the new releases come out quickly – you don’t have to wait a year or 18 months before the next round of features is available. Just back in February, we saw the new Enhance Details function. While I didn’t love Enhance Details, I have already used the new Lightroom Texture function several times and I’m super excited about it!

(I know that some of you are still salty about having to subscribe to Lightroom. And I understand. But with my career, I don’t have a choice about whether to subscribe or not so I’m making the best of it. And it’s worth it!)

This update is available now for subscribers to Adobe’s Photography Plan or any of the CC plans that include Lightroom.

The latest update from Lightroom gives us a brand new slider, Texture. In addition to being a global edit, we can access Texture on the local adjustment tool as well as the radial and graduated filters. This update also brings built-in tutorials for Lightroom CC. More on that below.

Before we get into the details, first, how about a reminder of how all the various Lightroom versions fit together?

For computers (desktops and laptops), Lightroom comes in two flavors:

  • Lightroom CC – this is the cloud-based app that doesn’t have quite all the features that Classic has.
  • Lightroom CC Classic – this is the old favorite and the version that I use. It has all the features.

For mobile devices, you’ll find a mobile version of Lightroom CC that works on iOS and Android.

Lightroom Texture – What It Does

This new feature, Lightroom Texture, is available across the entire Lightroom ecosystem: Lightroom CC, Classic, and Lightroom CC for mobile devices.

The Texture slider enhances details in your photo or softens them. But wait, you say, don’t we already have Sharpening and Clarity? Yes, we do, but Texture works better than either, especially on portraits. Its intensity is somewhere between the Sharpening and Clarity.

(Image provided by Adobe.)

Lightroom texture

Texture was originally developed to provide natural skin softening in Lightroom. Negative Clarity was our previous option, but it often looked fake and plasticky. The Lightroom engineers at Adobe decided that, since Texture was so good at softening details, it might enhance them nicely also. So they designed Texture to work in negative amounts to soften detail and in positive amounts to add detail. You can see positive Texture in the image above.

If you’ve taken my Lightroom class, you know I don’t love the Clarity slider. It can look fake if you push it too far, and it enhances details on skin that we might rather not enhance. So I’m super excited to have a tool as effective and more natural-looking.

Lightroom Texture – How It Works

Lightroom texture focuses only on the medium-sized details in an image. And when I say medium-sized, what I really mean is that it works on the medium frequency areas of an image. Sharpening works on the fine details – the high-frequency areas. Because texture focuses on the medium frequencies, it can soften skin without obliterating pores and other details – retaining these fine details helps it look natural.

And when you use positive Texture amounts to enhance detail, you can create a visible sharpening effect without making your image look too processed. Clarity is more likely to shift the colors and brightness values of pixels in your images – Texture should keep them cleaner.

This video shows the brightness shift well.

Lightroom texture

Lightroom Texture – How to Use It

Using Texture globally (all over your photo) is as simple as moving the slider to the left to soften details or to the right to enhance them.

See the Texture slider in the Presence section on the right?

(Image provided by Adobe.)

Lightroom texture

As I mentioned above, you can also apply the Texture adjustment in positive or negative amounts using either of the three local adjustment tools. Get tips about using the local tools by clicking these links:

  • Local Adjustment Brush – paint on adjustments wherever you’d like
  • Graduated Filter – apply the adjustment in a straight line that gradually diminishes from one part of the photo to another
  • Radial Filter – apply the adjustment in an oval that gradually fades out

Lightroom Texture Hacks

Once you know the basics of using the Lightroom Texture tools, you need to know these tips to make sure you’re getting the most control over the edits you apply to your edit.

Use Both Positive and Negative Texture in the Same Photo

You can apply Texture globally using the slider and then apply it selectively using the local tools. The selective adjustment can increase or decrease the effect of your global adjustment. Or use only the local tools to apply texture in varying amounts on various locations in your photo. Use positive Texture adjustments on some areas to enhance details and negative Texture adjustments on other areas to soften it.

In the next image, the photo editor applied negative texture to the water and positive texture everywhere else.

(Image provided by Adobe.)

Lightroom texture

Erase Lightroom Texture with a Local Adjustment Brush

If you add Texture globally, you can remove it from areas using a local tool of the opposite sign – in other words, if you added positive texture globally, use a local tool with negative Texture to remove it from specific locations. For instance, if you add negative Texture globally to soften an image, but you want to take the softening off of your subject’s eyes, use a negative texture brush of up to 50 to remove the softening from the eyes.

Stack Brushes

Want even more of a good thing? You can stack local adjustments by adding one on top of another. If you use the Local Adjustment Brush to add Texture, even if you push it all the way to -100, you can then add a brand new brush to double the strength of your edit. It works for positive amounts too.

Combine Texture with Sharpening or Clarity

The Lightroom Texture tool works well with Sharpness and Clarity both. Just because you use one doesn’t mean you can’t use the other. Consider using Texture on the people in your image, Clarity on the background, and Sharpening everywhere.

Lightroom CC Tutorials

Curious about those tutorials I mentioned? Lightroom CC that runs on your mobile devices has a new home screen that shows your most recent images and a list of interactive tutorials.

Lightroom texture

A tutorial will look like this:

Lightroom texture

This is a great way to discover new techniques and creative treatments if you aren’t familiar with Lightroom CC. You don’t even need to open a new app to learn!

Haven’t subscribed to Adobe’s Photography Plan yet? At $9.99 for Texture and all the other great tools that Lightroom has to offer, plus Photoshop too, it’s a great deal!

Update Lightroom now to soften skin beautifully! The newest Lightroom release has a brand new tool that makes softening skin - and enhancing detail - quick and gorgeous.