Lightroom: More Adjustment Brush techniques

You just gotta love the Adjustment brush in Lightroom 2. It makes Lightroom a great tool for quick fixes and, honestly, I’ve used Photoshop a lot less since I started using Lightroom. I love the combination, Lightroom is fast and so smart and Photoshop is there for when I need specialist effects. So, on to today’s post…

In an earlier post I talked about using the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom 2 at a simple level – sort of Adjustment Brush 101. In this post I’ll show you some advanced features of the adjustment brush which help you make multiple adjustments to the image at one time and to do so more easily. Consider this Adjustment Brush 102.

Adjustment Step 1

Adjustment Step 1

 

In the Develop module, when you have the Adjustment Brush selected there is a switch that you can click to switch between Button and Slider mode. In button mode you can adjust one of the Exposure Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Clarity and Sharpness settings at a time. In Slider mode, you can adjust any one or more of these options.

Adjustment Step 2

Adjustment Step 2

In the Brush area of the panel you will see an AutoMask option. When this is enabled, you can paint around the inside edge of an area and the AutoMask feature will mask the area ensuring your brushstrokes don’t go over the edge. This works best on areas where the edge is distinct and recognizable. When you paint, make sure you have the main part of the paint brush inside the area you want to effect.

To toggle between AutoMask being on or off as you paint, hold the Control key as you paint (Command on the Mac).

Adjustment Step 3

Adjustment Step 3

In the Brush area you will see two brushes, A and B. You can switch between the two by clicking on the A or B indicator. Each brush has its own Size, Feather, Flow and Density settings, and AutoMask can be enabled for either or both of the brushes. Having two brushes lets you configure each differently and switch easily between the two.

Each brush can be switched into the third brush mode – Erase mode by holding the Alt key (Option on the Mac) as you paint with either brush.

Adjustment Step 4

Adjustment Step 4

Setting the brush size defines the area of the brush and it is the central circle which you see when you are painting. The Feather amount adds an additional softness to the brush which is shown by the second outer circle. A hard brush has a Feather of 0 and it shows as a single circle.

Flow specifies the flow for the brush which can be set to less than 100 so you can build up an effect gradually by painting over an area multiple times. The Density slider adjusts the opacity and controls the maximum opacity of the brush strokes. So, if you have Flow set to a low value and Density to 50, the maximum opacity that the brush can reach regardless of how many times you paint over an area is 50.

Adjustment Step 5

Adjustment Step 5

In the Effect area is a Color option which allows you to paint over an image with a color of your choice. To do this, select the color to use and then paint over the area to apply it to. You can use this to colorize a black and white image or, as I’ve done here, paint over a dark blue area with yellow to make it dark green.

Rating:

Categories:

Helen Bradley

I am an expatriate Australian lifestyle writer, videographer and photographer. I write tutorials and produce videos on Photoshop, Lightroom and Illustrator as well as photography, office computer applications and DIY crafts. I have written for most of the big names in consumer tech including PC World, PC […]

Topic Filter: Commercial / Landscape / Portrait / Stock / What's Hot

Interviews

Martin Lawrence

After many years as a keen amateur photographer, I decided to start a small landscape photography business called Lakescenes which I ran alongside my main job as an IT Manager. As business increased, I found myself working long, but rewarding, hours just to keep up […]

Read More

Rob Sheppard

Rob Sheppard is a naturalist, nature photographer and videographer who says his favorite location is the one he is in at any time. He is the author/photographer of over 40 books, as well as a well-known speaker and workshop leader, and a Fellow with the […]

Read More

Gary Hart

Gary Hart has photographed California’s natural beauty for over 30 years. Gary’s photos and writing have appeared in many publications, most recently Outdoor Photographer and Sierra Heritage magazines. You’ll also find his images in greeting cards, postcards, calendars, and many galleries and private collections throughout the world.

Read More

Jaroslav Wieczorkiewicz

Originally from Poland, based in London UK, Jaroslav has background in Fine Arts, degree in Architecture, and wide array of experience. Being an Architect taught him how to be resourceful and to solve complex problems with simple, yet innovative solutions. Constant passion for graphic & […]

Read More

What's Hot

Mountain Landscape Photography Tips

There are few experiences as exhilarating as trekking in a mountainous landscape. A few years ago I did a three week long trek in the Himalayas, walking a circuit of about 300 km. As you can imagine, it was a huge experience, both physically and […]

Read More

Start Making Better Bird Pictures

At once challenging and wondrous subjects, birds are fast, elusive, biologically diverse, and can be stunningly beautiful. “There are about 10,000 species of birds in the world, and their range of behaviors is very wide,” says William Majoros, a North Carolina–based scientist and avid bird […]

Read More

Composition: Small Things Make a Big Difference

I’m continually astonished at how small things can have a big impact. Take the humble comma for instance. The placement of this relatively insignificant little mark can make all the difference to how legible a sentence is. Not adding a comma into the relevant place […]

Read More