Apply Masking for local adjustments

Starting with Adobe Camera Raw 14.0 (October 2021 release), Masking offers a variety of local adjustment tools in an organized panel. These tools help you make precise color or luminance range adjustments and edit specific areas in a photo with maximum creative control.

You can also access AI-powered features like Select Subject and Select Sky which help you automatically select a subject or sky in a photo so that you can make adjustments to just that part, quickly.

The Masking workspace

The Masking workspace in Camera Raw
Access masking tools in the Masking panel

Select Masking in the right-hand toolbar to access the Masking tools. Create a mask to edit specific parts of a photo such as the main subject, the sky, a car, a tree, etc.

The Masking tools

The following tools are available in the Masking panel:

Brush

Click and drag the Brush tool over the areas you want to edit. You can specify the following: 

  • Size Specifies the diameter of the brush tip in pixels.
  • Feather Creates a soft-edged transition between the brushed area and surrounding pixels. In the Brush cursor, the distance between the inner and outer circle is the Feather amount.
  • Flow Controls the rate of application of the adjustment.
  • Density Controls the amount of transparency in the stroke.

You can also select Auto Mask to confine the Brush strokes to areas of similar color.

Use the Brush tool to paint over areas you want to locally edit
Use the Brush tool to paint over areas you want to locally edit

Linear Gradient

Click and drag the tool in the area you want to edit. This is useful to adjust a large portion of the photo with a gradually fading pattern that creates soft transitions.

Linear Gradient in Masking
Use the Linear Gradient tool to make local adjustments

Radial Gradient

Click and drag the tool in the area you want to edit. This tool helps you make local adjustments inside or outside an oval shape. Use the Feather slider to determine how soft you want the adjustments to be.

Radial Gradient Mask
Use the Radial Gradient tool to make adjustments within an oval selection

Color Range

Use this tool to accurately select a color in your photo that you want to edit:

  • Click+drag an area around the colors in the photo that you want to adjust.
  • Shift+click to add multiple color samples. You can add up to five color samples by holding Shift while clicking on the image. To remove a color sample, press Option (macOS)/Alt (Windows) and click the sample.
  • Adjust the Refine slider to narrow or broaden the range of selected colors.
Color Range in Masking
Use the Color Range tool to make adjustments to a specific color or a range of colors

Бележка:

To refine a mask and limit its effect to a color or range of colors: Select the mask, hold down the Shift key and click the Intersect button that replaces Add and Subtract. Then select Color Range and click the desired color in the photo.

Luminance Range

Use this tool to accurately select a brightness range in your photo that you want to edit. To select a luminance range, do any of the following: 

  • Click the photo to select the brightness value of that part of the photo.
  • Click + drag an area in the photo to select a range of brightness values.
  • Adjust the Select Luminance slider for precise control of the selected brightness range.

Select Show Luminance Map to view the luminance information of the photo in a black and white representation. The part in red color (this is a default color that you can change using Mask overlay color) shows the area that is selected by the chosen luminance range.

Luminance Range in Masking
Adjust areas of specific brightness levels using the Luminance Range tool

Depth Range

Use this tool to select areas based on their distance from the camera. This tool is enabled only for photos containing depth information. To select a depth range to adjust, do any of the following:

  • Adjust the Select Depth slider.
  • Click + drag an area in the photo.

Select Show Depth Map to view the depth of the image in a black and white representation. The part of the photo in white represents the foreground, while the part of the photo in black represents the background. The red color shows the area that is selected by the chosen depth range.

Create a mask

  1. Open the photo and select Masking from the right-hand toolbar.

    Masking tools in Adobe Camera Raw
    Masking tools in Adobe Camera Raw

  2. Select the desired Masking tool and make a selection (tool details are in the first section). A default Mask 1 is created in the Masking panel. To rename this mask, click the three-dot icon next to the mask and select Rename.

    Mask 1 details in the Masking panel
    Mask 1 details in the Masking panel

  3. Use the editing sliders in the right panel to make local adjustments. To know more about these sliders, see Local adjustments.

    You can also save the local adjustments as a preset using the New Adjustment Preset option in the Adjustment Preset drop-down menu.

  4. To add a new mask, click Create New Mask and select the tool you want. This way, you can add different masks in the same photo and access them in an organized way.

    The organized Masking panel
    The organized Masking panel with multiple applied masks

  5. In the Masking panel, you can also do the following:

    • Click the three-dot icon next to the mask to view More options. You can find options to rename, intersect mask, duplicate, hide, or delete the mask. Intersect Mask With creates a new component in the current mask that intersects with other components in the mask.
    • Temporarily hide a mask. Long-press the eye icon next to the mask name. To temporarily hide all the masks, long-press the eye icon next to Create New Mask. You can also choose to hide a mask by deselecting the eye icon.
    • Hide the masking overlay. Deselect Show Overlay to hide the overlay.
    • Change the color of the overlay. Click the red radio button next to Show Overlay and select the desired color. You can also click the three-dot icon to view a range of preset overlay options such as Color Overlay on B&W, Image on B&W, White on Black, and more.
    • Drag the floating Masking panel into the right panel as an alternative layout.
    The Mask three-dot menu in Camera Raw
    The Mask three-dot menu in Camera Raw

  6. To remove or delete a mask, click the mask and press Delete.

Automatically select the main subject in a photo

  1. Open the photo you want to edit and select Masking > Select Subject.

  2. Camera Raw runs an analysis and automatically selects the subject for you.

    Select Subject in Lightroom
    The selected area is shown as a red overlay, by default

  3. To refine the mask, click Add or Subtract.

    Refine a mask
    Click the mask to view Add and Subtract options

  4. Use the editing sliders on the right to make the desired local adjustments. 

    For details, see Local adjustments.

Automatically select a sky

  1. Open the photo you want to edit and select Masking > Select Sky.

  2. Camera Raw runs an analysis and automatically selects the sky for you.

    Select Sky in Camera Raw
    Camera Raw automatically detects and selects the sky

  3. To refine the mask, click Add or Subtract.

  4. Use the editing sliders on the right to make the desired local adjustments.

    To know more, see Local adjustments.

Add to a mask

Once you have created a mask, you can add masking tools to further refine it.

  1. To use other masking tools to extend the effect of a mask, click Add below the selected mask.

  2. Select a masking tool and use it to add to the mask.

Subtract from a mask

Once you have created a mask, you can remove areas in the mask using the masking tools.

  1. To remove areas of the existing mask, click Subtract under the mask. 

  2. Select a masking tool and use it to subtract from the mask. This will create a new Subtract component in the selected mask.

Rename a mask or mask component

  1. In the Masking panel, do one of the following:

    • Click the three-dot icon next to the mask or mask component.
    • Right-click the mask or mask component. 
  2. Select Rename from the menu.

  3. Enter a new name and press Enter.

Invert a mask component

To select everything else except the selected area of a mask component, click Invert in the right panel.

Change the overlay color

You can easily change the default red overlay color to a custom color or choose from a range of preset options:

  1. In the Masking panel, click the default red radio button next to Show Overlay.

    Click the red radio button to change the overlay color
    Click the red radio button to change the overlay color

  2. In the Mask Overlay Color dialog box, select a color of your choice. Use the Brightness and Opacity sliders to adjust the color. You can also select Unaffected Areas to accurately view the areas that are not part of the mask.

    Pick a color for the mask overlay
    Pick a color for the mask overlay

  3. Click the three-dot icon next to the color radio button to access overlay preset options such as Color Overlay on B&W, Image on B&W, Image on Black, Image on White, and White on Black.

    Select from a range of mask overlay preset options
    Select from a range of mask overlay preset options

More overlay settings

Access these options, when you click the three-dot icon next to Show overlay:

  • Automatically Toggle Overlay It will automatically turn the overlay on or off based on whether the selected mask has any adjustments applied.
  • Show Unselected Mask Pins Select this option to show pins for masks that are not selected on the photo.
  • Show Pins and Tools Deselect to not show pins and tool icons on the photo.

Masking keyboard shortcuts

Action

Keyboard shortcut

Open the Masking panel M
Invert a selected mask component
X
Temporarily show mask pins
A
Show pins and tools V
Temporarily show the mask overlay for the selected mask or mask component
Alt (Win)/Option (macOS) + Y 
Navigate the mask list
Alt (Win)/Option (macOS) + arrow keys
Toggle Show Unselected Mask Pins
Alt (Win)/Option (macOS) + V

Local adjustment sliders

Use the following sliders to make the desired local adjustments to your mask:

Exposure

Sets the overall image brightness. Applying an Exposure local correction can achieve results similar to traditional dodging and burning.

Contrast

Adjusts image contrast, mainly affecting midtones

Highlights

Recovers detail in overexposed highlight areas of an image

Shadows

Recovers detail in underexposed shadow areas of an image

Whites

Adjusts the white points in a photo

Blacks

Adjusts the black points in a photo

Temp

Adjusts the color temperature of an area of the image, making it warmer or cooler. A graduated filter temperature effect can improve images captured in mixed-lighting conditions.

Tint

Compensates for a green or magenta color cast

Hue

Adjusts the hue in a photo. Select Use Fine Adjustment for precise adjustments.

Saturation

Adjusts the vividness of the color

Color

Applies a tint to the area. Select the hue by using the Color swatch. The effect is preserved if you convert the photo to black and white.

Texture

Smoothens or accentuates textured details in your photo. Move the slider to the left to smoothen details; move it to the right to accentuate details. When you adjust the Texture slider, the color or tonality does not change.

Clarity

Adds depth to an image by increasing local contrast

Dehaze

Reduces or increases existing haze in a photo

Sharpness

Enhances edge definition to bring out details in the photo. A negative value blurs details.

Noise Reduction

Reduces luminance noise, which can become apparent when shadow areas are opened.

Moiré Reduction

Removes moiré artifacts, or color aliasing

Defringe

Removes fringe colors along edges

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