Open the photo and select Masking from the right-hand toolbar.
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
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 following tools are available in the Masking panel:
Select 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. The distance between the inner and outer circle is the Feather amount in the Brush cursor.
- 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. Additionally, you can preview and change the brush size on-screen and make adjustments if desired.
Select and drag the tool into the area you want to edit. This is useful for adjusting a large portion of the photo with a gradually fading pattern that creates soft transitions.
Select and drag the tool into 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Select the desired Masking tool and create a mask (tool details are in the first section). A default Mask 1 is created in the Masking panel. Click the three-dot icon next to the mask and select Rename to rename this mask.
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.
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.
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.
Starting from Adobe Camera Raw 14.4 (June 2022 release), you can adjust the intensity of the mask adjustments. Simply use the Amount slider of the mask to turn up or tone down the adjustments.
Once you have created a mask, you can add masking tools to further refine it.
Once you have created a mask, you can remove areas in the mask using the masking tools.
Rename a mask or mask component
You can also invert a component of the mask. To do this, press X or select Invert from the three-dot menu.
You can easily change the default red overlay color to a custom color or choose from a range of 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
|Open the Masking panel||M|
|Invert a selected mask component
|Temporarily show mask pins
|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
Use the following sliders to make the desired local adjustments to your mask:
Starting with the June 2023 release of Adobe Camera Raw (version 15.4), (Film) Grain can be added in masks. Grain is useful as both a creative effect as well as for maintaining consistent texture across a photo.
Also, you can use the Refine Saturation slider to manually control saturation changes introduced by the Point Curve adjustments.
Sets the overall image brightness. Applying an Exposure local correction can achieve results similar to traditional dodging and burning.
Adjusts image contrast, mainly affecting midtones
Recovers detail in overexposed highlight areas of an image
Recovers detail in underexposed shadow areas of an image
Adjusts the white points in a photo
Adjusts the black points in a photo
Curves give greater control over tonal range and contrast in a photo.
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.
Compensates for a green or magenta color cast
Adjusts the hue in a photo. Select Use Fine Adjustment for precise adjustments.
Adjusts the vividness of the 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.
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.
Adds depth to an image by increasing local contrast
Reduces or increases existing haze in a photo
Removes noise from images and adds more texture.
Enhances edge definition to bring out details in the photo. A negative value blurs details.
Reduces luminance noise, which can become apparent when shadow areas are opened.
Removes moiré artifacts, or color aliasing
Removes fringe colors along edges