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The big brother to the graduated filter that we saw over here is the adjustment brush. And this tool absolutely rocks dudes. It's just as fun and just as useful, probably even more so, than the graduated filter. What it does is it lets us do the same thing that we did in the graduated filter, but it let's us do it with a brush; all right?
So things like dodging and burning, great. I mean it's one of the things that we no longer have to go to Photoshop for; OK? And like the graduated filter, the adjustment brush isn't new to Lightroom 4, but the amount of controls that it has is new to Lightroom 4.
OK, so that's the big difference here is that you've got a lot more settings that you can now paint on or paint off depending on what you're going to be doing here. You've got a lot more settings that you can utilize here with Lightroom 4 where with Lightroom 3, we were kind of restricted in what we could do.
All right. Let's look at some circumstances where we use this. So we've got our photo the way we like it. OK, so I've gone through, I've done any develop changes. Exposure-wise, I think I'm overall happy. I think this is too bright, but if I bring the overall exposure down, to me, the photo starts to get a little bit too dark and dingy; OK? So I don't necessarily want to control the whole exposure of the photo, so what I would do is if I come across a certain situation, I come over here to the adjustment brush, and I'll bring the exposure down.
And then remember it's an adjustment brush. It's got a size setting; it's got a feather setting. Don't worry about flow. Just leave flow at 100. So size is the actual size of the brush; OK? And then the feather is the actual hardness of the brush. So at a low feather, this is a very hard brush. If I paint on, you're going to see a very hard edge that goes around it, and at a very high feather setting, it's a very soft brush; OK?
So you're not going to see that feather. You're not going to see that transition. But let's keep it small, and I usually do keep it fairly feathered whenever I'm using it.
Come over here, take my exposure down a little bit, take my size down probably even more. And now I'm going to paint on these rocks. Just like that. Not much more to it. All right, I'll just keep painting.
And I want to show you one little trick that we have with the adjustment brush. And that is notice I didn't paint this area yet. See how it encroaches over here? So you could paint, it's a feathered brush. It is probably fine, but there is an option over here called Auto Mask. What Auto Mask does is this keeps you away from spilling over into your edges.
So here, let me show you what happens when I do it. So I'm painting and I paint. If I zoom in here, and I show you the before and after, see how it spills over onto the water? So what I'm going to do is I'm going to undo a couple of times. There we go. So I'm going to undo; I'm going to turn on Auto Mask; and I'm going to paint. And now—and I'm going to get a bigger brush. I'll even show you. I'll get a bigger brush and I'll spill over onto the water. See how probably a third of my brush is over onto that water.
But look where the cross hair is. That's the important part. The cross hair is over the rock, and that's what's important because that's what Lightroom's looking at to determine what it should paint over or what it should apply this effect to. So if the cross hair goes over the water, then it becomes a problem, so I leave it out of the water. Even though half of the brush is over the water itself, it's not getting applied.
Watch. I'll turn my before and after. Before, after. It didn't spill over onto the water. Sometimes it works great like it just did here. Sometimes it's worthless. Best thing you can do is just give it a try; right? Let's try it over here, works really good; OK? Again, I can't—it's hard—I find on the edge of buildings and where a building meets a sky, it looks like it works good, but if you zoom in it looks like it kind of leaves a little fringe. So on something like this where it doesn't have to be perfect and I think a little bit of a transition is fine, you're good, but if you have something where, like I said, a building meets a sky, that's kind of hard to pull off. But it really just depends how detailed the work is.
I wouldn't use it for very detailed work. I don't consider this extremely detailed. I consider this—it's fine if I kind of feather it one way or the other. You're not really going to notice it; OK?
All right, so let me zoom back out here, paint a little bit over here, so forth. All right. Let's take a look. We've got a little toggle switch down here. That's before, and that's after. Before, bright rocks, after. And the problem is these rocks get wet. When you photograph waterfalls, anything with rocks you generally want them wet because it takes all of that brightness away.If you ever look at TV shows and look at movies, watch how—take a notice on how the ground is always wet. The ground is always wet. Do you know why? Because the exposure of that ground if the sun were hitting it, it overpowers everything. So they wet it to kind of darken it up a little bit.
So this is the same concept over here. The rocks weren't wet up here which is why they look so bright. Now I think this got too dark over here. I don't think this needed darkening. Well, then just come over here to erase mode. Again, you get control of your brush. And I just erase it away from that part of it; OK? Then just like the graduated filter, we can add more if we want to. We can change. I can make them darker too by the way. I don't really want to, but you can. But you can add a new one. Just click on new. It adds another one over here.
So then maybe I'll paint the waterfall; all right? Maybe I'll bring the highlights of the waterfall down. Too much, I think, here, but we can go back and change this. OK, so now I've darkened the waterfall. I don't want to darken it that much. So I'll kind of bring both of these back in, maybe just a little bit. The other thing is one of the changes that I made to this is I warmed the whole photo with the white balance. I made the whole photo warmer. In doing so, the water gets a yellowish color to it.
So then I can come over here, and remember because I have the waterfall pin selected over here, I can just move this toward blue just a little bit and just kind of even out the color of the water so the water doesn't look yellow. So I get the warm feeling everywhere else, but my water still has a very neutral type of a feeling to it.
And the whole point of these pins is it's almost like layered adjustments. These pins give me a way to click between adjustments. Right now that one's targeted, so any changes I make go directly toward the water. If I want to change this one, I click on it. Now any changes I make go directly onto the rocks. So that's why we have those little pins, so we can go inside of there, and we can start to finesse those things.
The other thing about this is if you hover over—I call them meatballs. If you hover over the little meatball, you'll see a red overlay that shows what you've painted over. OK, you can also do a couple of things. You've got some options down here. The edit pins, you've got an option to just show Auto, which means as I move my cursor over the photo, they show. As I move my cursor away, they go away. It really helps a lot when you want to toggle this on and off.
So I can see that's before and that's after. I don't have to see these little ugly pins all over the place. So I leave it on Auto most of the time, but of course you've got Always; you've got Selected; and you've got Never. I highly advise against choosing Never because what's going to happen is you're going to forget about it. One day you're going to wonder why can't I ever see my little adjustment pins over here because they're gone because you chose Never over here.
And then there's a keyboard shortcut, H cycles through. So I'm just pressing the letter H. That cycles through. Let's get back to Auto. And then if you go to O,O turns the overlay on or off. There's a check box right down here for it. You can turn the overlay on or off or you can just hover over the pin or, again, you can press the letter O, and that'll turn it on and off for you. And that's kind of useful because sometimes when I paint on, if I go into erase mode, it helps me figure outdid I erase it from all the places that I really wanted to. And you can see if you spilled over into any places that you didn't want to. So the overlay mode does kind of help sometimes; OK?
Really powerful tool, again. It's kind of the big brother to the graduated filter. To me, it's even a little bit more powerful than it because I can be even more selective with it and with Lightroom 4 adding all the different controls in here, this is really becoming one of the go-to tools, one of the tools that makes Lightroom and Camera Raw in general so powerful.
- Open your file in Adobe Lightroom Classic and choose the Adjustment Brush tool.
- Adjust exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows and more by moving sliders and painting areas of your image with the Adjustment Brush tool.
- Adjust the size of the Adjustment Brush tool, the feather value, and the flow value as desired.
- Enable the Auto Mask option to automatically mask neighboring areas of your image while painting.
Contributors: Kelby One, Matt Kloskowski