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Especially when capturing an image under tricky lighting conditions, such as the high contrast scene in Yosemite Valley shown here. You may feel that you want to apply an adjustment that only affects a particular area of the image. For example, I might want to enhance the blue sky here without affecting the rest of the image. Or, I might want to lighten up the foreground area, again, without affecting the background. With the Smart Brush tool, these types of targeted adjustments are surprisingly simple. Let's start with the sky. I'll go ahead and choose the Smart Brush tool from the toolbox. And then on the Options bar, I'll choose the pop-up and select Blue Skies from the All Purpose section.
I can switch to the All Purpose section as needed, and then choose Blue Skies from the top of the list. I can then move the mouse out over the image, and adjust the size of my brush, using the left square bracket key to reduce the size of the brush and the right square bracket key to increase the size of the brush. And then I'll paint over the area I want to affect, in this case, the sky of course. I'll go ahead and click and drag across the sky. You can see that I get a relatively automatic selection of the sky.
And when I release the mouse I get a strong blue effect in that sky. If I'd like to apply another effect, I can simply click on the Background Image layer, and then choose a new effect with the Smart Brush tool. I'll go ahead and switch to the Lighting options. And I think I'll choose the Brighter setting, and then I'll simply click and drag throughout the foreground of the image, so that that area gets selected. I'm simply defining the area of the image that I want to brighten up and you can see that I get a nice brightening effect there.
This helps to pull out just a little bit more detail in that foreground, and of course, the Blue Skies option gives me a much more dramatic sky. I could then fine-tune things if I'd like. For example, if I'd like to tone down the blue skies, I can click on that layer and then reduce the opacity. You can see, it's currently set to 75%, but I can reduce that even further to tone down the effect a little bit. That looks a bit more natural. And I can also fine-tune the Brighter layer if I wanted to, but in this case, I think we're good with the adjustment as it is. When I'm completely happy with the result, I can flatten the image if I'd like by choosing Layer > Flatten Image, and then saving my final image. But as you can see, with the Smart Brush tool, it's remarkably easy to apply targeted adjustments to any photo.
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