Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
One of the most powerful tools which is located inside of Lightroom is the Adjustment Brush. I can say that this tool is powerful, because what it allows us to do is to paint in adjustments in the particular areas of our photographs. Now, you may be thinking, okay, well, what's the big deal? We can do this in Photoshop. Well, sure! We can do this in Photoshop, but now it's kind of interesting that we can this in Lightroom as well, because here, we can make these adjustments in a way that's nondestructive and that doesn't increase file size. In other words, we can be a little more creative and a little more efficient in this raw workflow context.
All right, well, to target this tool or to select the tool, we can click on it in the toolstrip, or we can simply press the K key. Once you select this tool, what you'll see is that you have a number of different Effect options. Now we've seen these effects before, right? These same effects are also located inside of the Graduated Filter. Yet when we go back to the Adjustment Brush, you may notice that there are few more options here as well. We can now define a couple of different brushes as well as a brush that allows us to erase. Well, what are these settings down here? Well, what I want to do in this movie is introduce us to how we can begin to work with this tool.
Then in the next movie, we'll take a look at some shortcuts. Then we'll actually look at some real scenarios for working with this particular tool. In regards to our overall brush size, this controls how big the brush is. So, for example, if I hover over this image, you can see that there are three concentric circles. Now, the middle circle with the crosshairs, that shows us the very middle of our adjustment, and the crosshairs are actually pretty important. And you'll see why when we get to masking. The next circle that's the brightest white circle, that one shows us the size of our brush.
Then finally that outer concentric circle, that shows us the transition area or the feather of this particular adjustment that we're going to apply. Now, we can change all of these amounts by simply dragging these sliders. So, as I make my brush smaller, we can see that the brush changes size, the feather either gets closer to the brush size or further away. Then the Flow, we'll have to take a look at how that works as we actually paint on our photograph. All right, we're going to choose a relatively small brush size. I'm going to decrease the Exposure by 4 stops.
I'm going to exaggerate here, so that we can learn how this tool works. All right, well, if I go ahead and paint, we notice that we have a nice deep black line there, negative exposure, 4 stops. Well, I can change that by dragging the slider to make it brighter or even darker. Now, this current setting that I have here is a small brush size, or relatively small, and with a high Feather amount. What about no Feather, what does that look like? Well, on comparison, you can see that I have really harsh edges. No transition at all.
So, feathering allows us to create brushstrokes that are little bit more smooth. Many times, especially when burning and dodging or correcting tone or exposure, we need that extra softness that Feather can actually give us. All right, well let's reset this for a moment and bring everything back to normal. What I want to do now is take a look at Flow. So, let's increase our Feather, because typically, we'll have a pretty high Feather. Let's take a look at the different options for Flow. If I decrease my Flow significantly, what will happen is as I paint once, we won't see much of an effect.
But as I go back and forth across this, we're going to see that that effect will slowly be built up. Now, how quickly this happens depends on my Flow. Let me increase the Flow setting here and do the same thing. I paint once, twice, three times, now I'm already much higher than I was before. So again, Flow has to do with how quickly we make a particular adjustment. Well, let's delete this adjustment, and let's do so by clicking on this pane here and then pressing the Delete key. All right, well what about Density down here? Well, I like to think of Density as overall intensity. Let me explain.
Let's go ahead and bring our Flow all the way up. I'm going to make the brush size just a touch smaller here. Now, when I paint once, we see that we have this really intense darkening effect. Now, when I decrease the Density, or as I like to call it the intensity, what will happen with that same brushstroke, it's not quite so intense. And no matter how many times I paint back and forth, it can never go above this particular setting. So, the Density kind of trumps all. This is true whether we have a low Flow or a high Flow amount.
Let me show you what I mean. Let's delete this adjustment by pressing the Delete key. I'm going to decrease my Flow here and increase the Density all the way up. So now, when I paint back and forth, you can see that I'm slowly building this up. I can get this to be 4 stops darker than it was in regards to the Exposure. On the other hand, if I decrease my Density, say to about 50% or so, and then go ahead and paint back and forth, what's going to happen is it doesn't matter how many times I paint back and forth, it's never going to allow me to get higher than this overall amount here that I've defined with Density.
All right, well, so far so good. What about Auto Mask? Well, Auto Mask is actually really interesting. Let's delete this adjustment for a moment. Let's choose another effect. I'll double-click the Exposure slider there. I'm going to go ahead and desaturate 100 points. I'm going to increase my Flow, so this happens really quickly. Density, bring that all the way up. All right, well, now if I paint across the image, you can see that I'm simply desaturating the entire image. It doesn't really matter where I'm painting or how I'm painting. Everything is desaturated.
Well, on the other hand, what we can do is if we delete this adjustment is we can turn Auto Mask on. With Auto Mask on, and let's say a little bit bigger brush size, as long as we pay attention to those crosshairs in the middle, whatever those crosshairs cover, in this case, you can see I'm paying attention to the green dress. It's going to then affect that area. So, essentially, it's building a mask based on the area where I'm painting. All of this is happening in this nondestructive raw workflow context.
So I can undo this at any time, if I make any mistakes. The interesting thing about this is not only can we affect the Saturation, we could also affect the overall Brightness of this, or for that matter, we could click on Color and say you know what, we really want a different color dress. We can go through here and choose different color in order to make a change and to make this image look completely different. Let's click the X here in order to close this dialog. Here is our before and then our after. So, the point here isn't to say that you're always going to change colors of different things.
But the point here is to show you that Auto Mask can allow you to target a particular area of your photograph. All right, well, now that we've been introduced to this tool, let's go ahead and take a look at some of the essential shortcuts for the Adjustment Brush. And let's do that in the next movie.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
180 Video lessons · 66656 Viewers
64 Video lessons · 90558 Viewers
86 Video lessons · 59186 Viewers
103 Video lessons · 27666 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.