Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
In this chapter, I want to explore how we can use Lightroom to do some retouching that we typically and previously would have only done inside of Photoshop. And what we can do here is take advantage of the Lightroom Adjustment brush in order to paint in adjustments into specific areas. We are going to start off working on eyes. We'll work on these two photographs you can see here at the top. You can find these inside of the people folder. Now currently, I am inside of the Library module. What I want to do is jump to the Develop module, and I want to have access to the Adjustment brush.
The quickest way to do that is to press the Adjustment Brush shortcut key. If you don't know this one, definitely write it down. Here it is: it's the K key to take us to the Adjustment brush. Now new in Lightroom 3, if you go to the Effect pulldown menu, are some presets. We are going to select Iris Enhance, and all that this does is just dial in a few presets in regards to our exposure, saturation, and clarity. Now we can change these controls at any point-- right now, while we were doing the retouching, or for that matter, afterwards. Well, we want to work on the eyes, so let's go ahead and zoom in.
If we zoom into a 1:1 view, we get pretty close. Let's go even further, maybe a 3:1 view or 2:1; something where we can really get into the eye area. Next, we need to change the brush size. One way to do that is to press the Left Bracket key. You can see my brush is getting smaller. Or you can always drag this control here. I like using the shortcut here, bracket key: left or right, because that way I can have it over the area that I want to modify, and I can actually see how that brush will affect that area.
Now the feather has to do with the transition area, how far out that's going to transition. We want a little bit of a tighter transition, because we are working on a pretty tight, small area. All right, what about flow? Well, flow has to do with intensity. Typically, when retouching, you start with the low amount and you gradually build it up. One quick way to change this is to press a number on your keyboard. Here, I will go ahead and press 2 for 20, or 25 for 25. Of course, if you forget your shortcut, you can always drag that slider there.
Now in this case, we definitely want Auto Mask turned off. That won't work well because what we want to do is kind of paint this in in nice, fluid ways. So we will go ahead and just start to paint across the eye. Now I should point out that I am using a Wacom tablet, and I am using that which gives me even extra pressure sensitivity. And I really like that because it allows me to build this effect up little by little. Now as I am painting this in, you notice that I am kind of going around the edge of the eye, and I am painting this in around the eye, trying to follow the shape of the eye.
This little pen is distracting. The easiest way to hide that is to press the H Key. Think H for hide. Next, you can go into your controls, and you can modify these controls. Let's say you want a little more contrast there in the eyes, and you're like, "Yeah, that's kind of interesting." Well, at this point though, I don't really know if this adjustment is good at all, so I press the Backslash key. There is my before, and there is my after. And you can see there a little bit of the brightening effect there. I could add a touch of sharpening there. I could also go in and add some color.
To add color, click on the color chip, and then here we could experiment, let's say with adding a blue into the mix there. We can try different levels of opacity out. Now in this case, perhaps just a little touch or a little snap of color would be nice, nothing too over the top. But maybe just a little bit of blue in there, and I am just dragging this around, kind of seeing what might look good. Or even a little bit of green might be nice. But again, just a little bit of color in the eyes, and you can see we have made a pretty subtle adjustment. Here I will zoom out and then press the Backslash key.
Here is before, and then here is after, subtly enhancing that area of the eyes. Now if you don't like the brightness, well you can always have a little bit of a darker look there or you can have more contrast or you can deal with your color saturation and your clarity and dial in those controls until you get it exactly as you want it. All right, well let's take a look at another example. Here we will move to a photograph of my daughter Annie. Again, press the Spacebar key and click and drag, so you can reposition it on the area that you are going to work on. What I am going to do is go ahead, and I want to go back to Iris Enhance.
So I am just going to choose another option and then go back to Iris Enhance, just to kind of reset those values. And what I will do with this one is with my nice, small brush, I am going to start to paint. I am going to increase the flow here, just so we can work a little bit more quickly and perhaps create even a touch more dramatic results. In this case, I am adding this nice bright contrast to your color saturation. Not really liking the saturation too much, because it's bringing out some of the yellow in the eyes. So I am lowering that down, and I'll go around and modify my sliders.
It would be nice to have a little bit of a contrast. Brighten that up just a touch more, and some good clarity, contrast. Press the Backslash key. Here is before. Here is after. What I want to do next with this adjustment is I want to layer on top of it some sharpening. So rather than changing my Sharpness value right now, I am going to press the K key twice, and here is why. Press K once exits the Adjustment brush, exits my current adjustment. Press the K key a second time, and now I can make a new adjustment.
And the one that I am going to go for here has to do with sharpness. So here, I will choose Sharpness from the pulldown menu. Increase the sharpness, maybe a little bit of Clarity there as well, and then again, I am just going to paint over this area. And what I want to do is just add a little bit of that visual snap, a little bit of that sparkle to the eye there. Now it's critical that when you are doing this that you turn off Auto Mask. Auto Mask will make this look horrible. But here we have it with a little bit of the clarity and sharpness painted in. Let's zoom in even closer, so that you can see one of those eyes.
Here we have before and then after, and that looks pretty good. It still looks nice and natural. Let's zoom out, and let's say that we want to evaluate this at a zoomed out rate, just to make sure we are doing okay. That looks fine. Next, how about adding some color? Here we are going to zoom back in. K once. K the second time. And then here let's go ahead and choose Color. What this will do is is it will take our sliders back to normal, and then here we can choose a color. I am just going to choose a really vivid green, so we can see this.
My flow is relatively high here, so as I paint, we can see that I am really painting in this color. Now this color that I am bringing in doesn't look very good, but sometimes what you do when you are retouching is you retouch at a higher amount, or in an exaggerated state, like I am doing here, so that you can double check your brush stroke, so you can really see what's happening. And then you go in and you start to experiment. Like what would happen if we were to bring in perhaps a touch of blue there, or blue that has maybe a darker shade or lighter shade? We can really start to see that. Flip the switch.
You can also see that before and after. Or press your Backslash key. Here is before, and here is after. A nice way to be able to modify that. You can always go back to that color chip say and modify this. Bring it down a little bit if you want a little bit more realistic color there. All right, well I have made all these changes, and I have realized I brightened the eyes too much. This eye is a little bit too bright for me. How can I go back to an adjustment that I have done previously? Well, here you press the H key.
This brings back all these little pens. And if I click on a pen, you will notice that it's going to show me the different types of adjustments that I have. And so I have these different adjustments here. This adjustment is the one that brought in contrast and clarity. Well, if I go into my Exposure slider, you can see that it did brighten those eyes up pretty good. I am going to brighten them up a little bit more, just to show you how we can clean this up. One way of course is to move the slider. That's kind of easy. The other way is to hold our brush and then press Option on a Mac, Alt on Windows.
That toggles to a brush with the Minus sign in it--or it toggles to the Erase brush. You can set your controls here, you can choose your size, and once you have that, you can start to erase away some of this effect here. I am just going to paint over this, and you can see that I am painting away some of the adjustment that I made. And I am primarily painting this away on the top area of the eye. So now when I press the Backslash key, here is before and here is after. I have a little bit more refined retouching. So what I am trying to illustrate here is that sometimes what you will do perhaps is just use one or two adjustments and you are done.
Other times it might be helpful to actually press K multiple times, so you exit out of an adjustment, create a new one, and then stack those up. And then as you stack those up, that can lead you to some really fun results like we have here. Here is our before and then our after.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
180 Video lessons · 75356 Viewers
64 Video lessons · 94263 Viewers
86 Video lessons · 61839 Viewers
103 Video lessons · 31078 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.