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The Adjustment Brush in Lightroom is phenomenal because it allows us to paint adjustments into specific areas of our photograph. We are going to talk about how we can use the Adjustment Brush and also how we can use some really helpful shortcuts so that we can be more effective with this tool. Now with this tool, I find it's helpful to learn how to use it in context. So let's go through a bit of a workflow. With this image I will press the V key to convert it to black and white. Next, in the Black & White panel, let's click and drag our Aqua and our Blue sliders down to create a bit more of a dynamic black-and-white conversion.
Next, what I want to do is use the Adjustment Brush in order to paint in brightness into a specific area of our photograph. To do that, press the K key to select the Adjustment Brush. Now here with the Adjustment Brush, what we can do is we can determine in an effect or exposure or contrast. We can increase one of these values and then paint that in into our picture. Here let's go ahead and increase our overall exposure and perhaps a bit of contrast. Next, if we scroll down, you will notice that you have some options for our brush.
Here if we position the cursor or the brush over the image, you can see that we have these different concentric circles. Well, the inner circle is our brush size. The outer circle, that's the brush feather. To change those values by way of a shortcut, just press the bracket keys. Right bracket key increases the overall brush size; left bracket key decreases the brush size. Press Shift+Left Bracket key and that will decrease the Feather amount; press Shift+Right Bracket key--that will increase the Feather amount.
Well, what about Flow? Well, to change the Flow, you just need to type a number on your keyboard. If you type 2, it will take the Flow to 20. Press 5, it will go to 50 or 8, and it will go to 80. Next we have an option which is called Auto Mask. We can turn that on or off by pressing the A key. Press the A key to turn it off or the A key to bring this back. Let's go and turn the Auto Mask off for a moment and just talk about how we can make an adjustment. Here I'm going to go ahead and click and paint over this part of the picture, and I am just painting in a way that's really affecting a large area of the photograph.
Well in this case, you can see that we have this little pin which is showing me the area that I've adjusted. If we hover over it, all of a sudden we'll see what's called a mask overlay. Now you can change that mask overlay by way of a few handy shortcuts. Position your cursor off of that little pin and then press the O key; that will toggle the overlay on or off. If you want to change its color, press Shift+O and here you can see I can toggle through different overlay colors.
Sometimes it's helpful to choose an overlay color so that you can kind of see how you're adjusting the image. In this case, I adjusted the photograph in a way that didn't really work for me. So to delete the adjustment, here we will go ahead and simply click on this pin and then press Delete or Backspace. Next, press the A key to turn on Auto Mask and here press the left bracket key to make our brush a little bit smaller, and if we click and paint, we will start to see this in red, because the overlay is on.
Here you can see how the adjustment is just affecting this area. Auto Mask allows us to limit how we mask in certain things, and in many ways this can help us to make more precise adjustments, and sometimes to make more interesting adjustments as well. If the overlay is distracting, just use a shortcut to hide it. Remember, it's the O key. That then allows you to hide that. And here if we flip this switch, you can see our before and then now the after. I will go ahead and paint over these areas a little bit more in order to add a bit more to the selection.
Next, if we want to make another adjustment, what I like to do is rather than going to the top and pressing New, I like to press the K key twice. Press it once to exit the adjustment brush; press it a second time to re-enter it with a new adjustment. Here I will go ahead and increase my exposure and then I'll click and paint over the image. In doing that, I've realized that I've made an adjustment which I don't really like. Well, how can we undo that? Well, you can do that by clicking on Erase or you can hold down the Option key on the Mac, Alt key on Windows, and that will give you access to your Erase brush.
Here you can see my Erase brush is really small, so I will press the right bracket key to make that bigger. In doing that, now with this Erase brush, I can erase this adjustment away. Another way that you can do that is by letting go of Option or Alt, and then you can just click on that little pin, and then of course press the Delete key. Yet sometimes you may not want to delete that altogether, so it's helpful to know that shortcut. Press Option or Alt to quickly toggle or to choose the Erase brush.
All right, well, last but not least, let's talk about how we can change the view of these pins. Here you can see that we have this little pin. It's showing me that I've made an adjustment there. If that pin becomes distracting, we can hide it, and you can hide it by pressing the H key. This now will hide that pin; press the H again and you can see how it brings that back. And you can see that that can be helpful to sometimes identify what you've done. Also, if you hover over it, it gives you this quick overlay of your mask so that you can see that.
All right, well there were a handful of shortcuts there. What I recommend you do with this movie is probably watch it maybe two or even three times, because the Adjustment Brush is an incredibly powerful tool and the better you can get at making adjustments in specific areas of your photographs, well, the better your photographs will become, as you can see here with this picture. With a few brief brushstrokes, we were able to really improve that and kind of draw the viewer into this road which leads into this landscape photograph, and so I recommend that perhaps you watch this movie a couple of times, take down some notes, and then of course experiment with these shortcuts and use them so that you can then integrate them into your own workflow.
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