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One reason to take a photo that you're managing in Lightroom from Lightroom to Photoshop is that Photoshop offers more precise masking and selection features that allow you to target your adjustments with more control than you can get in Lightroom. I don't take every photo to Photoshop for that reason. Lightroom does have some local adjustment features. The Adjustment Brush, the Graduated Filter tool, and some targeted adjustment tools. However, there are just some images that need the additional precision you can get with Photoshop's multitude of selection tools, and its mask and selection refinement features.
Here, for example, I want to adjust the color of the subject but not the background. I could try to do that in Lightroom with the Adjustment Brush tool, maybe using the Temperature and Tint sliders with this tool. But I'm just not going to get as precise a mask here in Lightroom as I could get in Photoshop. So I'm going to take this image over to Photoshop. I'll press Cmd+E, that's Ctrl+E on the PC. In Photoshop I'm going to make a selection. Now there are a myriad of selection tools in Photoshop and knowing which one to choose when is really a black art, but I am going to start with one that I use a lot and that is the Quick Selection tool.
This tool selects based on color and tone, and so I can make a quick selection of some of what I want, and then click and drag over additional parts that I want to add to the selection, and subtract what I don't want. I'm holding the Option key to change this tool to Subtract from Selection. Now I'm going to modify this selection, as I often do, with the Lasso tool, which is a free form drawing selection tool. I'll click the Add to Selection icon in the options bar for this tool, and I'll come in and I'm going to include more of the hair.
Now I'm not going to go out and get the parts of the hair through which you can see sky, I am going to leave that to the next step. Now I am going to refine this selection, using the Refine Edge feature that you find in the options bar with many of the selection tools. Alternatively you can get to this by choosing Select and Refine Edge. That opens the Refine Edge dialog. I'll choose the view that I'm going to use as I refine this edge, and that depends on the particular image. In this case, I think I'll start with Overlay, so that I can see through this red mask to where there is some hair.
And what I'd like to do is have Photoshop take a look at the edges and decide what should be included in the selection and what shouldn't. To get that to happen I'll check Smart Radius, and then I'll start dragging the Radius slider over to the right, keeping my eye on the edges of the subject's hair, until I see some of that hair start to come back in, as it is now. So I've got more of the hair in the selection, but I'd like to have even more. So I'm going to get the Refine Radius tool from behind this button, and I'll make my brush just a little bigger by pressing the right bracket key on my keyboard, and I'm going to paint over some areas where I can see that there is more hair underneath the mask there, and I'm basically telling Photoshop to take another look at these areas and decide what should and shouldn't be included in the selection.
So I'm not actually adding to the selection by doing this painting. So now I've got more of the hair in the selection as I can see it here. I don't have to be too particular here because I am just going to be changing the color, but if I were trying to cut the subject out to put him against another background, then I would have to be a more careful. I'll choose from the Output menu Selection, and I'll click OK. The marching ants don't tell the whole story, because they can't show what's partially selected up here. So I won't worry about the marching ants, but with them still active I'm going to add an adjustment layer.
I'll click the Curves Adjustment Layer icon in the Adjustments panel to add a curves adjustment layer with the mask in place. I'll show you the mask for a moment by Option-clicking it. The black areas of the mask will hide the adjustment I'm going to make, the white areas will reveal the adjustment, and the gray areas will partially reveal the adjustment. I'll Option+click again on that thumbnail to go back to regular view. The Properties panel also opened. When I have the Mask selected I can see the properties for the Mask, but when I click back on the small icon on the left side of the curves adjustment layer, I get the controls for the Curves Adjustment.
What I want to do in curves is to reduce some of the red in the subject's face. So I'm going to switch from the RGB curve to the red curve, and then I can use the On Image tool, clicking it, and then coming into the image and dragging down on an area that's too red. As you can see the red curve is moving down, and I think that looks better. I would also like to brighten up the subject, so I'm going to go back to the RGB Channel and I'll click on the center of the curve and I'll drag up, and then I'll click the double-pointed arrow to collapse that Properties panel so we can see the result.
So here is how it looks with that curves adjustment, and here is how it looks without. As you can see, the curves adjustment is affecting just the area that I had selected using Photoshop's precise selection features. Now I am ready to save the adjusted image back to Lightroom, so I'll press Cmd+S or Ctrl+S on the keyboard. I'll close the image from Photoshop and go back to Lightroom. Here in Lightroom, you can see my adjusted image, it is a TIFF image, and the name is changed, all as I specified in Lightroom's external editing preferences earlier. And here is the original DNG file that I started from.
You can see that I have managed to make a change to just the subject and not the background by making use of Photoshop's sophisticated selection, masking, and adjustment features.
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