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Now that we know a thing or two about how we can use the adjustment brush. In order to selectively sharpen, or improve different details in our photographs, by painting in those adjustments to certain areas, what I want to do in this move is build upon what we learned and dig a bit deeper. Because this chapter is focused in on advanced techniques, I want to focus in on some advanced shortcuts, which can help you to be more effective when working with this tool and performing these techniques. We'll be working with this portrait, another one of my daughter's friends, down at the beach, holding this little crab by the leg.
And this image has a shallow depth of field. I'm interested in sharpening up the crab and increasing the contrast and brightness and visual interest, of just this part of the photograph. So grab the Zoom tool and let's click a few times to zoom in so we can start to focus in on this part of the image. Next, let's select the Adjustment brush, but let's do so by way of a shortcut. Tap the K key on your keyboard, and that will give you access to the Adjustment brush. Or if you forget the shortcut you can just click on the icon there.
Next, over in our settings, what I like to do is to choose the setting I'm most focused on, in this case, Sharpness. So here let's click on the plus icon for that, which kind of wipes away all the clutter, gives us a nice, clean, fresh start, resets all of these sliders. And then we can increase the sharpness. I also am going to increase saturation, clarity, contrast, and exposure. So just drag those over to the right. You don't need to be too concerned about how far you bring these over because we can always modify any of these settings a little bit later.
So I'm just going to guess here, and drag those a bit over to the right. Now, let's go down to our brush controls. We have the brush size and the feather. Now you may have seen that it's kind of awkward to select a brush size, position it over the area you want to work on, realize it's too big, make it smaller, and do this back and forth dance. There has to be a better way, right? Well, there obviously is, and it's a shortcut. You can use the bracket keys, right bracket key, tap that multiple times to make the brush bigger. Or tap the left bracket key to make the brush smaller.
Now what about the brush feather? That's the transitional are. You can see the brush overlay graphic, there are two concentric circles. The inner circle, the solid black line, that's the one where the effect will be painted in full intensity. Then that outer one, the checker board line there, that's where the transition is. If we change the feather amount or increase it, you can see that there's a larger transition area between the two circles. Right? Well if we want to change that by way of a shortcut, press and hold Shift, then tap one of the bracket keys.
The left bracket key decreases the feather. The right bracket key increases it. And this way, you can change your brush size and feather on the fly. So if we want a smaller brush size for the crab here, position the brush over the image, and tap the left bracket key a few times, so that we have a much smaller brush size there. Next, let's go down and, change the flow amount. Here, I'm actually going to leave my flow up at a higher value. I want this to happen pretty quickly. Then, we're going to turn on auto mask.
There's a great way that you can learn or remember any of these three shortcuts down here. And it's really simple. Just position your cursor over the name of the feature, and this menu will pop up. And here we can choose to see that shortcut, which is the m key. Tap the m key to toggle the auto mask visibility on and off. It's also important to keep in mind that these shortcuts aren't as important to memorize, because you can always just click on the check box to apply the effect, or you can look up the shortcut as well.
Whereas the brush size and feather, there's no way to, quote, look that up. You just have to know it. All right. Well, turn on auto mask and then we'll turn on show mask by tapping the y key. I memorized that one by thinking, why am I doing this? What is it affecting? So the Y key toggles that one on and off. Then what we want to do is just start to click and paint over the area of our photograph. As we do that, we want to try to get pretty good results. Yet if it spills over into the background, we can always fix that up by using the eraser tool, or eraser brush, I should say.
And in this case I need to fix this up in a few places. And so what we'll do in a second is we'll look at how we can access that tool, yet first I need to make my brush smaller to get in closer to some of these areas. Just to make sure I'm only affecting the legs here of this little poor crab that is dangling in mid-air, being held by this brave kid. This girl here, Kaylee, is a really fun person. She loves the ocean and she has this great dynamic spirit. She's a good friend. All right.
Well here we'll go ahead and paint in all of these adjustments to these little areas. Now what about where we have some gaps? Notice it didn't fill in all of the areas on the crab, or on the crab legs. You man want to turn off auto mask. You remember the shortcut to do that? It's the m key. Just turn it off, and then you can go back and paint over those areas. It may be tricky to actually see what I'm doing here, but all that I'm doing is just painting the small little brush. Just going along this, filling in any issue where it was kind of spotty, or there were some gaps.
Sometimes when you're working with this tool, it's about using auto mask, and sometimes that works perfectly. Other times, it's about using a small brush, getting in close, and doing some detail work as I've done here. Well let's zoom in on this so we can actually see what's happening. To zoom in I pressed Cmd+. I'm looking to fill in some of the gaps. I don't need to be too perfect with this, but I just want to get over some of these. All right, well, there are a few spots where you can see that I've made some mistakes. You can see where it is also going to affect the background. That isn't any good.
I need to fix that up. To fix that up we need to work with our Erase brush. And to access the Erase brush, we have two options. We can either click on the Erase option right here, or even better, you can just press and hold the Option key on Mac, Alt on Windows. Notice how that toggles to the Erase brush. So again, press Option, Mac, Alt, Windows. With this brush, we can choose our settings. Here, I'm going to turn on auto mask, and then I'll just go over these edges, and I will auto mask away the areas where it has spilled over into the background.
It gives me quick, precise control about cleaning this up, and making sure that all of the details that we're going to improve are just right. All right, a little bit more over here. That looks good. At least I think for now. Okay, well, let's zoom out, so we can actually see everything that we have here. View it at 100%. The mask overlay, which has been helpful, is now distracting. I want to hide that. Again, I memorized that shortcut by thinking this mask helps me to see why I'm doing this, which areas am I affecting? We'll tap the y key, which will hide the mask overlay.
Then we'll look at our preview, by clicking on the Preview check box, which will show us the before, and then now, the after. Let me go back to my controls here and customize this further. I'm going to increase the exposure to brighten that up, bring up the contrast, drop down some highlights, and then change the overall clarity and saturation. Again, I'm interested in adding a little bit of visual snap to that part of the photograph, and to selectively sharpen and improve a specific area of our image.
Now more important than the way that we improve this photograph, is hopefully the advanced techniques that we began to see. We began to see how those work, those shortcuts. Now I know that learning shortcuts can be difficult, especially when you're trying to learn a new topic. So if you feel like you don't quite have all of those shortcuts, here's what i recommend you do. You go back, watch this movie again, and write them all down. Then take a break from this course, and start working on your own images, and have that list of shortcuts sitting right next to your computer, and start to use the shortcuts.
Once you use them, and integrate them into your own workflow, you can own those shortcuts, and they can help you in order to work more quickly with this tool. And if you can work more quickly with this tool, well, eventually that will lead to better and more interesting photographs.
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