Photoshop CC for Photographers: Sharpening
Illustration by John Hersey

Learning Adjustment Brush shortcuts


Photoshop CC for Photographers: Sharpening

with Chris Orwig

Video: Learning Adjustment Brush shortcuts

Now that we know a thing or two about how we can use the adjustment brush.
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  1. 6m 0s
    1. Welcome
      1m 24s
    2. Raw sharpening in Lightroom or Camera Raw?
      3m 56s
    3. Using the exercise files
  2. 44m 15s
    1. Lighroom sharpening workflow first steps
      5m 35s
    2. Understanding how the Lightroom Detail controls work
      5m 36s
    3. Reducing luminance and color noise
      5m 47s
    4. Improving details in a portrait
      9m 13s
    5. Improving details in an outdoor photograph
      7m 12s
    6. Sharpening in order to emphasize small textures
      3m 49s
    7. Improving sky details and edge sharpening
      7m 3s
  3. 53m 3s
    1. Selective sharpening with the Adjustment Brush
      10m 19s
    2. Learning Adjustment Brush shortcuts
      4m 15s
    3. Reviewing Adjustment Brush techniques and shortcuts
      7m 36s
    4. Sharpening eyes in a portrait
      6m 44s
    5. Sharpening large areas with the Radial filter
      6m 50s
    6. Improving details with the Graduated filter
      7m 35s
    7. Creating custom presets
      6m 2s
    8. Sharing and installing presets
      3m 42s
  4. 40m 40s
    1. Camera Raw sharpening workflow: First steps
      3m 28s
    2. Understanding how the Camera Raw Detail controls work
      5m 46s
    3. Reducing luminance and color noise
      4m 40s
    4. Improving details in a portrait
      7m 28s
    5. Improving details in an outdoor photograph
      6m 6s
    6. Sharpening in order to emphasize small textures
      3m 48s
    7. Improving sky details and edge sharpening
      9m 24s
  5. 53m 40s
    1. Selective sharpening with the Adjustment Brush
      7m 16s
    2. Working with the Auto Mask option in the Adjustment Brush
      5m 6s
    3. Learning Adjustment Brush shortcuts
      8m 30s
    4. Reviewing Adjustment Brush techniques and shortcuts
      5m 45s
    5. Sharpening eyes in a portrait
      5m 15s
    6. Sharpening large areas with the Radial filter
      7m 4s
    7. Improving details with the Graduated filter
      4m 34s
    8. Further refinements with the Graduated filter
      4m 30s
    9. Creating custom presets
      5m 40s
  6. 49m 5s
    1. Resizing before you sharpen
      4m 37s
    2. Using Unsharp Mask
      8m 21s
    3. Using Smart Sharpen
      6m 5s
    4. Demonstrating how Smart Sharpen works
      4m 23s
    5. Fine-tuning Smart Sharpen with advanced controls
      5m 39s
    6. Applying blending modes to avoid color problems
      5m 9s
    7. Putting it all together: Workflow part one
      5m 57s
    8. Putting it all together: Workflow part two
      6m 42s
    9. A conversation about sharpening controls
      2m 12s
  7. 49m 34s
    1. Applying Camera Raw sharpening as a filter
      4m 41s
    2. Using smart filtering for increased flexibility
      5m 50s
    3. Smart filtering and masking
      4m 54s
    4. Selective sharpening with a hand-painted mask
      6m 0s
    5. Selective sharpening: Advanced shortcut tips
      6m 31s
    6. Using Quick Select and masking to sharpen selectively
      8m 20s
    7. How to sharpen a layered document
      3m 41s
    8. Fixing a blurry photograph with Shake Reduction
      4m 40s
    9. Shake Reduction: Advanced controls
      4m 57s
  8. 32m 47s
    1. High-pass sharpening essentials
      5m 55s
    2. Smart filter high-pass sharpening
      4m 2s
    3. Smart filter high-pass sharpening continued
      5m 50s
    4. Edge sharpening: Building an alpha channel
      4m 52s
    5. Edge sharpening: Creating the mask
      5m 3s
    6. Using Smart Sharpen in an unlikely way for midtone contrast
      7m 5s
  9. 10m 59s
    1. Recording a sharpening action
      6m 11s
    2. Playing the action for a single file
      2m 18s
    3. Batch sharpening multiple files
      2m 30s
  10. 28m 48s
    1. Sharpening and saving from Camera Raw
      6m 51s
    2. Sharpening and exporting from Camera Raw
      3m 44s
    3. Output sharpening from Lightroom
      5m 26s
    4. Final output sharpening from Photoshop for print
      7m 17s
    5. Photoshop sharpening for web, mobile, and displays
      5m 30s
  11. 31s
    1. Next steps

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CC for Photographers: Sharpening
6h 9m Intermediate Feb 03, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Since the beginning of the photographic art form, photographers have been searching for clearer and sharper images. Now, you don't have to settle for what was captured in camera; you can perfect your photos in post-production. In this course, Chris Orwig tackles sharpening in three programs: Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom, and Photoshop. They all have their strengths, so he shows you how to get the best results from specific sharpening challenges with each one. Chris shows you how to reduce noise and sharpen with sliders and make selective adjustments to certain areas of raw images. In Photoshop, he uses powerful filters like Unsharp Mask and Smart Sharpen to sharpen larger areas of pictures, and masking to paint in sharpening. Last, he shares two advanced techniques, one using high pass sharpening and another that limits sharpening to the edges of your images.

Topics include:
  • Reducing luminance and color noise
  • Improving details in portraits and landscapes
  • Selective sharpening with the Adjustment Brush
  • Sharpening with filters
  • Creating sharpening presets
  • Using blending modes to avoid color problems when sharpening
  • Smart filtering and masking
  • Edge sharpening
  • Batch sharpening
Photoshop Lightroom Camera Raw
Chris Orwig

Learning Adjustment Brush shortcuts

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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