Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
When you need more control than the Graduated filter and the Radial filter, it's time to master the Adjustment Brush in Camera Raw. Now the Adjustment Brush is one of my favorite tools because it let's you quickly make changes that can make a huge impact to your image. So let's start with the horse image and open it up in Camera Raw using Cmd + R or Ctrl + R on Windows. And I just want to make sure that you know that you definitely want to spend the time going through all of these panels here, making the overall corrections before you decide to go in and make your local corrections. So I'll go ahead and click auto and then I'm just going to bring down the highlights a little bit in this image.
And with that let's say that we've made all of the global adjustments that we want to. We're now going to switch over to the local adjustments. So whether you're using the radio filter, the graduated filter or the adjustment brush, these are all considered local adjustments. So I'll select the adjustment brush. We could've also tapped the K key in order to select that tool. You'll notice that we have the exact same options as the graduated filter as well as the radial filter. But if we scroll down we have some additional options for size, feather, flow, and density, which all affect the brush itself.
As you can see, when I position my cursor anywhere in the preview area, the brush actually has two circles here. We've got this inner circle, which is solid, and we have that outer circle, which is the dashed line. So, any area that I paint on within that solid inner circle was going to be affected at 100%. Then, between the solid circle and the dotted circle, the brush effects are going to fade out. And when you reach that dotted line on the outside, you'll notice that there are no effects being applied beyond that area of the brush.
In order to quickly resize the brush, of course, you can use the size option here, but we can also use a keyboard shortcut. And that is you can use the right bracket in order to enlarge the brush, and you can use the left bracket to get a smaller brush. If you hold down the Shift key and you use the left bracket you'll notice that I'm changing the Feather slider. So this would be a more hard edge brush. It doesn't have the same distance so the fade range is much quicker. So you're going to be able to see the difference between the area that was painted and the area that wasn't painted much more easily.
So I'm going to go ahead an hold down the Shift key again and use the right bracket in order to increase the feather amount. We also have a flow amount. I'm going to push the flow amount up to a 100%. And I'm going to load this brush for a moment with a significant decrease in exposure, just because I want to show you the difference between the flow amount when I've got it set at a 100. You can see when I start painting, it paints very quickly and it builds up to a 100%. If I put the flow amount down, now when I paint, you can see that it's only making a small change. I'd have to paint again, and again, and again in order to build up a change. And that's really a good thing.
When you lower the flow of the brush. It enables you to kind of paint in your dodging and burning very accurately. And because I'm using a big soft brush, it's not going to be very noticeable where I've made those changes. You might have also noticed that all of these strokes everything that I've done so far, are all controlled by this one pin. And when I hover my cursor on top of the pin, it will actually show me the mask that I have painted. Alright, we'll take another look at that in a minute. For now I'm going to tap the Delete key and that will delete the pen as well as the changes that I've made.
Now in order to zooming to 100% I'm going to hold down the Command option and tap the 0 key, and I happen to zoom in right to the horse's eye, but if you didn't you can hold down the Spacebar, which will temporarily give you the Hand tool, and then you can pan around until you see the horse's eye. Now, I'm going to need a smaller brush, so I'll use the left Bracket key to decrease the size of the brush. And I want to change the attributes that I've given the brush. In this case, I actually want to lighten the eye, so I'll move the exposure over to the right.
Again, I'm just taking a guess at what the exposure will be. Of course, we can always modify that later. So now I will click and drag around the horses eye. And if we scroll back down here, you can see that because my flow, was very low it just made a small effect. If I'd increased the flow then it would have made a much bolder change. Let me show you the difference. I'll go ahead and increase the flow to 100%. I'll go ahead and paint that again. You can see, I'm painting over the original mask now at 100%. So, now we're really seeing a difference.
If I want to see the before and after I can tap the P key. So, there's before and there's after. Now, I think this is too large of a difference. So, we'll scroll right up and with the pin still selected, I'm just going to decrease the exposure amount. I'm also going to increase the amount of contrast there. I might increase the highlights a little bit. And, if I want to just warm up the eye a little bit, it'll actually give a little bit more life to the horse, it'll make the horse look a little bit healthier. I can go ahead and click on my color swatch.
Move the Color Picker out of the way and then just load up a little bit of kind of a brownish tint here in my brush. Alright. So again, I'll tap the P key for before and after. Now let's zoom out using Cmd+0. And let's just go ahead and toggle that again, the P key, before and after. Now at this view, I think that we've actually increased the brightness of the eye a little bit too much. And again we can always come back and change that. I'll take down the exposure a little, maybe take down the contrast a bit.
Take down the highlights. Tap the P key again. On and off. All right. So, we're happy with that change. Now, I also want to darken down this area, right here. And in order to do that, I'm not only going to use a little bit of a decrease in exposure, I'm also going to increase the clarity setting. But, I don't want to paint right now. Because, if I paint right now, I would just be adding to the pin that's all ready selected. So instead, I'll click on the New option and then will preload this brush. A little bit of a decrease in exposure, we'll reset the contrast by double-clicking on it, reset the highlights, and then increase the Clarity slider.
Now if I just paint a single stroke right now, it's going to be too heavy, and not only that I'm going to be able to see where I've painted beyond the horse's hair. So let me undo that using Command+Z, and then, we'll scroll down and this is a great time to reduce the flow, so that I have to paint multiple times in order to build up this effect. Then I'll use Cmd + Plus in order to zoom in to the horse hair area here. Hold the Spacebar in order to access the Hand tool and reposition it, and I'll use the right bracket key just to get a little bit bigger of a brush. And then I can just start painting in this area right here in order to not only darken down the hair, but because I have added clarity, it's also adding a little bit of contrast.
So I'm just painting with small strokes multiple times in order to build up this effect. Now I can kind of see that I've gone a little bit too far in the sky area here. So there are two ways to erase. I can either select the Erase option here in the Adjustment Brush or I can just hold down the Option key or the Alt key that toggles to the Eraser. And then, I can erase out of my image area but you want to make sure that you notice when you toggle back and forth from your paintbrush to your eraser by holding down the Option key or the Alt key on Windows, your brush attributes might change.
Because these Brush attributes are independent. So if I want to erase, in which case I'm holding on the Option or the Alt key, we can see the erase is highlighted here. I actually want a soft-edge brush, so I'm going to increase the Feather, and I want to be able to slowly erase away the information, so I'll decrease the Flow. And now I'm just going to paint here a couple of times in order to make sure that we don't have a change in the sky area just because I changed the horse's hair. All right, so now I'll tap the P key. The P key shows before and after in the Preview.
One thing to mention, I'm not sure if I made it clear, the whole time that I was painting those multiple strokes because I didn't actually physically toggle over and grab the Eraser tool by clicking on this button, I actually had to hold down the Option or the Alt key the entire time I was making all of those keystrokes. Just want you to know that in case you let go, then obviously it switched back to the Painting tool and you would be painting in more of the effect. At any point in time, of course, if I decide that I need to go back to a different pin, I can always just target that pin by clicking on it here in the image area. Again, because I have my cursor on top of the pin, we're actually viewing the mask right there.
If I move my cursor away from the pin, then that mask will hide. If I wanted to see the mask all the time, like as I was painting, you can choose to show the mask by turning it on here and to the right there's a color swatch. So if I wanted to change this to a different color, I could select a color from the color picker. Now I don't want to change my overlay, so I'm going to click on cancel here, but you should just know that, that is possible. Alright, one final change that I'm going to make after I turn off this show mask. I'm going to navigate down to the horse's mouth area, and I'm going to make sure that I set all of my settings back to their default.
I just want to make sure that I increase my shadow area so I'll click on the plus icon that reset all of my other pins. It also reset my color swatch down here. I'm not sure if that'll be enough, so let's increase the shadows even more. And because I'm going to increase the shadows and also increase the clarity right here in this area I want to make sure that I'm also doing a little noise reduction, but we'll take a look at that in a second. First, I want to come down and make sure that I have a nice, soft feather edge.
My flow is set down, and then I'll just start painting here in the horses mouth area, in the muzzle, come up here in kind of these darker areas. And what I'm trying to do is I'm trying to lighten the shadow areas but also add a little bit of contrast. So again, tap the P key before and after. Now because I made such a drastic change there, you might also want to go in and change my noise reduction. So, let's use Cmd + Option + 0 to zoom in to 100% so we can see this. You see all that color noise in there. I'll use the slider right here. You can see that as I move it to the right, we're actually going to be removing some of the noise here.
So it's called the Noise Reduction Slider and you're increasing the amount of noise reduction as you move it over to the right. I don't want it to get that soft, so let's just pull back a little bit on that. Tap the p key to preview before and after. And then use command 0 in order to zoom out 100%. We can tap the v key to hide the interface. And then again the p key before and after to show us all the changes that we've made with the adjustment brush If I put the brush back by tapping the K key again then again I can scoot over to my Presets panel and this time when I tap P, you'll notice that I'm previewing not only the selective adjustments, but also the global adjustments. And just like that, I've made this image more interesting by making some simple local edits using the adjustment brush.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
180 Video lessons · 70215 Viewers
64 Video lessons · 92042 Viewers
86 Video lessons · 60290 Viewers
103 Video lessons · 28942 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.