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Making local adjustments with the Adjustment Brush

From: Photoshop CC Essential Training

Video: Making local adjustments with the Adjustment Brush

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.

Making local adjustments with the Adjustment Brush

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.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CC Essential Training
Photoshop CC Essential Training

164 video lessons · 56076 viewers

Julieanne Kost

Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 42s
    1. What is Photoshop?
      1m 42s
  2. 4m 18s
    1. Welcome
      1m 4s
    2. Using the exercise files
    3. Installing Adobe Bridge
      1m 23s
    4. What's new
      1m 26s
  3. 40m 58s
    1. What is Adobe Bridge?
      3m 3s
    2. Getting photos from a camera
      6m 0s
    3. A tour of workspaces in Bridge
      8m 30s
    4. Customizing how thumbnails are displayed
      4m 42s
    5. Changing file names and batch renaming
      4m 39s
    6. Adding basic metadata with metadata templates
      4m 46s
    7. Creating and applying keywords to images
      7m 1s
    8. Viewing images in Full Screen Preview mode
      2m 17s
  4. 27m 23s
    1. Using Review mode to filter out rejected images
      5m 32s
    2. Saving images in collections
      3m 52s
    3. Rating and labeling images
      4m 31s
    4. Using the Filter panel to view different subsets
      3m 7s
    5. Using smart collections
      3m 39s
    6. Viewing final selects in a slideshow
      2m 50s
    7. Organizing groups of images into stacks
      3m 52s
  5. 29m 57s
    1. Comparing raw and JPEG files
      5m 5s
    2. Starting in Camera Raw instead of Photoshop
      4m 1s
    3. Touring the Camera Raw user interface
      5m 29s
    4. Previewing before and after adjustments
      3m 18s
    5. Toggling onscreen Shadow/Highlight clipping warnings
      4m 44s
    6. Choosing output settings
      3m 34s
    7. Saving a copy without going to Photoshop
      3m 46s
  6. 56m 7s
    1. Using the nondestructive Crop tool: Door and window with ramp
      3m 42s
    2. Correcting a tilted horizon line with the Straighten tool
      4m 12s
    3. Fixing color casts with the White Balance tool
      3m 52s
    4. Fixing blown-out highlights
      5m 42s
    5. Revealing hidden shadow detail
      4m 36s
    6. Reducing distracting color noise with Noise Reduction
      5m 55s
    7. Correcting lens distortion
      5m 17s
    8. Making perspective corrections to images
      5m 51s
    9. Removing chromatic aberration
      3m 32s
    10. Sharpening details
      7m 23s
    11. Making an average photo great
      6m 5s
  7. 1h 3m
    1. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      5m 39s
    2. Adding a radial gradient
      6m 35s
    3. Making local adjustments with the Adjustment Brush
      11m 19s
    4. Retouching blemishes with the Spot Removal tool
      4m 35s
    5. A quick portrait retouching technique using Clarity
      7m 49s
    6. Converting to black and white
      3m 17s
    7. Editing images directly with the Targeted Adjustment tool
      3m 56s
    8. Selective coloring effects with the Adjustment Brush
      5m 56s
    9. Easy sepia and split-tone effects
      4m 11s
    10. Adding digital film grain texture effects
      2m 27s
    11. Adding vignettes and border effects
      4m 24s
    12. Saving variations within a single file with the Snapshot command
      3m 27s
  8. 19m 16s
    1. Copying and pasting settings across files
      1m 52s
    2. Processing multiple files in Camera Raw
      4m 22s
    3. Saving and using a library of Camera Raw presets
      5m 47s
    4. Saving multiple files in Camera Raw
      3m 36s
    5. Using Image Processor to batch process multiple files
      3m 39s
  9. 27m 6s
    1. Opening files from Bridge
      3m 9s
    2. Customizing the interface in Photoshop
      5m 16s
    3. Managing panels
      5m 1s
    4. Switching and saving workspaces
      3m 45s
    5. Switching tools using the keyboard
      3m 21s
    6. Customizing the keyboard shortcuts
      6m 34s
  10. 22m 49s
    1. Working with tabbed documents
      2m 51s
    2. Arranging documents
      3m 37s
    3. Stopping Photoshop from tabbing documents
      2m 49s
    4. Panning, zooming, and using the Rotate View tool
      9m 51s
    5. Cycling through the different screen modes
      3m 41s
  11. 26m 19s
    1. Understanding file formats
      8m 26s
    2. Choosing the resolution you need
      5m 15s
    3. Understanding Resize vs. Resample
      9m 40s
    4. How big a print can you make with your image?
      2m 58s
  12. 59m 15s
    1. Using Undo and the History panel
      6m 40s
    2. Using crop options
      4m 20s
    3. Understanding Hide vs. Delete for the Crop tool
      3m 52s
    4. Cropping to the perfect print size
      3m 51s
    5. Making the canvas bigger with the Crop tool
      5m 2s
    6. Making the canvas bigger using the Canvas Size command
      4m 57s
    7. Straightening a crooked image
      4m 21s
    8. Removing keystoning from buildings
      2m 6s
    9. Using the Perspective Crop tool
      2m 4s
    10. Scaling, skewing, and rotating with Free Transform
      8m 29s
    11. Nondestructive transformations with Smart Objects
      3m 56s
    12. Warping images
      4m 48s
    13. Preserving important elements with Content-Aware Scale
      4m 49s
  13. 41m 55s
    1. Exploring layer basics
      13m 25s
    2. Loading, selecting, and transforming layers
      9m 28s
    3. Organizing layers into layer groups
      8m 47s
    4. Merging, rasterizing, and flattening layers
      10m 15s
  14. 1h 15m
    1. Using the Marquee and Lasso tools
      11m 41s
    2. Combining selections
      6m 40s
    3. Converting a selection into a layer mask
      7m 40s
    4. Using the Quick Selection tool and Refine Edge
      7m 12s
    5. Selecting soft-edged objects using Refine Edge
      9m 28s
    6. Touching up a layer mask with the Brush tool
      5m 42s
    7. Changing the opacity, size, and hardness of the painting tools
      9m 9s
    8. Blending images with a gradient layer mask
      4m 55s
    9. Combining multiple exposures with layer masks
      5m 5s
    10. Making selections with Color Range
      5m 17s
    11. Selecting with Focus Mask
      3m 10s
  15. 42m 5s
    1. Introducing adjustment layers
      3m 29s
    2. Starting with a preset
      2m 36s
    3. Improving tonal quality with Levels
      7m 32s
    4. Increasing midtone contrast with Curves
      5m 7s
    5. Removing a color cast with Auto Color
      2m 37s
    6. Changing the color temperature with Photo Filter
      1m 56s
    7. Shifting colors with Hue/Saturation
      5m 39s
    8. Making washed-out colors pop with Vibrance
      2m 7s
    9. Converting color to black and white
      3m 32s
    10. Creating traditional darkroom toning effects
      2m 51s
    11. Controlling which layers are affected by an adjustment layer
      3m 49s
    12. Three different ways to add an adjustment layer
  16. 24m 41s
    1. Adjusting shadows and highlights
      5m 49s
    2. Replacing color using Selective Color
      5m 39s
    3. Using fill layers to create a hand-painted look
      7m 18s
    4. Using a gradient fill layer to add a color wash
      5m 55s
  17. 40m 53s
    1. Removing blemishes with the Healing Brush and Patch tools
      10m 21s
    2. A quick technique for smoothing skin and pores
      3m 4s
    3. Making teeth bright and white
      2m 47s
    4. Brightening eyes, to make a person appear more alert
      6m 31s
    5. Taming flyaway hair
      4m 53s
    6. De-emphasizing wrinkles with the Healing Brush
      1m 53s
    7. Body sculpting with Liquify
      5m 6s
    8. Removing unwanted details with Content-Aware Fill
      6m 18s
  18. 22m 47s
    1. Creating panoramas with Photomerge and Auto-Blend
      5m 50s
    2. Combining multiple frames of an action sequence
      6m 21s
    3. Swapping heads in a family portrait
      4m 3s
    4. Working with bracketed exposures (HDR)
      6m 33s
  19. 1h 0m
    1. Overview of filters
      3m 3s
    2. Applying filters nondestructively with Smart Filters
      5m 56s
    3. Straightening images using the Adaptive Wide Angle filter
      5m 28s
    4. Creating a soft glow with the Gaussian Blur filter
      3m 23s
    5. Creating an infrared look with Diffuse Glow
      5m 4s
    6. Adding noise with the Add Noise filter
      7m 7s
    7. Sharpening an image with Unsharp Mask and Smart Sharpen
      7m 22s
    8. Giving an image texture with the Texturizer filter
      1m 53s
    9. Using the Field, Iris, and Tilt-Shift Blurs
      6m 9s
    10. Using the Spin and Path Blurs
      7m 38s
    11. Applying the Camera Raw filter
      2m 48s
    12. Applying a filter to multiple layers
      4m 11s
  20. 24m 3s
    1. Cycling through the blending modes
      5m 24s
    2. Scanning or photographing paper to add a deckled edge
      4m 55s
    3. Adding texture with blend modes
      1m 58s
    4. Making a cast shadow more realistic with Multiply
      5m 57s
    5. Sharpening an image with High Pass and Overlay
      2m 49s
    6. Adding a realistic off-center vignette
      3m 0s
  21. 35m 37s
    1. Exploring character (point) type
      11m 58s
    2. Adding paragraph (area) type
      4m 7s
    3. Adding type on a path
      7m 3s
    4. Clipping an image inside type
      3m 41s
    5. Warping type
      2m 36s
    6. Defining character and paragraph styles
      6m 12s
  22. 24m 13s
    1. Using the shape tools
      13m 45s
    2. Custom shape layers
      6m 15s
    3. Adding a keyline to an image
      4m 13s
  23. 24m 48s
    1. Adding a drop shadow effect
      8m 57s
    2. Adding edges, textures, and color overlays using styles
      5m 11s
    3. Creating a transparent logo or watermark
      4m 46s
    4. Knowing how and when to scale layer effects
      5m 54s
  24. 11m 43s
    1. Creating contact sheets
      4m 29s
    2. Creating PDF presentations
      3m 25s
    3. Saving for the web
      3m 49s
  25. 23m 9s
    1. Working with video clips
      12m 14s
    2. Adding special effects to video files
      5m 56s
    3. Adding pans and zooms to still images
      4m 59s
  26. 1m 4s
    1. Next steps
      1m 4s

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