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Making local adjustments with the Adjustments Brush


Photoshop CS6 Essential Training

with Julieanne Kost

Video: Making local adjustments with the Adjustments Brush

When you need more control than a Graduated Filter, it's time to master the Adjustment Brush in Camera Raw. Now this is one my favorite tools because it lets you quickly make changes that can make a huge impact on your image. Before we start making our local adjustments, I want to make a few global adjustments. I am just going to increase the Exposure a little bit here and maybe add a little bit of Contrast as well as Clarity. So here we are making changes that affect the entire image, but now I really want to focus in on some specific areas and change those locally with the Adjustment Brush.
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  1. 1m 42s
    1. What is Photoshop?
      1m 42s
  2. 1m 11s
    1. Welcome
      1m 11s
  3. 32m 16s
    1. What is Adobe Bridge?
      2m 49s
    2. Getting photos from a camera
      4m 27s
    3. A tour of workspaces in Bridge
      5m 32s
    4. Customizing how thumbnails are displayed
      3m 44s
    5. Changing file names and batch renaming
      2m 58s
    6. Adding basic metadata with metadata templates
      5m 10s
    7. Creating and applying keywords to images
      4m 59s
    8. Viewing images in Full Screen Preview mode
      2m 37s
  4. 27m 1s
    1. Using Review mode to filter out rejected images
      4m 18s
    2. Saving images in collections
      4m 23s
    3. Rating and labeling images
      3m 46s
    4. Using the Filter panel to view different subsets
      4m 16s
    5. Using smart collections
      4m 18s
    6. Viewing final selects in a slideshow
      2m 21s
    7. Organizing groups of images into stacks
      3m 39s
  5. 32m 9s
    1. Comparing RAW and JPEG files
      6m 10s
    2. Starting in Camera Raw instead of Photoshop
      3m 12s
    3. Touring the Camera Raw interface
      9m 14s
    4. Previewing before and after adjustments
      3m 58s
    5. Toggling onscreen shadow and highlight clipping warnings
      3m 11s
    6. Choosing output settings
      3m 36s
    7. Saving a copy without going to Photoshop
      2m 48s
  6. 38m 37s
    1. Using the nondestructive Crop tool
      4m 42s
    2. Correcting a horizon line with the Straighten tool
      2m 41s
    3. Fixing color casts with the White Balance tool
      3m 50s
    4. Fixing blown-out highlights
      2m 56s
    5. Revealing hidden shadow details
      3m 7s
    6. Correcting lens distortion
      3m 25s
    7. Making perspective corrections to images
      2m 40s
    8. Removing color fringing and chromatic aberrations
      2m 28s
    9. Sharpening the details
      7m 45s
    10. Making an average photo great
      5m 3s
  7. 50m 52s
    1. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      6m 57s
    2. Making local adjustments with the Adjustments Brush
      10m 19s
    3. Retouching blemishes with the Spot Removal tool
      3m 41s
    4. Exploring a quick portrait retouching technique using Clarity
      4m 31s
    5. Converting to black and white
      2m 36s
    6. Editing images directly with the Targeted Adjustment tool
      3m 21s
    7. Creating selective color effects with the Adjustment Brush
      6m 5s
    8. Using sepia and split-tone effects
      3m 33s
    9. Adding digital film grain texture effects
      2m 10s
    10. Adding vignettes and border effects
      3m 59s
    11. Saving variations within a single file with the Snapshot command
      3m 40s
  8. 15m 13s
    1. Copying and pasting settings across files
      2m 4s
    2. Processing multiple files in Camera Raw
      3m 22s
    3. Saving and using the library of Camera Raw presets
      6m 48s
    4. Using Image Processor to batch process files
      2m 59s
  9. 30m 24s
    1. Opening files from Bridge
      2m 7s
    2. Opening files from Mini Bridge
      2m 51s
    3. Customizing the Mini Bridge panel
      3m 59s
    4. Using the Application frame
      3m 34s
    5. Managing panels
      5m 14s
    6. Switching and saving workspaces
      4m 39s
    7. Switching tools using the keyboard
      2m 47s
    8. Customizing the keyboard shortcuts
      5m 13s
  10. 10m 25s
    1. Working with tabbed documents
      1m 34s
    2. Arranging documents
      1m 52s
    3. Stopping Photoshop from tabbing documents
      1m 32s
    4. Panning and zooming
      3m 14s
    5. Cycling through different screen modes
      2m 13s
  11. 15m 44s
    1. Understanding file formats
      4m 36s
    2. Choosing the resolution you need
      4m 39s
    3. Understanding Resize vs. Resample
      4m 11s
    4. Working with print sizes and resolution
      2m 18s
  12. 32m 54s
    1. Using Undo and the History panel
      3m 7s
    2. Using crop options
      3m 55s
    3. Understanding Hide vs. Delete for the Crop tool
      1m 46s
    4. Bringing back hidden pixels with Reveal All
    5. Making the canvas bigger with the Crop tool
      3m 31s
    6. Making the canvas bigger using the Relative option in the Canvas Size command
      2m 18s
    7. Using the Perspective Crop tool
      1m 27s
    8. Straightening a crooked image
      2m 29s
    9. Scaling, skewing, and rotating with Free Transform
      5m 46s
    10. Making nondestructive transformations with Smart Objects
      2m 34s
    11. Warping images
      2m 48s
    12. Preserving important elements with Content-Aware Scale
      2m 33s
  13. 30m 41s
    1. Exploring layer basics
      11m 16s
    2. Loading, selecting, and transforming layers
      8m 4s
    3. Organizing layers using layer groups
      5m 3s
    4. Merging, rasterizing, and flattening layers
      6m 18s
  14. 43m 11s
    1. Using the Marquee and Lasso tools
      5m 43s
    2. Combining selections
      4m 4s
    3. Converting a selection into a layer mask
      5m 29s
    4. Using the Quick Selection tool
      4m 35s
    5. Selecting soft-edged objects using Refine Edge
      9m 42s
    6. Touching up a layer mask with the Brush tool
      7m 22s
    7. Changing the opacity, size, and hardness of the painting tools
      3m 17s
    8. Blending images with a gradient layer mask
      2m 59s
  15. 34m 36s
    1. Introducing adjustment layers
      3m 47s
    2. Starting with a preset
      2m 18s
    3. Improving tonal quality with Levels
      5m 31s
    4. Increasing midtone contrast with Curves
      6m 44s
    5. Removing a color cast with Auto Color
      2m 30s
    6. Changing the color temperature with Photo Filter
      2m 29s
    7. Shifting colors with Hue/Saturation
      4m 41s
    8. Making washed-out colors pop with Vibrance
      2m 48s
    9. Converting color to black and white
      1m 47s
    10. Controlling which layers are affected by an adjustment layer
      2m 1s
  16. 19m 33s
    1. Adjusting shadows and highlights
      5m 44s
    2. Replacing color using Selective Color
      3m 49s
    3. Using fill layers to create a hand-painted look
      6m 5s
    4. Using a gradient fill layer to add a color wash
      3m 55s
  17. 52m 9s
    1. Removing blemishes with the Spot Healing Brush and the Patch tool
      12m 42s
    2. De-emphasizing wrinkles with the Healing Brush
      4m 52s
    3. Smoothing skin and pores with the High Pass filter
      6m 19s
    4. Making teeth bright and white with a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
      3m 21s
    5. Brightening eyes with Curves
      7m 0s
    6. Taming flyaway hair with the Patch tool
      3m 44s
    7. Removing unwanted details with Content-Aware Fill
      5m 49s
    8. Body sculpting with Liquify
      8m 22s
  18. 24m 12s
    1. Creating panoramas with Photomerge and Auto-Blend
      4m 48s
    2. Combining multiple frames in an action sequence
      8m 44s
    3. Swapping heads in a family portrait
      10m 40s
  19. 38m 26s
    1. Overview of filters
      2m 52s
    2. Applying filters nondestructively using Smart Filters
      5m 18s
    3. Creating a soft glow with the Gaussian Blur filter
      3m 35s
    4. Creating an infrared look with Diffuse Glow
      2m 14s
    5. Adding noise with the Add Noise filter
      6m 27s
    6. Sharpening an image with Unsharp Mask
      5m 11s
    7. Giving an image texture with the Texturizer filter
      1m 49s
    8. Using the Field, Iris, and Tilt-Shift Blurs
      6m 1s
    9. Creating a painting with the Oil Paint filter
      1m 34s
    10. Applying a filter to multiple layers
      3m 25s
  20. 22m 17s
    1. Cycling through the blending modes
      6m 42s
    2. Adding a lens flare effect with Screen
      2m 41s
    3. Scanning or photographing paper to add a deckled edge
      3m 1s
    4. Making a cast shadow more realistic with Multiply
      5m 21s
    5. Sharpening an image with High Pass and Overlay
      2m 26s
    6. Adding a realistic off-center vignette
      2m 6s
  21. 20m 11s
    1. Exploring character (point) type
      7m 7s
    2. Adding paragraph (area) type
      3m 39s
    3. Adding type on a path
      4m 44s
    4. Clipping an image inside type
      3m 3s
    5. Warping type
      1m 38s
  22. 15m 58s
    1. Adding a drop shadow effect
      6m 15s
    2. Adding edges, textures, and color overlays using layer styles
      4m 27s
    3. Creating a transparent logo or watermark
      2m 43s
    4. Knowing how and when to scale layer effects
      2m 33s
  23. 15m 45s
    1. Creating contact sheets
      2m 49s
    2. Using the Output workspace in Bridge
      5m 32s
    3. Exporting web photo galleries
      4m 20s
    4. Saving for the web
      3m 4s
  24. 23m 38s
    1. Working with video clips
      9m 29s
    2. Adding special effects to video
      5m 45s
    3. Adding pans and zooms to still images
      8m 24s
  25. 1m 10s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 10s

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CS6 Essential Training
10h 30m Beginner Apr 26, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Photoshop CS6 Essential Training, Julieanne Kost demonstrates how to produce high-quality images in a short amount of time, using a combination of Adobe Photoshop CS6, Bridge, and Camera Raw.

The course details the Photoshop features and creative options, and shows efficient ways to perform common editing tasks, including noise reduction, shadow and highlight detail recovery, retouching, and combining multiple images. Along the way, the course explores techniques for nondestructive editing and compositing using layers, blending modes, layer masks, and much more.

Topics include:
  • Organizing images in Bridge
  • Adding metadata such as copyrights and keywords
  • Editing in Camera Raw versus in Photoshop
  • Retouching in Camera Raw
  • Batch processing files
  • Customizing the Photoshop workspaces
  • Choosing a file format and resolution
  • Cropping, scaling, and rotating images
  • Working with layers, including merging and flattening layers
  • Creating selections and layer masks
  • Toning and changing the color of images
  • Adjusting shadows and highlights
  • Retouching and cloning
  • Creating panoramas from multiple images
  • Adding filters and sharpening
  • Working with blend modes
  • Adding type
  • Working with video in Photoshop CS6
Julieanne Kost

Making local adjustments with the Adjustments Brush

When you need more control than a Graduated Filter, it's time to master the Adjustment Brush in Camera Raw. Now this is one my favorite tools because it lets you quickly make changes that can make a huge impact on your image. Before we start making our local adjustments, I want to make a few global adjustments. I am just going to increase the Exposure a little bit here and maybe add a little bit of Contrast as well as Clarity. So here we are making changes that affect the entire image, but now I really want to focus in on some specific areas and change those locally with the Adjustment Brush.

So we can select the brush up here in the tools or we can tap the K key in order to get the Adjustment Brush. And if you've followed it along with the last tutorial on the Graduated Filter, you'll notice that as soon as we selected this local editing tool, we get all sorts of options to load the tool with. In fact, they are the same options for both tools. I can change Temperature and Tint, we can change Exposure and Contrast, Highlights and Shadows, add or subtract Clarity or Saturation, and even selectively paint in Sharpness, Noise Reduction, Moire Reduction, and even Color Tint.

Now there are a few additional tools. Because this is a paintbrush, we need to be able to control the size of the brush, the feather, the flow, and the density. So the size of the brush, we could keep going back and forth, seeing the size of the brush over the image and then coming back to the slider. But there is a few key shortcuts that will really help. The first is the right bracket and the left bracket. So the right bracket makes your brush larger and the left bracket makes your brush smaller. You'll notice that there's two circles in the brush.

The inner circle, the solid black circle, any area inside there will be completely affected by whatever we load into the brush. Then in the area between the two circles, that's the area that is slowly going to fade so that you won't see like a straight line or a harsh difference between what's been adjusted and what hasn't. If I want to change that fade range, that would be done using the Feather slider. Or we can use a keyboard shortcut for that as well, and that's just adding the Shift key to the left bracket or the right bracket in order to make a harder edged brush or a softer edged brush, one that has a feather on it.

All right, let's go ahead and load this up with something dramatic. I am going to go ahead and put a -4 exposure, just to show you the difference of these two brushes. So if I click and paint right now, you can see that's a very soft-edge brush. If I use the Shift key with the minus bracket and get a hard-edge brush, we'll see the difference. So you can see how the soft-edge brush, the one with the feather, is going to be much more subtle, and it's going to enable us to get a nice transition between what's affected and what's not affected.

When I first started painting with the Adjustment Brush, Camera Raw laid down a pin, and you'll notice that when I hover on top of that pin, I can see a mask, basically the areas that I've painted. If I don't want this pin, I can simply tap the Delete key in order to delete it. I don't want my Exposure set all the way down to -4. In fact, what I want to do is I want to brighten the horse's eye a little bit. So I am going to set my Exposure to maybe plus a half stop or so.

And then I want to zoom in. I am going to hold down the Spacebar and the Command key--that'll be the Ctrl key on Windows--and click and drag over the eye area to zoom to that eye area. I want a smaller brush, So I use the left bracket key. And I do want a feather on this brush, so let's see what that set to. It's set to 0 right now. Let's go ahead and bring that up to 100. And I will still need even a smaller brush. You'll notice as the brush gets really small, it's hard to see the feather, because there is just not enough room to draw that as an icon.

So sometimes you will have to check the Feather slider. And if the brush gets really small then it's just going to change to the crosshairs. But I'll go ahead and paint right here in the eye area in order to lighten that. When I let go, we'll see the pin. If I position my cursor on top of it, we'll see the mask overlay. So that's the area that's going to be affected, and now we can zoom out. I'll use Command+0, Ctrl+0 on Windows, to zoom back to fit in window, and then tap the P key to toggle on and off the change that I have just made.

I can also turn on and off the pins by clicking on the option at the bottom of the Adjustment Brush panel area. If I think that the adjustment that I've made is too much, we can go in and modify that. We'll scroll up to the top here. I could change the exposure, either increasing it or decreasing it. I could add some contrast if I wanted to. I could even scroll down, click on the color swatch, and let's make this a little bit warmer tone.

I am just going to add a little bit of orange in order to make that kind of a browner tone there. And when you add color to an eye, if you add a brownish tone, it actually can help make the person, or in this case the horse, a little bit healthier looking. So I think that's a little bit too much, but we'll just drag that down and click OK. Again, I can show or hide the pin and tap the P key to turn the preview on and off. So you can see, it's a very subtle change, but it does make a big difference by allowing us to see into the horse's eye and kind of feel more of a connection with the horse.

If I wanted to add a secondary adjustment-- let's go ahead and show that pin again-- before I start changing or loading the pin with different adjustments, I'll want to make sure that I click the New button; otherwise, I would just be changing the adjustments that were applied to this pin. So we'll click New, and this time I want to just darken down this area of the hair a little bit. Let's add some contrast and again, if I want to reset all of the adjustments at one time and just add a different adjustment then instead of double-clicking on all the sliders, I'll just click on the Plus icon over here.

So now I have a +25 contrast. That might not be enough. Let's go ahead and lift that a little bit more. I also want to take down my highlights in this area because I know that probably this range of hair is going to fall in this highlight areas, and that's what I'm trying to darken down. And I want to add some Clarity or some midtone contrast in those areas. I'm really just guessing at this point as to what to set the tools to. As soon as I start painting, I'll actually get a better idea.

So, when we painted the eye, I did it in one fell stroke, but sometimes it's better to build up the adjustment. In order to do that, I am going to turn down the Flow. So now it's going to take me multiple paintstrokes over an area to reach like 100% of all of these changes that I've made. So that just gives me a bit more of an opportunity to slowly build up a change, as opposed to applying it all at once. So let's start painting in the hair area, and you can see that it's making a change, but it's not making as drastic of a change because I've got that Flow set down.

So that enables me to paint over different areas multiple times and slowly build up that adjustment. Now if that adjustment isn't quite enough, then we can return back to all of our settings here. I could maybe take down the Exposure a little. That's probably going to be too much. So I'll leave that set up. Maybe just add a little bit more contrast before I take down the Exposure and as I do that, you can see that I'm regaining detail in that area. To toggle off the pins, we can use the little check mark and then tap the P key in order to see a preview.

Now it looks like I have painted a little bit too much into the sky area here, so then I want to switch, instead of adding every time I paint, I actually want to erase. When we scroll down, the Eraser tool and the Add tool are two separate tools, so they can have their own settings. You have to be a little bit careful when you switch back and forth between painting versus erasing because you might not realize, for example, that you've got a harder edge brush, or your Flow might be set differently for the two tools.

So I definitely want to add a huge feather, get a nice soft brush, and bring my Flow down so that I can just paint in little strokes here to kind of blend that area, that sky area, so that we don't see that I have actually painted in an adjustment there. And now toggling on and off the preview with the P key, you can see that I've got it a lot more exact without changing the sky but only bringing down the highlights in the mane. Finally, I'm going to make one more adjustment, so I'll click the New button. And in this adjustment I want to add a little bit of clarity, so to reset everything at one time but just apply the clarity, we'll click on the Plus icon here.

Then I'll move down to the mouth area and use the right bracket to get a little bit larger of a brush here. It's got a nice feather on it. I can see that. And I am just going to paint over the mouth area. It's just going to add a little bit of definition, because I really, really like those lines there and I want to accentuate them. Tap the P key one more time to show a little before and after. You can see how I've kind of added a little bit of contrast by using that Clarity slider down at the horse's muzzle.

It's as easy as that. We've made this image far more interesting, in my opinion, by making some simple local edits using Camera Raw's Adjustment Brush.

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