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Working with the Auto Mask option in the Adjustment Brush

From: Photoshop CC for Photographers: Sharpening

Video: Working with the Auto Mask option in the Adjustment Brush

In the previous movie we talked about how we can use the

Working with the Auto Mask option in the Adjustment Brush

In the previous movie we talked about how we can use the adjustment brush in order to selectively sharpen specific areas of our photograph and we looked at how we can use this technique in order to improve the details that we have in the face area of the photograph. In this movie I want to focus in on another area and highlight a few other helpful techniques when working with this tool. We're going to focus in on this beautiful painting which she has created. So lets zoom in on that area of the image. Press Cmd+on a MAC a few times or Ctrl+ on Windows.

Then what we need to do is to click on the New option in order to create a new adjustment. Now the adjustment that I want to add to this area is to sharpen it. We'll leave our sharpness and noise reduction settings right where they are. Then I also want to add a few other things as well. As long as we're doing some work in this area, why not add a bit of contrast. Maybe we'll add a bit of clarity and then some saturation as well. Just to add some visual interest to this part of the photograph. All right, well in order to paint the adjustment into this area, we have a unique situation.

We have a really hard, or defined edge. If I try to paint over that area, well my brush is obviously going to cover the painting but also the subject behind the painting. Unless, of course, we work with what's called auto mask. If you scroll down to the bottom area here, you can turn on Auto Mask and then to see how auto mask works, turn on Show Mask as well and choose a really bright or vivid color. Now, what this will do is when you position your cursor over this part of the image, if you click to Paint, you'll notice that it will make an adjustment but then the adjustment will stop at the edge of the painting. Well, how in the world is this happening? Well what this tool does is it favors the crosshairs in the center of our brush.

Let me make the brush a little bit bigger here so we can see this even more dramatically. It favors the content underneath the crosshairs. Then it extends out to where the circle reaches, obviously, and it seeks to apply the adjustment and then try to stop it where there's some sort of difference. And if we work with a brush which is too big, sometimes it gets a little bit carried away and spills over into those areas. We'll talk about how we can clean those up. Yet nonetheless we can start to see how this helps us out immensely. How I can quickly go along these edges.

And this is primarily limiting my adjustment to the painting, and not affecting the subject as much as well. You know, as you start to make adjustments like this, what you may need to do is to turn auto mask off as you start to get to the inner area that you want to adjust, like this area here. Lets turn this off, and lets just paint freely now over this area because it won't limit the adjustment and really pay attention to the crosshairs. It's just going to paint this in wherever the brush is and whatever the brush size is.

So I can now move and work a little bit more quickly. Well what about a situation like down below, where it spilled over into this part of the picture? If we need to erase from that area, we can click on the Erase button. And with the Erase brush here, we can turn on Auto Mask as well. So that as we erase, we're only erasing up to that edge. We aren't erasing the entire size of the brush. Rather, we're erasing a little bit more intelligently and protecting the area on the inside which is being affected.

So, with a few simple full adjustments, we're able to make some really important corrections here. And again, I'm just going to fix this top part as well. And I think this looks really good. Next what we need to do of course, is to turn off this hideous Show Mask overlay. And it was helpful, but now it's distracting. So let's turn off the visibility of that. And let's take a look at how we've improved the photograph. If we click on the Preview check box, we can see here's the before, and then click again, here's the after. Perhaps we want to sharpen that even more, or maybe we want to add some more contrast to this and darken those highlights a little bit, add even more clarity and color saturation.

Again, just to add a little bit bit of snap to that part of the photograph. And as we've talked about before, when you evaluate something up close, you also want to zoom out. You'll press Cmd- a few times in order to zoom out and see the whole picture. And you want to click on the Preview checkbox, and make sure that your adjustments look good in the overall context of the photograph. And in this case, I think we've done a great job. Yet again, more importantly, we looked at how we can take advantage of that little hidden feature at the base of this dialogue, which is Auto Mask, which is really helpful when you're seeking to paint in this adjustment into a defined area.

And as we saw in this image it worked well with the painting, and we also saw that sometimes it's best to have this off, like when we painted in our adjustment to the face where we simply wanted a softer or smoother, a more natural transition. So now we know the best of both worlds, how we can use this tool in order to start to selectively sharpen and improve different details in our photographs.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CC for Photographers: Sharpening
Photoshop CC for Photographers: Sharpening

67 video lessons · 4221 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 5m 59s
    1. Welcome
      1m 23s
    2. Raw sharpening in Lightroom or Camera Raw?
      3m 56s
    3. Using the exercise files
      40s
  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
      31s

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