Join Julieanne Kost for an in-depth discussion in this video Making selective enhancements using the Adjustment brush, part of Adobe Camera Raw Essential Training.
- [Instructor] The adjustment brush is one of my favorite tools because it lets you quickly make changes that can make a huge impact to your image. Now, before I start making my local adjustments, I want to make sure that I've made all of my global adjustments. So, with this image selected, I will click auto to auto tone and I also want to crop this image, so I'll tap the C key and my crop is set to a two by three aspect ratio, so I'll click and drag into the image, reposition it a little bit, and then tap enter or return to apply it.
Now, there are a number of different adjustments that I want to make. I want to separate the sheep a little bit, so I'm going to lighten this sheep in the foreground and then we're going to do some selective coloring, as well as sharpening. In order to do this, I will tap the K key, that will select my adjustment brush, and we can see that I have all the same options over here, as I had for the radial and graduated filters. I'm going set the exposure so that I can dodge that front sheep. So I'll set the exposure over to the right.
If you have other settings here, an easy way to zero them all out would be just to click on the plus icon, and then make your additional adjustment. Now before I start painting, let's look at the tool options. I've got size, feather, flow, and density. Now the size is the size of the tool. I can use the right bracket to increase the brush size or the left bracket to decrease the brush size. The feather or the fade of the brush, I can use the shift key plus the right bracket or left bracket in order to change that.
You'll notice that it changes the inside of the brush, so everything that's within the solid black line will be affected 100% and then it will fade off to the dotted or dashed black and white line. The flow is how quickly the paint or the adjustment is laid down. By default, this is set to 50, but I like to lower the flow so that I can paint multiple times and slowly build up the effect. I'd rather do it in a gradual way than be too heavy-handed with a single stroke.
So, I'll bring that back down to around 20. And then the density would allow me to cap the adjustments. So, if I knew that I didn't want to affect an area more than 50% of what the adjustment was set to, I could lower that, but for now I'll leave it up to 100%. Alright, let's scroll back up to the top. I've got my exposure set to plus 55 and I'm just going to paint once over the back of the sheep. And it just made a slight adjustment, because I have that flow set down.
But you'll notice if I paint again, and then again, every time I do this, I'm just dodging that area. And that's just going to separate the front sheep from the back sheep. If I wanted to put a little highlight along the back sheep's back, I could get a little bit smaller of a brush and then I could just drag along the back. Now, I'm going to do this a few times, and you'll notice that it's over-spraying, right? So it's spraying into the background area here. And in fact, if I toggle on the mask, we can see exactly where I've painted.
So with that in mind, I'm going to switch to the eraser tool and I'll scroll down, and I want to make sure that the eraser tool has a feather on it. And then I'll move it over in the image area. And if I wanted to, I could enlarge this a little bit using the right bracket key. And then I'm going to slowly paint that away, but you can see that made a big change with a single paint stroke, so I'm going to decrease the flow here as well. So sometimes, I know that I'm over-spraying an area but it's easier for me to do that and then paint the adjustment out of the areas that I don't want by switching to that eraser tool.
Okay, I'll switch back to the add option, and then I'll hide that mask, and now we can just toggle this on and off using the single panel preview. So there's before, and there's after. Alright, when you use this preview, it unselects the pin, you can see that it's white now instead of red, if I wanted to continue to make changes, I could click on the pin icon, and then make the adjustments over here in the panel. And I'm just going to tone that down a little bit, and also increase the color temperature and just warm it up a bit.
Alright, let's zoom in. I'm going to use command plus once and then twice. I'll use the spacebar in order to reposition the image in the preview area, and I want to make another adjustment. I just want to add a little bit of color and brightness to the eyes. So, I need to click new and then I'm going to pre-load the adjustment brush with a little bit of increased exposure, increase contrast, and also, a little increase saturation. Now, when I start using the left bracket key to make my brush smaller, at some point it's just going to turn into the crosshairs.
Since I want a little bit more control, I think I'm going to zoom in again using command plus and command plus again. In fact, let's go all the way to 100%. And then, I'll use the right bracket to get a little bit bigger brush and then just paint in the eye area. I'll use the spacebar in order to reposition the image, and paint again and again. Now, I might have gone a little bit overboard here, but before I zoom back out, I'm going to add even another adjustment brush, again by clicking new, and this time I'm going to set it up to desaturate, but because I have a number of sliders that have been adjusted, I'm just going to click to the left of saturation and then reduce it even more.
And then just paint here to desaturate and kind of take a little bit of the impact out of this tag away. And if that's not far enough, then I can go ahead and desaturate it a little bit more. Actually, before I zoom out, let's also do a little bit of selective sharpening. So here, I'll get a larger brush using the right bracket key. And, I'll scroll down 'til we see sharpness, I'll click on the plus icon, and then I'll paint loosely over this face and then I can paint again, because remember my flow decreased, and then I'll use the spacebar, move to the other one, and just add a little bit of additional sharpening.
Now I'll use command zero, in order to zoom out, and again, we can preview either using the single panel preview or we can switch, tap the P key to before and after to preview all panels. Alright, before we wrap up, I also want to show you the auto mask feature, so I'm going to switch to this image. I'll scroll down and enable auto mask. Now, I want to desaturate everything in the background just leaving the plant colored.
So, I'm going to move the saturation down to negative 100. Then, what's important to know is that the crosshairs are actually sampling the color that it's going to mask based on, so as I position the cursor over in this area here and let's make sure my flow is set up to 100 now, so that it makes this change very quickly. Wherever I position those crosshairs, it's going to sample that color and it's going to make a mask, so you'll notice that even though the brush is going over the leafy areas, as long as I don't pass those crosshairs over the leafs it's not going to change any of them.
So I'll just keep going here, around the edge, and it might be helpful if I show you the mask that it's creating, so I'll toggle that on. You can see where I've painted, so we can also see where I've missed, so I'll just want to put those crosshairs over any of those areas that I've missed. I'll move around the image, move here. One of the great things about this is I can also go inside, so I'll just make a little, smaller brush, but here, as long as I don't click on any of those leaves, you can see that it's actually affecting the area.
Wherever I click, it's sampling that color and it's going to change that within the entire size of the brush. So I don't have to sit there and paint hours and hours, the auto mask is going to help me out. Now, once I get outside of this area where there's no leaves, then I'll just turn off auto mask, 'cause that'll make it easier to make sure that I get all of those areas. Get a little smaller of a brush over here. Oops, okay so I went too far there, so I'm just going to do a quick command Z to undo that.
Little smaller brush here so that I don't go into that green leaf. And then we can turn off the mask there, and we can see that that entire background has been desaturated, and in fact, if we scoot up, I could also do something like lower the exposure of the background to just make that little plant kind of pop forward. And just like that, we've made these images more interesting by making some simple, local edits using the adjustment brush in Camera Raw.
- Comparing raw and JPEG files
- Correcting lens distortion and perspective problems
- Cropping and straightening a tilted horizon
- Fixing color casts and making creative color adjustments
- Revealing shadow and highlight detail
- Sharpening and reducing noise
- Making localized adjustments
- Converting to black and white
- Retouching portraits: skin, eyes, and teeth
- Automating your workflow
- Merging images for panoramas or HDR images