More on the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom - Digital Photography School

More on the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom

In an earlier post I looked at the basics of using the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom 2. In this post I’ll have a look at some advanced features of the adjustment brush which help you make multiple adjustments to the image at one time and to do so more easily.

Step 1

adjustment_step1.jpg

In the Develop module, when you have the Adjustment Brush selected there is a switch that you can click to switch between Button and Slider mode. In button mode you can adjust one of the Exposure Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Clarity and Sharpness settings at a time. In Slider mode, you can adjust any one or more of these options.

Step 2

adjustment_step2.jpg

In the Brush area of the panel you will see an AutoMask option. When this is enabled, you can paint around the inside edge of an area and the AutoMask feature will mask the area ensuring your brushstrokes don’t go over the edge. This works best on areas where the edge is distinct and recognizable. When you paint, make sure you have the main part of the paint brush inside the area you want to effect.

To toggle between AutoMask being on or off as you paint, hold the Control key as you paint (Command on the Mac).

Step 3

adjustment_step3.jpg

In the Brush area you will see two brushes, A and B. You can switch between the two by clicking on the A or B indicator. Each brush has its own Size, Feather, Flow and Density settings, and AutoMask can be enabled for either or both of the brushes. Having two brushes lets you configure each differently and switch easily between the two.

Each brush can be switched into the third brush mode – Erase mode by holding the Alt key (Option on the Mac) as you paint with either brush.

Step 4

adjustment_step4.jpg

Setting the brush size defines the area of the brush and it is the central circle which you see when you are painting. The Feather amount adds an additional softness to the brush which is shown by the second outer circle. A hard brush has a Feather of 0 and it shows as a single circle.

Flow specifies the flow for the brush which can be set to less than 100 so you can build up an effect gradually by painting over an area multiple times. The Density slider adjusts the opacity and controls the maximum opacity of the brush strokes. So, if you have Flow set to a low value and Density to 50, the maximum opacity that the brush can reach regardless of how many times you paint over an area is 50.

Step 5

adjustment_step5.jpg

In the Effect area is a Color option which allows you to paint over an image with a color of your choice. To do this, select the color to use and then paint over the area to apply it to. You can use this to colorize a black and white image or, as I’ve done here, paint over a dark blue area with yellow to make it dark green.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like...

Read more from our Post Production category.

Helen Bradley is a Lifestyle journalist who divides her time between the real and digital worlds, picking the best from both. She writes and produces video instruction for Photoshop and digital photography for magazines and online providers world wide. She has also written four books on photo crafts and blogs at Projectwoman.com.

  • http://majedphotos.com majed

    great tips

  • guillermo galarza

    how do i know this course is what im looking for and why should i not take it in school.

  • Dr.Calgori

    Fantastic tips! Will definately start up Lightroom and give it a go!

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/yogendra174/ Yogendra

    really nice and elaborate tips.. thanks for explanation along with illustrations!

  • Jody

    How do you turn the color option off?

  • Diana

    Great tips. Can you please give me an answer to this. After setting a, which prevents you making more strokes? . This happens with the Heal and Clone brush too. Thanks

  • http://www.projectwoman.com/phototips.html Helen Bradley

    @Diana. I think what you are asking is how to stop the Adjustment Brush. In the Develop panel you will see two items in the bottom of the area in which you configure the Adjustment Brush settings – these are Reset and Close. Click Close to finish and confirm the changes you have made.

    Helen

  • http://www.paulhartley.ca Paul

    I’m brushing an exposure adjustment and when zoomed for detailed brushing I can’t figure out how to move to another part of the frame that is not in my zoomed in area so that I can continue using the same brush setting point without zooming back out and creating another brush point with the same settings
    Help is appreciated

  • http://www.projectwoman.com/phototips Helen Bradley

    @paul Press and hold the spacebar – the cursor turns into a hand and you can move the image then let go the spacebar and continue with the adjustment brush.

    Helen

  • Chris

    Helen,

    I m used to PS workflow where I use lot of adjustment layers with many types of adjustments (especially curves).
    Do you think the adjustments available as part of the brush are enough?
    If not, any tricks how to accomplish what I can do in PS?
    If there is no way then do you want those adjustments in LR4?

  • Kenny

    No adjustments can be made when using brush in LR 4 quit working all of a sudden.

  • http://www.whitepetal.co.uk/devonweddingphotography.html PaulB

    Might sound strange, but I did know that the automask feature was there… and yet I forgot about it, until I read this nice little article. Thanks :)

  • Jay Levan

    After using the adjustment brush for a while I sometimes want to reset all the sliders. I understand that you can click either the name of the slider or the slider handle to reset an individual slider. But, I have never been able to reset ALL the sliders in the tool at once (globally) And, I have no idea what the “reset” button does. I thought that it should do exactly that – reset ALL the sliders. But, the reset button does not seem to do anything.

  • Helen Bradley

    Hi Jay
    All you need to do is to select the Adjustment Brush then double click on the word Effect at the top of the panel. In later versions of Lightroom this resets all the sliders automatically.

  • Jay Levan

    Wow, thank you. Is that documented? I’ve looked and never seen that. Searches bring up pages like this that don’t mention that. Thanks again.

Some older comments

  • PaulB

    September 21, 2012 06:30 am

    Might sound strange, but I did know that the automask feature was there... and yet I forgot about it, until I read this nice little article. Thanks :)

  • Kenny

    April 14, 2012 01:52 am

    No adjustments can be made when using brush in LR 4 quit working all of a sudden.

  • Chris

    August 25, 2011 02:10 pm

    Helen,

    I m used to PS workflow where I use lot of adjustment layers with many types of adjustments (especially curves).
    Do you think the adjustments available as part of the brush are enough?
    If not, any tricks how to accomplish what I can do in PS?
    If there is no way then do you want those adjustments in LR4?

  • Helen Bradley

    October 14, 2010 03:55 am

    @paul Press and hold the spacebar - the cursor turns into a hand and you can move the image then let go the spacebar and continue with the adjustment brush.

    Helen

  • Paul

    October 11, 2010 07:42 am

    I'm brushing an exposure adjustment and when zoomed for detailed brushing I can't figure out how to move to another part of the frame that is not in my zoomed in area so that I can continue using the same brush setting point without zooming back out and creating another brush point with the same settings
    Help is appreciated

  • Helen Bradley

    May 25, 2010 11:45 pm

    @Diana. I think what you are asking is how to stop the Adjustment Brush. In the Develop panel you will see two items in the bottom of the area in which you configure the Adjustment Brush settings - these are Reset and Close. Click Close to finish and confirm the changes you have made.

    Helen

  • Diana

    May 25, 2010 10:24 am

    Great tips. Can you please give me an answer to this. After setting a, which prevents you making more strokes? . This happens with the Heal and Clone brush too. Thanks

  • Jody

    January 16, 2010 02:04 am

    How do you turn the color option off?

  • Yogendra

    October 21, 2009 02:59 am

    really nice and elaborate tips.. thanks for explanation along with illustrations!

  • Dr.Calgori

    March 20, 2009 06:59 pm

    Fantastic tips! Will definately start up Lightroom and give it a go!

  • guillermo galarza

    March 18, 2009 05:02 am

    how do i know this course is what im looking for and why should i not take it in school.

  • majed

    March 18, 2009 02:57 am

    great tips

Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

Sign up to the free DPS PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

GET DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS Feed

Sign up to the free

DPS PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

GET DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS Feed

Sign up to the free

DPS PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download
Today’s Deal: Best-selling Natural Light ebook – $7 (65% OFF)BUY NOW
DPS NEWSLETTER
DPS NEWSLETTER
DPS NEWSLETTER

DPS offers a free weekly newsletter with: 
1. new photography tutorials and tips
2. latest photography assignments
3. photo competitions and prizes

Enter your email below to subscribe.
Email:
 
 
Get DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS feed