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The Adjustment Brush in Lightroom

In this video tutorial Dan Moughamian opens Lightroom’s Develop panel and uses the Adjustment Brush.Using the auto mask feature he’s able to quickly edit his image’s exposure, saturation and hue levels in a non destructive and selective manner.

About Dan Moughamian (37 Articles)
Dan Moughamian is an experienced photographer and educator, and has worked with Adobe Photoshop since the early 1990s. He also has extensive experience with Photoshop Lightroom, Photoshop Elements, plugins from Nik software, and many other digital imaging products. As an educator, Dan's focus is to help photographers at all levels get the most from their digital workflows.

5 Comments on The Adjustment Brush in Lightroom

  1. Nice!!!!! Thanks for taking the time to create the video. That brush up in that right corner used to scare me until I read about how to use it in Scott Kelby’s book. This is great!

  2. candyK // 18/09/2010 at 11:26 pm //

    Thanks for such clear examples of how to use this brush feature!

  3. Thanks for the kind words, Tim and Candy. Glad you enjoyed the segment. Hopefully you’ll have more occasion now to give the ole Adjustment brush a go. It’s a great tool for raw workflows. Cheers! -Dan

  4. Winston Shaw // 08/04/2011 at 3:20 pm //

    Great video on Adjustment Brush. Clears up a lot of questions I’ve had after watching other similar videos. Executed at a speed I can follow, and enough detail to understand how things work without burying me in options that only confuse. Some videos I’ve watched cover so much ground in so little time that it leaves you feeling as if you have been run over by a truck. Others provide so little detail that it seems you know “less” at video’s end than you knew before you watched it.

    One question I have is what is the difference between using Exposure to darken/lighten and area of the image versus using Dodge/Burn?


  5. Hi Winston. Glad you found the tutorial to be helpful. It’s great to get feedback like this, to gauge the amount of detail, etc. Thanks! Regarding your question, I suspect you are referring to the Exposure option in Photoshop’s Dodge and Burn tools. The answer then really depends on the specific image and which “range” you’re working within, as to what those tools will affect.

    Exposure edits in Lightroom affect all but the very brightest tones, and the darkest 1/3 of tones (roughly), unlike Brightness edits, which will affect all tones equally when you move the slider. If you watch the Histogram panel as you mouse over each of the Basic tone controls, you will see part of the Histogram “light up”, to show you which portions of the data will be affected.

    For Dodge/Burn, you have a “Range” control that allows you to specify that the edits should only affect the darkest 1/3, middle 1/3, or brightest 1/3 of pixels, after which the Exposure determines the degree to which those pixels are affected. Typically I use these tools when subtle corrections are needed in very small areas (things that I discover as I go, rather than something obvious at the raw editing stage). Their main advantage is the extra control you get over the brushes and the integration with the rest of the retouching workflow in Photoshop. An Exposure value of between 5 and 15% in any given Range is usually all I need to produce the desired result. Be sure to use the Protect Tones option whenever using these tools, as it will guard against clipping. 🙂

    Hope this helps clear things up a bit. If you have more questions or requests the best way to get my attention these days is via Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Colortrails/111167675615865
    or Twitter (click embedded link).


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