The New Mask Brush in LR CC

By Mark

Another long desired capability has been added to the latest LR release, the ability to add some masking capabilities to the Gradient and Radial filters.  Complex masks, along with layers are the most powerful features over in Photoshop.  You pretty much had a take it or leave it approach before in LR.  Take for example this nice bright mid-day photo from just outside Sedona Arizona. 

I can tell you that in my memories; those rocks were much, much redder.   In LR, the Gradient Filter allows you to apply an effect from any of the sides or at an angle, but the effect definitely has a linear horizon.   

You can selectively adjust anything from Color Temp all the way down to adding a color overlay.  I often decrease the exposure of skies to help add depth to images.

Adobe has now added a new Brush control to the Mask Menu.  

With it, you can go back in make separate adjustments or even delete the parts of the gradient you don’t want.   For this image, if I tried to increase the saturation with a gradient from the bottom it made the foreground scrub pines look very nuclear glowing and strange.   When I dragged the filter down from the top, it made the sky also look very strange and way too dark. Still it looked easier to fix that trying to adjust all of the trees.

There is a checkbox at the bottom of the image window which shows you the mask overlay on your image.  

Once you can see that, it is a simple matter of selecting the Brush Mask option, then selecting the Erase option.  It’s a good idea to check the “Auto Mask” button which will help protect the areas near strong borders.  You can then just paint over the areas where you don’t need the effect like this. 

You can toggle the Mask Overlay check box on and off so you can evaluate your progress.

Mask overlay checkbox off

Mask overlay checkbox off

Here is the finished image, which looks much more as it really did.

When they are side by side you can easily see the difference in the before and after shots.  The Develop module makes that easy to view.

More new LR CC tips to come.  Oh, and by the way, they have already released the first update which apparently fixes some issues people have found.