The Adjustment Brush

Changing the Universe on pixel at a time.

The Adjustment Brush --Much Much More than Dodge and Burn

Before-after with the adjustment brush

Adjustment Brush in Lightroom CC 2015

AdjustmentBrush Turn tmasks on and off from the "Canvas" tool bar... ShowMask
  • The adjustment brush builds a mask based on your paint strokes.
  • You can change the size of the brush and alter its affect.
    • Feather --Softness or hardness of the edge
    • Flow --Controls stroke buildup (Tip: start with a low setting)
    • Density --Sets a maximum opacity threshold for a strokes affect
  • Density is turned off in erase mode.
  • Lightroom has 2 brushes, A and B, which can have different sizes and settings
  • Camera Raw can color code the masks
  • Camera Raw can show the inverse of the mask

Auto Mask

Auto mask uses "edge detection" to help you paint between the lines...


Sometimes (as shown above), it's easier to erase with auto mask!

Get Close

Use the Zoom keyboard short cut, Space Bar + Command/Control = + Zoom

Turn off (uncheck) the Auto Mask to completely fill the areas you want to mask. Auto mask will leave dark splotches as it is (of course) edge detecting!


Turning off the mask lets you paint the affect of your settings without the mask getting in the way.

Because the wing was under exposed it'll appear quite I added noise reduction of +33 to the masked area..

The adjustment brush can be taxing on your computer, your brush strokes may lag... be real patient or get a faster computer ;}

Invert the Mask Camera Raw Only

It's Labeled unaffected areas in the mask color selection dialogue


It'll give you a good idea as to how well your mask is working... and show you what areas need "more brush strokes" or fine tuning

The Final Results

But first I used the spot removal tool, to hide the bright slash in the upper wing.


And here's the final mask...


Final Results

Okay, here's the final results with the Adjustment Brush panel with the settings I used in Camera Raw. Same settings work in Lightroom.

FinalFinal adjbrushpanel

Enjoy and have fun!

Keyboard Shortcuts

K = The Adjustment Brush Panel

[ = Make the brush smaller

] = Make the brush bigger

Shift + [ = Make the brush edge harder

Shift + ] = Make the brush edge softer

= (Equal) = Increases the brush Flow

- (Minus) = Decreases the Brush Flow

Alt/Option = toggles erasure brush

Space Bar = hand move tool

Space Bar + Command/Control = + Zoom

Space Bar + Option/Alt = - Zoom

M = Toggle Auto Mask

Photoshop only

Y = Toggle Show Mask

V = Toggle Show Pins

Built-in Presets

If you click on "Custom" at the top of the Adjustment Brush Panel you can choose one of the following presets... CustomPresets

Nota Bene N.B.

If your computer/mouse supports "swipes" A swipe left or right will scroll the screen left or right

Up and down swipes are the same as using a scroll wheel, and will scroll the screen up or down

If your mouse has an extra control button, pressing that button will change the wheel from vertical to a horizontal scroll.

Practice, Practice, Practice