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Masking Pt 3

Lesson 16 from: Photo Editing in Lightroom Classic for The Photo Enthusiast

Jared Platt

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Lesson Info

16. Masking Pt 3

Learn more masking techniques in Lightroom that will help you to select just the right areas on your images for maximum effect and efficiency.
Next Lesson: Masking Pt 4

Lesson Info

Masking Pt 3

So now we could really use the help of masking on this photograph of venice. The first thing we're going to do is create a mask that selects the sky. Now it did a pretty good job. However when you do the overlay you can see that it kind of bleeds over things and that's going to be okay. So let's let's just figure out what it did. So I'm gonna take that mask and I'm gonna bring down the exposure a little bit, bring down the highlights a little bit because I want to see more of those clouds so we don't need to see the overlay. Just gonna bring down those clouds just enough so that when we look up into the clouds there we are happy with the texture that we see in the sky. But let's zoom in and take a look at how bad it bled over and see if it's causing any problems. So I think that we can just turn this on and off and I can see that it's it's causing a little bit of a problem on that tower. Not too much but a little bit. So what we're gonna do is we're just going to subtract out. So I'm j...

ust going to subtract via brush. I could probably subtract via like a color range or illuminates range. You could certainly do that but it would end up subtracting from higher up in the sky where there's you know, darker clouds and things like that. So it's probably better just to do minus a brush, we're gonna subtract with the brush and we're going to turn the auto mask on and that way I can just come in here and I can subtract with a brush just by painting in this area like this. So if I turn on the selective selective overlay, I can come in here, change the size of the brush and just try and get rid of some of this stuff. I'm not too worried about the spill up here because I can't even tell what color it is anyway, but I am worried about you know, this kind of area right here, this area here. So it's just a matter of that auto mask is helping to avoid spilling into the sky to begin with. That looks much better. So now as we zoom out we can see that tower looks quite nice. The the bleed onto the roofs is not all that bad, we can see the sky now and so that is a good mask and it's useful to us. Now. The next thing that we want to look at um is this building over here? This building is really, really quite bad. It's just causing us to look at it all the time. And so what I wanna do is I want to first create a mask that is either a radio gradient or a brush. I think I prefer a brush and just go really big on the brush, Turn off the auto mask and the goal is to paint over the top of this whole area here like this just like that. There we go. So I've just given it a rule of where I want to deal with, that's the area. So then I'm going to go in and intersect. So I'm gonna say I want to intersect that rule with a luminous range rule because all I want to do is dampen down the brightness of this building. So by doing that, I just need to drag my set across that white area and boom, see see how it selected that. And if I want to expand that, All I have to do is just increase the size of this box. So see how as I do that, it's increasing the distance. It will go into lighter or darker areas. So I'm just changing. So it'll go all the way to 100% white and it goes down to right now. It's going, It feathers down to 50 actually down even lower. So feathers quite quite a ways down. But it starts dissipating at about what is that 75%. That's probably good. The great thing is I can make my rules and my masks and then do the adjustments or I can make the adjustments and then I can start building the rules and see what it does to them. So either way chicken or the egg, which came first, it doesn't matter. You can start either way and so we've got a pretty good mask started so far. Um, so let's just go in and see what we do with it. So I'm going to take this double click the entire effect and I'm going to go in and take the highlight down and the white down and I'm going to take the exposure down just slightly, see how that building is starting to become a normal building instead of a super bright white building. I love that. That's so much better. So let's keep going, let's take that exposure down even more and let's give it a little bit of black in there. So that yeah, this is, this is looking much much better there. I like the way the buildings looking but see how it spills over the edge here. So that's the only thing that I don't like and the question is, and I don't know, but we can try, I can go into this whole thing and say, well I want to intersect all of this with a subject because it might select that building is the subject. I don't know. What did it choose? It only chose that as the subject. That's kind of weird. So we don't want that. So now I'm just going to go in and click on this triple dot on the subject line. So right here and I'm going to delete subject mask one. So now we're back to the same old thing. So now all I have to do is find another way to get rid of this spill. And the only way I can think to get rid of that spill is to go in here and subtract the sky so I can click on sky and it's going to subtract the sky, see how it just did that. And then I can also subtract a brush and zoom in, make sure you show the mask overlay so you can see where it's affecting. And then turn on your auto mask and then just start painting out just like that. Oops. And when you're, when you're working with the auto mask, remember that The smaller the brush is, the more you just define what the actual tone is that you're willing to spill over and so just just watch for that because where you select is what you're telling it. I only want to select this specific tone or this specific color. So the smaller you make your brush the more accurate it can be in its selection process. So just just be aware of that and try and be in this case we have to be fairly accurate because it will be really quite obvious if we don't get it right. And then once once you've got the sky, so then once you once you've got the edge is taken care of. So once you, once you've actually found all your edges like we have here then the rest of it can be removed pretty easily. So like here I just go like this and get rid of the edges. But then once I have the edges removed, if I turn that if I click on the a key that turns off the auto mask and then I can just remove the rest of that red and over here by these and on this building because those are not spilling over and if I happen to spill, see how I've got this little edge here, if I happen to spill too much because I was I was too quick then I can always go in and hit the shift. Let's see. So if I happen to spill a little bit and erase something that I don't mean to, then I can click on the option key and that gives me a plus so I can add back on the same mask. So I'm going to change the size of it, I'm still holding the option key down and I'm going to change the size of my brush and then I'm just going to add this mask back in right here and I should turn on the auto mask by the way. So I'm just going to come in and make sure that I add in that part and I'm going to do the same thing right here and the same thing right here and same thing actually, I should probably make this not quite so dense. So the flow is going to be like 50% and then I'm just going to come in, Oh I spilled over so now I can just let go back to minus and I'm just just getting rid of those edges most of the time you don't deal with this because the edges aren't that equal to each other, but in this case we kind of have a spill problem, but this looks pretty good. Let's just turn off the overlay and see that looks great. So this is before, so let's just turn off the masks. This is before our eyes just drawn over to that left hand building and up into the sky. And this is after where we muted that building and we muted the sky and so now we're looking actually into the city. So at this point I'm going to make one more and this time I'm just going to make a brush and I'm going to increase the size of the brush and now it's time for me to just do some classical burning and dodging. So I'm going to double click the effect and bring it down just a bit and I'm just gonna do some classic burning and dodging. I'm just gonna kind of go in here and see how I'm burning that edge and I'm gonna burn up here a little bit, maybe burn into the sky and come down here and then I'll change the size of the brush and maybe burn right here between those boat paths. There we go. Maybe burn this building a little bit more and then I'm gonna go in here and I'm gonna burn right there between those buildings and I'm gonna burn a little bit right there and a little bit right there, I'm kind of emphasizing the shadows that are already there, emphasize this shadow, those steps. Yeah, this is gonna look really great. So I'm emphasizing the, the windows and I'm just, I'm being really fluid about it and really I'm not, I'm not trying to be very uh specific, I'm not trying to be super accurate, I'm just feeling my way through this image. What makes the most sense for ah what, what do I think will make these things pop and then I can go in so I like the what now, I can just start playing with it and see how much do I want to see, the more I do something with it, the more I start to open up these and make these the central, because this is the central focus of the photograph here and these paths. And so I'm trying to kind of deepen the mood over here a little bit and then I'm going to create another mask and this time it's a brush, but it's going to be a brightening brush that has a bit of clarity to, it brings up the whites still brings the shadows and the blacks down a bit so that we don't have to worry about being super accurate and then I'm just gonna go in and I'm gonna look to brighten up and remember, I can, I can fix some of these things later. So if I, if I went too far on how bright I made it no big deal because I can always go back in and and and rework the actual effect that I created. So this one, I want to come in here and just, I like the light coming through there and I like the light coming this way, I like these. So I'm just just using the natural things that are inside of my photograph to create a similar effect. See, I've got, I'm doing the tower and anywhere I see light coming through, I'm trying to emphasize that light that hits the buildings and even here, we could do a little bit of that, just a little, not too much because it's already pretty, it was already having problems being too bright. Alright now, let's play with this and see what our effect actually needs to be. So we don't want to go over the top with it, but we definitely want to be very um we definitely want to draw attention down into those areas. So again, I'm I'm darkening some of the shadows, bringing up the highlights so that uh we don't have to be super accurate and I think I'm also going to take up the, let's just warm it up and I was about to take up the saturation, but saturation just does weird things to images and so I'm gonna take the temperature up just a little bit so see that I'm just warming up the temperature just slightly. Not a lot, just barely so that it looks like warmth like sun is coming through there. Okay, so now that I've got that I'm going to do one last effect and it's gonna be a radial gradient and it's going, I need to invert it so that it's the outside of the photograph that's changing. So I'm just going to click on the invert button and then I'm gonna go like this and remember all of this stuff was happening. So double click the effect and get it down to zero. And so now you can see that I can kind of target and I'm gonna put the center of the gradient right there, next to all of those, except I'm going to take the feathering down a little bit and we actually need to change the size of this gradient. So I'm gonna I'm gonna hit the shift key and bring it down so that it's smaller. So when you hit the shift key it changes all of them at the same time. If you just grab onto one, it does either side and if you hold onto the option key or the alter key, it just does one side and so I can kind of change things to match. So I'm using so I can change things to match the angles that I want. And I'm just going to kind of move like this. There you go, just like that. I'm gonna hold the shift key down and I'm gonna hole, I'm going to increase the size of this thing there like that, I'm decreasing the feathering so that those buildings that are our central focus are inside of the center of this, so it's 100% out here and it's 0% once it hits this inner circle. So I'm trying to avoid any of these, these buildings getting hit by whatever effect we're about to apply. And then once I've done that, I can go in and start applying the effect and the effect is going to be just kind of a general vignette. So I'm just going to bring down the exposure just a little bit and I'm going to bring down the highlights a little bit, bring down the whites just a little bit and even bring the black in a little bit. So now it really feels, if you look at this photograph, it feels like there's some kind of sun hitting here, but it's not hitting over here, there's maybe a cloud, it's kind of softening the light over here and we're getting a much more effective tunnel towards where we want to go. I like what I've done to this image. Let's just take a look at it and see if we like the image by hitting the f key, it gives me a full screen mode and now this is what I've got which is a far cry better than the original which was that. So here's the original and this is the final image, the original final image. And remember we did all sorts of stuff to this. And one of the things that we did to make this effect was we used some presets that we had created. So we did some curve effect on this and we did some color grading all from a preset. And so that's what gave us this color. But then that gave me the idea of muting that building on the left hand side which then gave me the idea of brightening up all of these buildings down uh further down the canal which gave me the idea of adding some sunlight coming through here. Like all of that stuff adds to it and it's just a matter of playing with the image. And as you do one thing, it'll lead you to something else. The beauty though is that if you learn how to use the masking tools, you will be able to select and work on any subject independently of all the other subjects because you've learned how to intersect all those rules. So all of the masking tools are based in rules for instance, here are the rules, you can make you can select a sky or you can click on this triple dot and you can invert that sky. You can select a subject and you can invert the subject. So that means you can select the sky or the ground. You can select a subject or everything but the subject you can select a radial gradient. You can select a regular gradient. You can select with a brush, you can select a color, you can select a brightness level and you can even select a death mask if you have a camera with two lenses on it like your iphone but all of those things then can be used as intersecting rules. So if you use a subject as a rule plus a color plus a brush. You can get very detailed as to what you allow as your mask and it will only take you seconds to do it and then you can do whatever you want to. That selection this is actually far more powerful than any selection process that you ever had in Photoshop. So these masking tools are going to allow you to not only be more accurate about your selections and and fix problems in your photograph, but also it will just allow you to play and create attention and and direction where you want attention and direction placed in your photograph. It is amazing the capability that you have inside of lightroom. So get in there and play make some masks and find out what you can do with them

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Ratings and Reviews

Byron Sieber

Jared does an excellent job at taking a subject and breaking it down step by step. He includes great explanations along the way to help you understand why he is doing something. His results, which are great photos, speak for themselves.


Excellent class with great detail on the new Masking tools! Thanks, Jared!

Michael Grosso

Excellent overview of the features included in the most recent upgrade of Adobe Lightroom. Very practical applications are covered at a very good pace. Thank you!

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