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View Poll Results: How often do you use the adjustment brush feature in Lightroom?

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  • Frequently

    12 37.50%
  • Sometimes

    7 21.88%
  • I use photoshop or other software for selective editing

    6 18.75%
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Thread: Lightroom adjustment brush

  1. #1
    Member Mircula's Avatar
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    Lightroom adjustment brush

    I experienced some weird things with the adjustment brush…..

    I photographed a coast line with cliffs being in the shade and the water being in the sun.
    Now I tried to get some of the detail back in the dark shadows of the cliffs.

    I upped the fill light, which did an ok job, but it effects the whole image so the stuff not in the shade became a bit flat.


    Then I tried to use the adjustment brush and painted in the shade areas of the cliffs some exposure and/or brightness.
    Suddenly I get weird black dots and lots of noise I cant get rid of.


    I deleted the adjustment brushes again and tried upping the same amount of exposure and brightness on the overall image with the basic sliders just to see the difference. Of course the not shady bita of the image are now overexposed, but the shade area looks much better and I do not have these weird black dots I do have with the adjustment brush.


    Any idea why?
    Shouldn’t the exposure and brightness sliders I have in the adjustment brush do the same as the ones in the basic panel just on selected areas?



    This really makes the adjustment brush less useful. I noticed that in a view other cases the changes I do with the adjustment brush just look completely different than if I would apply the same settings on the whole image with the basic sliders…..



    Do you experience the same?
    Do you use the adjustment brush a lot, or rather go to ps for that?



    Thanks,

    Cheers,

    Mirc
    Constructive criticism is most welcome!!!

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  2. #2
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    I'm waiting for an answer as well , Yes , I do have the same problem ? I dont even bother with the adjustment brush anymore
    Canon : 30D, and sometimes the 5D mkIII , Sigma 10-20, 50mm 1.8, Canon 24-105 f4 L , On loan Sigma 120-400 DG and Canon 17 - 40 f4 L , Cokin Filters




  3. #3
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    Did you have the auto mask setting turned on? Thinking it may have not selected the whole area.

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    Hey,

    thanks for the comment. Automask does not make a different. it is the overall behaviour of the adjustment brush i think....

    Nobody else experienced this???

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    I get a problem with the edge of the tool creating a real artifact look like it is over sharpened. Perhaps I am not using the tool correctly - will be interested to see if people have hints on getting this to work. I had hoped it would be a lot more usable in LR3.
    Check out my new site - www.wattsgallery.com - feedback welcome

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    Hmm...yeah sometimes i get that if I play around with the values too much, e.g. too little exposure etc.....

    It would be really interesting to find out how many people actually use this adjustment brush at all....In photoshop it is one of the most powerful tools for all sorts of things.....but in Lightroom...


    Anyway, very keen on getting some more insight from lightroom users here

    Cheers.

  7. #7
    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Try using a curves adjustment instead!
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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  8. #8
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    You mean in photoshop with a layer mask and curves tool?

    And thanks for adding the poll !

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mircula View Post
    Then I tried to use the adjustment brush and painted in the shade areas of the cliffs some exposure and/or brightness.
    Suddenly I get weird black dots and lots of noise I cant get rid of.

    ...

    Any idea why?
    Mirc
    I would suspect, based almost exclusively on you "lots of noise" statement, that you're trying to extract detail in the shadows area that just aren't there. When you try to lighten up the darks too far you will almost certainly see noise.

    A tip I found that works well for me is to over expose a scene (not by a huge amount) to get details in the blacks and then recover highlights in software. If there's a huge dynamic range in the scene then I'll take multiple exposures and combine.

    I use the adjustments brush all the time to dodge/burn/saturate/desaturate and have never had any major issues. That said, I quite often reject images that are completely underexposed/overexposed so I'm generally not using the adjustments in extreme situations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wattsgallery View Post
    I get a problem with the edge of the tool creating a real artifact look like it is over sharpened. Perhaps I am not using the tool correctly - will be interested to see if people have hints on getting this to work. I had hoped it would be a lot more usable in LR3.
    As with my other post regarding noise, post-process adjustments have their limits before obvious artifacts get introduced.

    I'll usually apply the brush at 100% and use the sliders but if that is too powerful, I'll delete the adjustments and then reapply the brush strokes with a lower opacity and slowly build up the effect.

    The other way to do it is apply the brush at 100% and then use the "eraser brush" (hold alt down when using brush) with a lower opacity to gradually remove the effect.

    I find a lot of people overdo adjustments and make the image seem "wrong". Flicking between before and after versions often helps me judge if I've gone too far or not.

  11. #11
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    I have seen this issue too, but it's usually due to little or no detail in the darks and trying to push the image too far. I have also noticed it only affects the exposure brush. I will never push more than one and half stops in the darks. A raw image usually only keeps 2 stops of info anyway.

    That said, I usually use the curves adjustment like Rick suggested, and yes it affects the entire image, it is after all the same as moving the sliders. LR3 has the same issue, but slightly improved. ACR does the same thing if you use the adjustment brush from memory, but I haven't used it for ages as I do 95% of my processing in LR3 now.

  12. #12
    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    The good thing with curves adjustments is that if you understand how they work you can put 'dots' to stop your curve adjusting in some areas, and at the same time make adjustments to others. You can lighten shadows and leave the lighter parts of the photo alone.

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    I use the adjustment brush occasionally to brighten peoples faces. Other than that I haven't really found it to be useful.

    Maybe I'm missing something too.
    Alan

    Canon 5DII, 40D, some lenses, and some other stuff.

  14. #14
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    Hey,

    thanks for the answers.

    Campo:

    Yeah i am trying to overexpose too, but in this case i had bright sunshine and dark shadow from the cliff so there was not much room to play...Thanks for the tipp though!!!!


    Alan:

    I know what you mean with no detail in the shadows...The point is that the brush on exposure behaves different to the exposure in the basic panel...that is what i dont understand....


    That said, I usually use the curves adjustment like Rick suggested, and yes it affects the entire image, it is after all the same as moving the sliders.
    Does it? Which sliders do you mean? the ones under the curve or the ones in the basic panel?


    "Alan working":

    I use it as well for lighten up faces...That works quite well if used carefully...



    Rick:

    if I just want the lights to be darker for instance....Cant i just lower the exposure and brightness? That gives me control over the light parts and leaves the shadows alone, or?

    I think i asked that in another thread but it comes again down to difference from basic panels and curves....Still didn't manage to get the kelby book.....


    Ps.: I really have to learn how to use the quoting properly....
    Last edited by Mircula; 09-09-2010 at 2:33pm.

  15. #15
    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mircula View Post
    Hey,

    thanks for the answers.

    Campo:

    Yeah i am trying to overexpose too, but in this case i had bright sunshine and dark shadow from the cliff so there was not much room to play...Thanks for the tipp though!!!!


    Alan:

    I know what you mean with no detail in the shadows...The point is that the brush on exposure behaves different to the exposure in the basic panel...that is what i dont understand....




    Does it? Which sliders do you mean? the ones under the curve or the ones in the basic panel?


    "Alan working":

    I use it as well for lighten up faces...That works quite well if used carefully...



    Rick:

    if I just want the lights to be darker for instance....Cant i just lower the exposure and brightness? That gives me control over the light parts and leaves the shadows alone, or?

    I think i asked that in another thread but it comes again down to difference from basic panels and curves....Still didn't manage to get the kelby book.....


    Ps.: I really have to learn how to use the quoting properly....
    Yes it does, but..you have no control over how dark the darks are that are adjusted, you simply slide the slider, and I think the software uses the midpoint (medium grey) to determine what is considered dark, and therefore what gets adjusted when you move the shadows slider, everything darker than that is adjusted, what do you do of you don't want all of the darker areas adjusted, only those that are in a certain brightness range? Using a curves adjustment layer you can pick your points along the curve line and separately adjust several different areas. So you could pick a point just in from the left, then drag down the line between the bottom left corner and the point to make your blacks deep and rich, whilst leaving other areas that are in shadow, but not really dark, alone. You could then click up the curve line a bit further and lift the section of the curve up and recover some more detail in those not so dark shadow areas. Curves are extremely powerful and I would suggest finding out more about how to use them.

  16. #16
    Ausphotography Regular gcflora's Avatar
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    Well, I'd never experienced this before. However I installed the upgrade (3.2) on the weekend and noticed it yesterday (weird dots showing up when using the adjustment brush to decrease exposure). I thought that maybe they'd go away when opening is PS, but alas they did not. It's not noise either, it just that noise is the best way to describe the effect... It's some other kind of artefact that is being introduced...
    Craig

  17. #17
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    interesting, looks like noise though. But maybe the will fix it in a later update....like this really annoying bug where the exif data and watermarks are stripped when limiting the file size....Really silly!!!


    I realize now that the curves tool might have a lot more potential than the sliders, thank you Rick!

    Although unfortunately in lightroom i cannot create my own dot points on the curve, so i am kind of limited to the sliders....


    Any other comments ?

  18. #18
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    Unfortunately, if there's no detail there (or very little) using the adjustment brush exposure will only expose noise, especially colour noise.
    I only speak about this due to early days of photographing black or dark coated dogs under studio lighting. To this day, I bump up the flash output a little say ½ to ⅔ of a stop (originally light meter read f11@180). I found that trying to increase exposure on underexposed areas, 'the whole dog!' the noise levels / banding / colour (green & blue blotching) would simply be amplified with the LR adjustment brush.

    My immediate bandaid fix is to open in PS create a new layer,Overlay, fill with 50% grey and dodge out what I can incrementally with black brush around 25% opacity.

    Getting back to LR, this is where shooting RAW can help (as previously posted). I always (well 90%) of the time 'Expose to the Right' with my histograms. Unless there is some amazing clouds or sky colours, I can always swap in another sky, while the good shadow details remain in tact and exposed well. (perhaps some + exp. comp to achieve this).
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  19. #19
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    "My immediate bandaid fix is to open in PS create a new layer,Overlay, fill with 50% grey and dodge out what I can incrementally with black brush around 25% opacity."
    Oops! I meant white brush (dodge). No need to darken the darks now is there!

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