Lightroom Video – Everything I Know About the Adjustment Brush

I’ve been wanting to do a series of videos called “Everything I know about…” for certain tools in Lightroom 3. I figured I’d start with the Adjustment Brush tool since it’s got a ton of tiny little keyboard shortcuts that go along with it that you’d never normally find without know the secret ancient handshake :) Have a great day, and I hope you enjoy!

Author: Matt K

Matt is a full time Education Director for the NAPP and Kelby Training. He's a best-selling author of various books on Photoshop and Photography co-hosts the live weekly photography talk show "The Grid" and is co-host of "Photoshop User TV". In his spare time he practices as a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys spending time with his family in Tampa, FL.

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38 Comments

  1. Thanks for the video, it’s great. I love keyboard shortcuts in Lightroom! Maybe because I’m a software developer and I use keyboard A LOT. :)

    BTW, you got cut off at the end for a fraction of the second.

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  2. Great video – thank you.

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  3. Thanks as always for a super video. Will you be doing a video on Split Toning please sometime in the future !!.

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  4. Great one! The double-click on property to reset is a new one for me! You didn’t mention A shortcut for Automask feature though.
    cheers!

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  5. One thought: a video on sharpening and noise reduction would be most welcome!

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  6. Thanks for another great video, Matt.

    I stopped by a local Borders last night since they’re going out of business and was able to pick up your 2nd edition Layers book. I’m about half way through reading it and find it very interesting and usefel. The one thing that kept popping into my mind though was, “can’t this be done in Lightroom?”.

    So, my question to you is if a person has Lightroom and PS CS5 as I know you do, which of the layers effects do you prefer to do in Lightroom instead of PS and why?

    Thanks. Hope to see you in Boston sometime. Next time I’m visiting my grandmother in Cape Coral I’m hoping to spend some time at Dave’s studio and maybe a photowalk.

    Ric Faust

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  7. The adjustment brush also works well with the Wacom tablet. It appears that increased pen pressure = increased opacity.

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  8. Thanks for sharing Matt. Some very useful tips there

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  9. Great. Thanks.

    BTW – the shortcut I use to reset everything on an adjustment brush is to double-click “Effect” in the brush panel. I used to use ALT-click but the double-click is just quicker for me.

    BTW2 – Chapter One in your new book is worth the price. The rest is just gravy.

    Thanks again,
    Bill

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  10. If you quickly want to see the major schortcuts for a particular module then press CTRL+/ (forward slash)

    Press CTRL to hide the screen.

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  11. Pressing K to select the Adjustment Brush tool works from within ANY module.

    Toggle Automask on/off: Simply press A.

    Constraining with SHIFT key works for both vertical and horizontal drag.

    Pins: Always Show: SHIFT+CTRL+H
    Pins: Show Selected/Never Show: Shift+H

    Mask: SHIFT+O toggles between red, green, white and BLACK (not nothing).

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    • Oh, and instead of dragging to the left or right (when the mouse cursor is over a pin) you can use the UP and DOWN arrow keys to adjust the overall settings relatively.

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  12. A feature I’d love to see Adobe add to the LR adjustment brush is creating a straight line between two points using the shift key like in Photoshop (ie. lay down a point with the brush, then while holding the shift key lay another point anywhere else and a straight line will be created between the two). The shift+brush tip is helpful for making straight lines, but doesn’t help for anything other than (presumably) horizontal or vertical.

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  13. Rather than use the bracket keys to increase and decrease the size of the brush you can use the scroller on the mouse if you have one.

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  14. I plan on reading your new book this w/end. It came in the mail yesterday! Another tip to reset the adjustment sliders is to just double click on the word “effect”. No need to hold down opt key.

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  15. Hi Matt:

    Great video (as always)! The only thing I can think of that you left out is the difference between Density and Flow. You did mention that you don’t use Density much, but it can have a purpose. For anyone who doesn’t know, if you set one of the Brush sliders (say Exposure +1.0 stop), and set Density down to 10, it will only apply the highlighting at 10% of the strength it would normally. If you go over the same area again you can add another 10%, and so on, creating a layered effect up to 100%.

    However, if for part of an area you set Flow to say 50, no matter how many times you go over an area it won’t go over 50%. Again, you can layer a part of the image up to 100%, reduce the Flow, go over another part of the image, increase it again, etc. Density is a relative percentage, but Flow is absolute.

    Mike.

    (maybe I should do a blog post on this…)

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  16. Shouldn’t write comments after 11:00 p.m. Just realized I wrote that backwards. Flow is relative, Density is absolute.

    Mike.

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  17. hi matt,
    fantastic. is there anywhere a shortcut list?

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    • Stefan, to see a list of shortcuts just press CTRL and the “/” key. Then you can use the snipping tool from Windows to select the list and capture it for printing if you want a hard copy.

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  18. Great video Matt. keep up the good work. I still have a lot to learn about Lightroom…..

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  19. Great tut. You didn’t mention auto mask, though. I use this a lot. Also, I sometimes set exposure temporarily all the way up or down to see where I’m painting if I don’t want to use the overlay. Never knew I could change the overlay color, though!

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  20. WOW! Thank you for this wonderful video!

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  21. AWESOME video Matt!! Thanks for sharing all these great tips. The Adjustment Brush is my favorite tool in Lightroom, and thanks to your video I love it even more!

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  22. You mentioned click click on property to reset and option/alt to reset the adjustment brush. You can just double click on effect to reset the adjustment brush also, Thanks for all the great tips

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  23. That was a great tutorial. Since I’ve never bothered to really learn how the adjustment brush works, I just do the basics. Now I learned a bunch of shortcuts and tips. Thanks!

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  24. Great tips, this is going to help me a lot! One use I can think of forrest the relative adjust all slider is to fine tune things. Very useful if your brush is just set to control one item, like exposure. It gives you way better fine-tuning then the sliders on the left panel do!

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  25. Brilliant video. I learnt a lot from that. Many thanks.

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  26. This may be a super stupid question, but I’m new to Lightroom … is there a way to change the brush so that it’s not circular, but instead more boxy sometimes?!

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  27. The video is not available anymore! I would love to learn more about the adjustment brush.

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