A Quick (but very powerful) Adjustment Brush Tip

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If you are familiar with Photoshop’s “Fade” feature, then you’re going to love this tip because Lightroom lets you do something very similar when you use the Adjustment Brush — it lets you change the overall strength of your entire adjustment after the face (this will make more sense in just a moment).

Here’s our original image, and I wanted to brighten up the yellow building on the left, and the red and orange buildings (and the white/gray wall to the left of it) as well, so I increased the Exposure, the contrast, pulled back the highlights, increased the shadows, bumped the clarity — a whole bunch of stuff using a bunch of different sliders. However, now that I look at it, it’s all looks too bright. I just want to turn down the overall “volume” of my adjustment — things are starting to look washed out. That’s where this trick comes in.

STEP ONE: See that little downward facing black triangle near the top right corner of the Adjustment Brush panel (it’s shown here circled in red).

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STEP TWO: When you click on that, it collapses the panel and tucks all the sliders out of site. It has replaced them all with just one single slider called “Amount.” It’s well named, because that single slider now controls all those adjustments you applied to those buildings. If you want to “turn them all down a little bit” at the same proportional amounts (so every slider moves together), just drag the Amount to the left. If you wanted a more intense effect, drag it to the right. OK, now let’s put it to use.

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STEP THREE: Here I’ve dragged the Amount slider from its starting amount of 36 down to  23, and as I did, all the sliders moved downward together as a group, and the buildings look brighter than the original, but not too bright like you saw in Step One where I originally painted with the Adjustment Brush.

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STEP FOUR: OK, this isn’t really a step — just a side-by-side look at what the Amount slider did, so you can see what’s happening “under the hood.” Notice how the Exposure slider, which was originally at +2.28 when I first painted with it, has been “Faded” down to +0.92. You’ll see that the same has happened with all the controls — they have moved down proportionally as I lowered the amount.

There you have it. Hope you find that helps (and thanks for all the great comments yesterday. Even if I don’t get a chance to comment, I still read every single one, and appreciate you taking the time to join in. Also, thanks to anyone who points out a big typo. I’m famous for those, especially when I write these late at night). 🙂

Best,

-Scott

Author: Scott Kelby

Scott is the President of KelbyOne, an online educational community for photographers, Photoshop and Lightroom users. He's editor and publisher of Photoshop User Magazine, Editor of "Lightroom magazine"; Conference Technical Chair for the Photoshop World Conference & Expo, and the author of a string of bestselling Photoshop, Lightroom, and photography books. You can learn more about Scott at http://scottkelby.com

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26 Comments

  1. thanks. just started sing this app along with raw images. this is definitely a powerful app!

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  2. ROF LOL; just when we think we know it all some smart fella comes along to explains we don’t know much at all 🙂

    That is a good one!

    Thanks Scott

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  3. A big thank you Scott for bringing this site alive again,it was well overdue.
    A long time user of Lightroom since the Rawshooter product,I was not aware of this tip,much appreciated.

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  4. Wow, I never knew this existed, never noticed the little downward black triangle. Thanks.

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  5. I wish we hade the same option when it comes to global settings or when applying any kind of preset. This is as far as I’m aware of only possible via 3rd party extensions.

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  6. Hi Scott – This is the quintessential quick tip – I have been a LR user for many years, and I never knew about this functionality – It seems useful – thank you.

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  7. “out of site” —> out of sight

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  8. In your first paragraph you have “face” where you want “fact”. You asked for it! Nice tip, though.

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  9. Wow, didn’t even noticed it was there. Great tip Scott.

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  10. Great tip – thank you!

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  11. Scott, would this be a typo? Very first paragraph:
    “…it lets you change the overall strength of your entire adjustment after the face…”
    Should that be after the fact instead of face?

    Please know I wouldn’t have commented but you did mention typos!

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  12. Lets ‘face’ it, Scott, you did in ‘fact’ have a typo.

    Doesn’t diminish the value of the tip, though!

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  13. I want to try this in combination with the radial filter. I think it might be easier and more precise than layering radials. It would be particularly good if there are irregular shapes needing minor adjustments to be able to easily dial up or down an adjustment.

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  14. Don’t know it it’s a ‘big’ typo, but
    ” it lets you change the overall strength of your entire adjustment after the face (this will make more sense in just a moment.”

    should probably be changed to “after the ‘fact'” and add the trailing ‘)’.

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  15. Nice tip, however, there is no red circle in the first image of the adjustment panel like you mentioning your article. No quite a typo but…

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  16. You can do the same by just grabbing the pin and dragging left and right to increase and decrease no?

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  17. How did I not know this? I have been using Lightroom since its inception and consider myself an advanced user. Thanks Scott , I guess one can never stop learning new things !

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  18. Great tip. I have spent hours readjusting sliders. Can’t wait to use this. But, I must say that “after the face” thing never did make more sense!😉

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  19. You just completely blew my pixels. I had no idea that was there.

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  20. Scott, I thought I had a fair working knowledge of Lightroom’s Develop module…until today! Today’s tip is really, really, really, REALLY helpful. Shame on me for not looking at all sliders and those black triangle thing-ies! As for future tips, how about basic print module stuff…Lightroom handles printing a little differently than Photoshop. Keep the tips coming!

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  21. Wow – I’ve been using LR from the initial release of LR3 and I’ve never spotted this. Julieanne Kost once described something similar by scrubbing the pins to the left & right, but I never, never knew there was a slider. Awesome tip, what a fabulous resource this blog is going to become. And, if you have a copy of Jay’s book to give away here…. I’d LOVE one 🙂 [note: Jay’s book….I read your blog, too, every morning here in the UK, which must mean you write these very early in Florida time!].

    Stay fit & well Scott, you are a true blessing to the photographic community across the globe, we have no idea how a mere human can achieve what you do. Blessings to you.

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  22. Hi Scott! Wow, what a great tip! When I run into these situations, I always jumped over to PS. Now, one less step!

    Thanks,

    Dennis

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  23. Great quick tip again Scott thank you. I think a good topic for a tutorial would be using a Wacom Tablet with Lightroom i.e. How to use adjustment brush sensitivity options

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    • great tip. ran into the problem a couple of days ago

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