Adjustment BrushesLightroom Tips

A Quick (but very powerful) Adjustment Brush Tip


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).


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.


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.


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). 🙂