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Using the Adjustment Brush

Unlike settings chosen in the Camera Raw tabs, which apply to the overall photo, the Adjustment Brush lets you apply local adjustments to specific areas. For example, you could adjust the exposure, brightness, or color saturation of a few key details that you want to emphasize in a composition. You draw brush strokes in the preview to define which areas are to be adjusted, then you apply the correction by adjusting the sliders. If most of the sliders for this tool look familiar, it’s because they’re like the ones in the Basic tab.

To apply Adjustment Brush edits

  1. After making adjustments in the Basic and Tone Curve tabs, A click the Adjustment Brush brush.jpg (K). The sliders for the tool display. You will paint over specific areas to mask them first, then adjust the sliders for those masked areas.
  2. To “zero out” all the sliders except one to make the tool operational, click the + or – button for one of the sliders.
  3. Choose a Feather value of 60–95 to allow the edits to fade into surrounding areas. Set the Flow to 50 (for the smoothness of the stroke), and set the Density to 60 (for the level of transparency in the stroke).
  4. Check Show Mask (Y), adjust the brush size by pressing [ or ], then draw strokes over the areas of the photo that need adjustment. B A tint covers the areas that you apply strokes to.
    • The brush size is represented by the solid circle in the pointer, and the feather value is represented by the black-and-white dashed circle.
  5. Uncheck Show Mask, then move the various sliders to apply adjustments to the masked areas. A
  6. To apply an adjustment to another area of the photo, click New, then repeat steps 2–5 (AB, next page).
  • To edit an existing adjustment, click one of the pins that marks the first location you clicked (a black dot appears in the pin), then add to the mask and/or change the slider settings.
  • To show or hide all the pins, press V or check or uncheck Show Pins.

To remove Adjustment Brush edits

  1. With the Adjustment Brush tool brush.jpg selected (K), check Show Mask (Y) to display the current mask.
  2. Do either or both of the following:

    To remove adjustments locally, click an existing pin, click the Erase button, then apply strokes where you want to erase the mask.

    To remove an entire pin and its adjustments, click the pin, then press Backspace/Delete.

  • To remove all Adjustment Brush tool edits and reset the mode to New, click the Clear All button.
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