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How to Get More Than 100% Out of Any Adjustment Brush Effect

Let’s say you feel like a particular part of your photo needs more Clarity, so you’ve set the Clarity slider to 100 and painted over that part of your image. You look at that area and think, “Even though I painted with the slider at 100%, I still need more!” (Basically, you need your amp to go to 11. :) Here’s what to do (it’s a trick I picked up from my buddy, Matt Kloskowski, which he calls “double stacking” and it really works great!):

Step One:

Here’s the image we want to work on, and our goal is to bring out extra detail in the headlamps of the car. So, go ahead and get the Adjustment Brush (K), click on the + (plus sign) button to the right of the Clarity slider (to reset all the other sliders to 0), and then drag just that Clarity slider way over to +100. Next, fully paint over just the two circular headlamps. Now, if you think they still need more detail to really make them “pop,” but you’ve already painted with your Clarity maxed out at +100, what do you do? You can’t drag the slider over to +200 or anything like that, right? Well, not without a workaround anyway.

Step Two:

Click the New radio button at top of the Adjustment Brush panel, and you’ll notice that your Clarity is still set to +100. Now, all you have to do is paint over that same area again—just start your brush stroke in a different place along the headlamps and now you’re stacking a second pass of Clarity on that same area (so you have two pins on this area now: the original pin where you applied 100% Clarity, and now a second pin with another 100% Clarity on top of that). Basically, you’ve got 200% Clarity applied on those headlamps. Of course, this doesn’t just work for Clarity—it works for any of the sliders here in the Adjustment Brush panel.

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