Ingenious Ways to Create a Lightroom Mask

To produce great photography with Lightroom, you need to learn to create a Lightroom mask or selection. It’s a crucial image editing skill. Historically if you wanted to create a detailed or precise mask, you had to use Photoshop. You probably had to use complex techniques like channel and luminosity masking; techniques not everyone wanted to learn.

In the past couple of year, the Lightroom selection tools have begun to evolve. The most recent addition is the Color and Luminosity Range Masks. This has literally transformed the masking capabilities of Lightroom. Despite these improvement, the best way to create detailed or complex masks in Lightroom isn’t always obvious.

Here, I’ve pulled together a few of my You Tube videos to demonstrate how to quickly create masks and selections in Lightroom. These will help you understand what’s possible with the masking tools. You should also get some new ideas about how to create better selections with existing tools.

The Luminosity Range Mask

Lightroom CC 2018 saw the release of the Luminosity Range Mask as part of the Graduated Filter, Radial Filter and Adjustment Brush tools. Having created a selection, you could adjust this to target certain tones. For example, if select an area with one of the tools, you can remove any of the shadow tones from the selection.

Watch the video to understand the Luminosity Range Mask controls. This is a good video to help understand the features and options when using this tool.



The Lightroom Mask Brush

Historically, when you applied the Graduated Filter or Radial Filter, there weren’t many options to refine the selection. You could rotate, move and adjust the feather of selections, but that was about the limit. Then Adobe added the Mask Brush. This can use to manipulate selections by adding or removing areas. At first few people who the power of this new feature and its launch went relatively unnoticed. Even today, many Lightroom users don’t know the Mask Brush even exists.

In this video we look at how to use the Mask Brush with the Graduated Filter tool. We use it here to create a custom and very detailed selection around a large rocky area. The precision that’s achieved is quite surprising.



Creating a Complex Lightroom Mask

This video demonstrates several tools and techniques you can use to create a very precise and complex selection of a tree. This allows you to apply adjustments to the tree and foreground separately from the background sky. The video covers Lightroom’s Color Range Mask and the Graduated Filter with Mask Brush. It also demonstrates how to use the traditional Adjustment Brush to make perfect selections with a couple of clicks.



How to use the Lightroom Adjustment Brush

This video shows how you can use the Lightroom Adjustment Brush for challenging selections. The example used is a tree set against a complicated background. Using only the tools in the Adjustment Brush it’s possible to select the tree, separating it from the background. The video also demonstrates how to optionally use Color Range Mask to improve results.



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