Updated mask / selection tools in Lightroom and Photoshop. Note from reader Radozhiva

Material on Adobe Lightroom Classic specially for Radozhiva prepared Alexander Onishchenko (facebook).

Updated mask / selection tools in Lightroom and Photoshop. Note from reader Radozhiva

Updated mask / selection tools in Lightroom and Photoshop. Note from reader Radozhiva

Good time, readers of Radozhiva! I am with you, Alexander Onishchenko.

The main event of the last week in the world of photo processing software was the renewal by Adobe of its photo flags: Lightroom and Photoshop. There are several changes, but the main one is undoubtedly a radical update of the tools for creating masks / selections. The very concept of their work has changed. It is a rare case when almost everyone who writes about these programs has accepted the changes with enthusiasm. Perhaps me too.

Before talking about specific tools, you should understand how the concept of working with selections has changed, which we will do in this publication. And in the next one, I'll go into more detail about the capabilities and interface of the new tools in Lightroom.

Selection tools have been present in Lightroom for a long time, there were three of them: a Graduated Filter, a Radial Filter and an Adjustment Brush. They worked great, but did not allow, say, the border of the sky to be distinguished against the background of trees with foliage. Adobe understood this, and in the fall of 2017, they expanded the functionality of these tools by adding the ability to modify an already created selection by applying automatic masking by brightness or color.

This approach was limited, so in October 2021 the concept was changed. Lightroom now has eight standalone selection tools (Figure 02):

Fig. 02

Fig. 02

  1. Select Subject
  2. Select Sky
  3. Brush
  4. Linear Gradient
  5. Radial Gradient
  6. Color Range
  7. Luminance Range
  8. Depth Range

The first two are the new AI-powered automated tools from Adobe AI Sensei that make it faster, easier, and more accurate to select / mask an object or sky.

Tools XNUMX through XNUMX are the familiar brush, linear gradient, and radial gradient. Their names have changed, but the functions of each tool remain the same.

Tools six through eighth also existed in Lightroom Classic v10, but only as an option for modifying the masks created with tools three through five.

The Depth Range tool will most likely be inactive for you, because works only for RAW cameras that support this option.

Any of these tools can be applied alone, or in any combination with others. If you create several different selections, you can define three different ways for them to interact: Add, Subtract and Intersect.

For those to whom these terms are not obvious, I have prepared their visualization (animated slides 03, 04 and 05).

“Add” two selections:

Fig. 03

Fig. 03

Subtract two selections:

Fig. 04

Fig. 04

"Intersect" (intersection) of two selections:

Fig. 05

Fig. 05

Thus, we have eight independent tools that can interact in three different ways. This organization of masking makes it extremely flexible and allows you to work quickly and accurately.

I will demonstrate this in practice. In fig. 06 Two people are photographed in front of a brightly lit post office. The brightness of the background interferes with the perception of the characters' faces. Objective: to select the wall in order to darken it a little and slightly reduce the saturation. People in the foreground do not require correction:

Fig. 06

Fig. 06

Previously, the problem could be solved by painting a selection with a brush with the “Auto Mask” option active. Or stretch the gradient from top to bottom to the entire wall, and then with a brush in the “Erase” mode, remove the selection from the heads of people. The disadvantage of both methods is manual work with a brush, which takes both time and skill.

Now I will demonstrate the capabilities of the updated tools:

  1. Apply the Select Subject tool. It automatically, quickly and accurately selects both shapes on the PCB.
  2. Invert the resulting selection. Now we have the entire frame selected, excluding the shapes.
  3. Click on the Subtract button and select the Linear Gradient tool. Drag it from bottom to top, highlighting everything below the top edge of the snow-covered board behind the people. With the specified method of interaction (Subtract), the selection created in this step will be subtracted from the selection created in step 2. As a result, we will get an accurate selection of the wall in the background that does not affect people. No manual brushwork was required.

All stages of the process are demonstrated by an animated slide 07. For convenience, its frames are numbered from 1 to 7:

Fig. 07

Fig. 07

It is clear that Select Subject and Select Sky, like any automatic tools, do not always provide the perfect result. However, in the overwhelming majority of cases, their work is quite satisfactory. In fig. 08 shows the selection created by Select Subject, and the inset shows a fragment of the girl's shoulder on a large scale. It can be seen that LR successfully coped with even such a difficult task:

Fig. 08

Fig. 08

Complexity ends where understanding begins. I hope that the information provided will help you quickly understand the new version of the tools. In the next post, I will describe in detail the interface and operation of the Luminance Range and Color Range tools.

PS The head figure of the publication shows the moment of creating a selection using the Luminance Range. Here is a larger version of it:

Fig. 09

Fig. 09

You will find more materials from readers of Radozhiva here.

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Comments: 10, on topic: Updating mask / selection tools in Lightroom and Photoshop. Note from reader Radozhiva

  • Seladir

    Very interesting functions, I want to update, but has anyone encountered any unpleasant bugs of version 11 or is the release stable and you can not wait until it is "infused"?

    • Alexander Onishchenko

      Studying new items, I have been working intensively in LR 11 for several days. I have not noticed any bugs. In addition, it is faster than 10, which is very noticeable immediately after the transition.

      In addition, when converting the catalog, its old version is also saved, which, if necessary, makes it easy to roll back.

    • Sergei

      The main thing is to start after installation.
      At me (and many others) at startup it gives: "Error:" The entry point to the Set ThreadDescription procedure was not found in the DLL C: \ Program Files \ Adobe \ Adobe Lightroom Classic \ Headlights.dll. " As I understand it, it depends on the features (versions, assemblies, etc.) of Windows.
      Another point - if you want your catalog of version 10 to “pick up” and convert to version 11, then IF some window pops up, click “Buy”, then the catalog is converted.

    • Nicholas

      Alexander, thanks for the articles (without them I would have simply missed the novelty). Sat on top of 10 perfectly. There are really a lot of new "goodies". Works noticeably faster than 10k.

      • Alexander Onishchenko

        Glad if it was helpful. As they say "Don't switch!" :O)

  • Seladir

    A separate like for a historical photo.

    • Alexander Onishchenko

      Yes, we talked a little.

  • love

    Please tell me how to make sure that when choosing a brush, it remains selected and does not close when I go to the next photo ?. On the old lightroom it was like this, if you do not press the word ready, then you can go through all the photos with one brush at once ... and now I have to go in and select it again every time ... I got used to performing the same action on all photos with one brush at once ... and now every time she closes the window with these masks and you have to press the plus sign or a brush and select a brush after each photo .... did not find any setting to somehow disable it ((

    • Alexander Onishchenko

      I'm not sure I understood you correctly, Love. Contact me through the message on my page (link at the beginning of the publication). I think I can help you.

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