Working with Local Areas: Masking and the Undo Brush

Working with Local Areas: Masking and the Undo Brush



The subject of working with localized areas came up the other day, and I decided it might make a good video tutorial.

Using local areas is accomplished through masking or the Undo Brush, or a combination of both.  Each has their advantages, and both have a lot of flexibility.

Though the Undo Brush and Masking has been covered in many Sagelight Video Tutorials, this video discusses using them in the context of specifically working with more localized areas of your image.  For example, if you want to increase the light on a certain area while leaving others alone, or increase the local contrast or sharpness in other areas, you can do all of this with the tools explained in the tutorial.


Lightroom Adjustment Brushes

The issue of Lightroom Adjustment Brushes came up on the discussion board as part of the same conversation.

To clarify and to add perspective, Lightroom Adjustment brushes are along the same concept lines as the functions presented in this video: working with localized areas of your image vs. the entire image.

As far as I know, Sagelight’s local controls predate Lightroom’s adjustment controls, working along more traditional masking lines.


Tutorial Sections

The tutorial is split into a few different sections…

Masking with the Draw Mask Brush

This section shows using the Draw Mask brush to draw your own mask.  Since most masking is about blending, you don’t need to be too careful with your brush strokes.   When you’ve drawn a mask, you can then use the dynamic Feather and Range sliders to control the mask and shape it closer to your selection, or to widen the scope and blend the mask more evenly.

Using All Controls in the Mask / Dynamic Controls and Masking

When you mask an object, you can use all of the controls in the main Quick Edit Pane, to adjust brightness, saturation, curves, etc.

You can change the settings dynamically, as well as change the mask dynamically also.  You can change the shape of the mask and add or subtract to it while you are using the controls.  This gives you a lot of power and flexibility in defining your mask.

Using the Undo Brush

The Undo Brush allows you to do even more.  While – at first – not as localized as masking, the Undo Brush gives you even more power, allowing you to either blend back the original image, or to start with the original image and blend in your changes.

The video shows how the Undo Brush is in the same scenario as the masking, but much quicker and in a more freestyle and artistic setting. 

Even though you can change the shape of the mask, it tends to remain relatively static. The Undo Brush, by contrast, allows you to blend back images from an image-wide perspective, allowing you to work with a brush on the entire set of changes.

Using Masking (Instead of the Undo Brush) for specific areas

The video shows a scenario where masking makes more sense over using the Undo Brush.  The examples shows highlighting the eyes, where it makes more sense to localize the area so that only the area you have masked changes, making it easier to see the effect in the image.

The video also shows how the masking controls can help you shape the mask while you’re using the controls.

Using the Undo Brush for Specific Purposed (such as Dodge and Burn)

The video discusses using the Undo Brush with functions that help make them even better.  For example, the Dodge and Burn brush is sometimes much better suited towards making large changes and then using the Undo Brush to keep what you like, or to remove the overflow from the brush – the video shows that using smaller brushes in the Dodge and Burn is not necessarily as useful as using a large brush.

This can also be true of many other functions – the basic idea is that the Undo Brush gives you the flexibility to not have to be precise at all with any given function.


Using the Automated Masking Tools to Help You Define a Selection

For more precise selections, the video shows how you can use the automatic mask selection tools in Sagelight help refine your mask for very precise shapes.



The Undo Brush and Sagelight Masking are very powerful elements in Sagelight, much more so than discussed in this tutorial.  See other tutorials on the Sagelight You Tube Page for more information about these tools.

This video concentrates on using masking and the Undo Brush to work with local areas in your image.

Using the masking allows you to work with specific local areas of your image, using any control in the main Quick Edit Panel, only changing the areas of the mask.  You can change the shape of the mask and use the controls dynamically, which gives the masking a lot of flexibilty.

With the Undo Brush, you can do even more, since you can blend with any previous image in the history state with a brush, making it more freestyle and less constricted than a static mask.

The video shows many different examples of using both the masking and the Undo Brush, separately and together.

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