There are numerous ways to employ masks when editing images in Lightroom, some more complicated that others, and we’ve covered many of them in the past. Today you’ll learn a short and sweet trick that delivers big results in hurry.
The topic of this five-minute episode from image-editing expert Anthony Morganti is “intersecting masks,” what this accomplishes, and how to get the job done fast. As he says, “this is something important and very useful.“
Morganti pulls up a pretty seaside shot with a small sailboat on the shore. He did some basic editing earlier, and now he wants to further improve the image with the use of two types of masks. His goal is to add a mask over the boat to brighten it up, and then use a mask over the sky for a bit of added drama.
A problem occurs when he applies a Subject mask to the boat. The boat is only partially selected, and a portion of the surrounding area also falls within the mask—an imprecise result that Morganti didn’t intend. As a result, he needs to both add and subtract from the mask. He tackles the latter task first with a brush.
Morganti then uses a second mask for the sky so he can make the enhancements he desires. He tries a few quick adjustments to achieve the dramatic look he wants. But here’s the catch: he’s simply not satisfied with the result.
Now comes the meat of the tutorial as Morganti says, “What I can do is intersect the sky mask with a linear gradient that is upside down.” Wait. What? This may sound a bit crazy until you hear Morganti’s explanation: “When you intersect masks, your adjustment will only be applied to the portions of the two masks that overlap.” Hence the sky mask avoids the sailboat.
Now this quick trick makes a lot more sense, right? Best yet, this technique is very simple to accomplish by following Morganti’s instructions. And the final image looks fantastic.
You can learn more about all things Adobe by visiting Morganti’s instructional YouTube channel. So go there often to see what’s new.
And for another easy editing technique that pays big dividends, check out our tutorial explaining how to use Lightroom’s Healing tools to remove dust and other distracting elements from photos.