Adobe recently added two new AI Masks to Lightroom 12.3 (and Camera Raw). Unfortunately, one performs just fine, but the other “works terribly” according to the trustworthy Photoshop Café YouTube channel. There is, however, a quick fix, as you’ll see in the tutorial below.
Photographer Colin Smith is one of our favorite image-editing instructors and he explains that both new AI-based masks are intended to make processing portrait photos faster and more efficient than ever. And that is quite true as long as you follow his advice.
The first masking tool is a big help for subjects with facial hair. Smith says it works pretty well, and he demonstrates a few tricks to make it function even better. The other new tool is designed for working on the model’s clothing. Unfortunately, Smith says this one is a mess “out-of-the-box,” but he demonstrates how to make it perform as intended.
Smith begins with the Facial Hair Mask, and walks you through the process. He pulls up a nice portrait of a male model with a full beard to demonstrate how this feature works—with an interesting twist. Once you choose Develop the AI-magic begins.
First you grab a mask by clicking on the icon at the top right of the screen, and then you select your subject. Next you select Facial Hair from a list of options (if the person in the image doesn’t have a hairy face, that choice is absent).
Now Smith demonstrates the step-by step method for editing the image in whatever way you desire. You can adjust variables like exposure, clarity, and a host of other variables. You can even make the beard smoother or give it a dramatic “wiry look.”
So far so good. But now it’s time for the Select Clothes tool, which appears lower down in the list of masking options mentioned earlier. When Smith first opened this up, he asked himself, “Why did they even ship this?” because the resulting mask is so sloppy.
Fortunately, it only takes Smith three minutes to set things straight and demonstrate the best way to use the tool now that’s it’s working well. There’s much more to learn on Smith’s instructional YouTube channel, so be to take a look—especially when you run into a snag.
We also recommend watching the tutorial we posted recently from another expert, explaining the best way to use Lightroom presets. And you’ll be able to download some for free!