How to Add Mask to Adobe Lightroom Classic

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You can get the most out of the Adobe Lightroom Classic by combining different masking techniques for highly selected adjustment areas before bringing your work into Photoshop. Here we will see how to combine (or combine) masks in Lightroom Classic.

Integrated masks in Adobe Lightroom Classic

In 2021, Lightroom Classic brought a lot of updates and new masking tools. Items that people used to use as work – such as gradient range masks – now have dedicated tools. You also have the option of applying masks, including AI options such as “Select a subject.” Here, though, we’re going to see each other shake.

The intersect function in the lightroom masking tool is a bit scary at first, but with a little practice it makes sense. Basically, it allows you to combine different types of masks to reduce the space you are adjusting.

A good way to think about this process is to make the first choice. What Then you want to put on a mask. Where You want to mix masks and apply masks in this area. You can, for example, start with a mask of a selected topic, then reduce it to include a specific part of your article that you want to adjust.

In this video tutorial by photographer Brian Matish, you can see him doing exactly that to change the color of his jacket in the photo. He first selects himself with an AI mask, then cuts it off with a color range mask and clicks on his jacket. By combining the masks, Matiash effectively minimizes the part of the image that he simply adjusts to his jacket.

Here I used a selected theme mask intertwined with a color range mask to highlight my theme jacket, then cleaned up some extra areas to reduce the selection:

The man sitting by the fountain.

The masks are easy to combine on their own. You just create a new mask, click the three dot icon to the right of the mask name, then click “Intersect Mask With”. In Lightroom Classic, you will be shown a list of mask types to combine with your existing mask.

Lightroom masking with menu "Combine the masks." Highlights, showcasing a range of options.

From there, you can be creative depending on what you want to adjust. You can change the color of the dress, add exposure, enhance the clarity, and much more.

To further narrow your choices, you can turn on the mask overlay and use a “refine” slider with some masks, such as a color range mask. To see which parts of the image are masked, hold down the option key on Mac or Alt key on Windows, then drag the slider. The image will be black and white, with the masked areas shown in white.

Lightroom Refine Slider as it appears in the program.

Another way to improve a mask once it has been added is to “add” and “disconnect” functions. Next to each mask, you will have the option to add or subtract, and you can select the brush tool to trim the parts of the selection that you do not want.

A popup menu that shows the options available in Lightroom Classic on subtraction from masks.

Keeping in mind the “what to choose first, then where to choose”, you can combine any type of mask to make your choice better.

Matish is going through another scene in his video editing the underside of the car. He starts with “what”, masks the car with a mask of a selected subject. He then fixes the mask by cutting it with a linear inclination, from which he can select the underside of the car and there is nothing in the picture. For example, you can do exactly the same thing with a radial gradient mask to select the face of a subject and then brighten it.

Be creative with masking.

Once you are familiar with the concept, you can use it for anything from changing the color of clothing to brightening someone’s eyes, and anything in between. Use some of your old photos and experiment with them in the lightroom until you take it down. If you don’t have an old photo that you can use, make it an excuse to go out and shoot!

Related: How to take good pictures of RAW.

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