Lightroom Tip of the Day. Adjustment Brush Tools – Creating Bokeh. Part 4
by Peter Zack
We’ve decided to start a new series of Lightroom (LR) tips here on EtL. You will find all of these in our menu above. Look for “lessons” and find ‘Lightroom tip of the day’ in the scroll down menu.
So here’s tip #5 :
You will see from this section that the previous ones come into play here, namely using the hand tool to move around an image while zoomed in. Here we are going to take an image and create bokeh (out of focus area) in a selected region of a photo where little or none exists. This can be done in Photoshop using the Gaussian blur but then you have to save the shot and reopen it in PS to finish the editing. Where can this technique be used? You can soften skin or retouch features/blemishes or isolate the area you want to be in clear focus. You can also lighten or darken the selected area to make the subject pop. Inversely, you could lighten the subject. We’re going to show some of this in a video below to demonstrate how it works.
Tip 5: To see what you are doing, you need to use the mask. It’s a small check box (in develop module) in the lower part of the LR screen. If at first the auto mask doesn’t seem to show anything, you can change the colour by holding down the shift key and pressing the letter “O” where it will alternate through a few colours. Of course it won’t show anything until you start using the adjustment brush which activates a layer in LR.
Here we’ll take a photo of yours truly and blur the background further than it already is. You could also use these techniques to completely black out or darken the background if that’s what you want the end result to be. Open the Adjustment brush tool drawer and reset the controls (see tip 2). We only want to use the Clarity slider in this adjustment (you can also use the Sharpening slider as well but it will have less effect). Move the slider to -100. Adjust the Flow to get the opacity you need to see the background and how much the effect adjusts the selected portion of the photo. For this example, I’m putting the flow at 75%. If it’s 100%, your going to have a difficult time erasing the sections you used the tool on the subject because you can’t see them.
First you want to mask the background from the sharper subject. Select the size you need the tool to be and reduce the feather enough that you can tightly use the tool around the edge of the subject. If you make a mistake and mask part of the subject, just later go back and use the erase tool to remove that part of the mask. If you really mess it up or are just learning to do this, you can erase the entire mask by simply selecting the Pin and hitting delete on the keyboard.
Once the entire region to be blurred is selected, then adjust the clarity to your liking. In the video clip below, I’ll adjust the exposure just to show you the effect a bit more dramatically.
*Title photo provided by Dave Hollander
- Lightroom Tip of the Day. Adjustment Brush Tools – Zooming. Part 3
- Lightroom Tip of the Day. Adjustment Brush Tools – Reset Sliders and Pins. Part 2
- Lightroom Tip of the Day – Part 1, Selecting Photos.
- Photoshop Editing Technique 3 – Creating an Action, Watermarking an Image
- Are You Bokeh?
Tags: Adobe, Editing Tips, Lightroom 3, Lightroom Tips, Lightroom Tutorial, Photography, Photoshop, Software, Tutorial