Editing with Brushes & Filters in Lightroom

Does Lightroom Have Filters

Basics of Editing with Brushes, Radial Filters & Graduated Filters in Lightroom

Lightroom’s adjustment brush tool, radial filters and gradient filters are the perfect way to add a certain effect to a specific area of a photo.

When I want to make a change to a smail area of a photo, I use the adjustment brush.  Brushes are applied on very specific areas of you photo — wherever you brush!

And when I want to make a change to a larger area of a photo (but not the ENTIRE photo), I choose either the graduated filter or radial filter.  Radial filters are circular filters.  Graduated filters are applied in straight lines.

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Where to Find your Brush and Filter Tools

The brush and filter tools are located on the right side of the Develop Module just under the Histogram.

Lightroom Filters

Lightroom comes with a FEW default brushes and filters that you can apply to your photos, however you will have a LOT MORE OPTIONS once you purchase and install any of the Pretty Preset brushes that are included with many of their preset collections. Once you have the brushes or filters installed they will be accessible through these tools.

How to apply filters in Lightroom

To use a brush, click on the brush tool and then click on the words (and double arrow) next to the word “Effect”.  A list of the brushes or filters you installed will pop up and you can choose the one you want.  The graduated and radial filter tools are accessed the same way.

The radial filter, graduated filter, and adjustment brush have almost all the same settings and a very similar look.  Also keep in mind that you can use the brush effects from the Perfect Portrait Brushes as graduated or radial filters.   And the opposite is also true – you can brush on effects found in the Graduated Filter Toolbox.

How to Apply Multiple Effects

You can apply multiple brushes or filters to the same photo.  Its simple.  All you need to do is click the word “New” in between each brush or filter that you want to apply.

How to use filters in Lightroom

New Radial & Graduated Filter Brush Feature

Starting with Lightroom 6 and now in Lightroom CC (Creative Cloud), Adobe added a fantastic new Brush feature that can be used in conjuction with the graduated and radial filters.  This new tool allows you to remove the effect you applied with one of these filters from specific areas where you didn’t want it applied.

It is such a handy tool and it makes customizing Pretty Preset’s Luminous Collection & Illuminate Collection presets a breeze!  Follow along to see exactly how this new feature works and/or check out the video at end of this tutorial if you are more of a visual learner!

Sun Flare Lightroom Presets

1. Click on the Graduated Filter or Radial Filter

To find the Filter Brush Tool, you will have to first click on either the Graduated Filter or the Radial Filter, however the filter brush tool WON’T be available for you to click on until you have a Radial Filter or Graduated Filter activated on your photo!

2. Click on One of the Graduated Filter or Radial Filter Pins/Circles

To activate a Radial or Graduated Filter, click on one of the PINS or circles.  Follow the steps in the image below to use and activate the new Filter Brush tool:

  1. Highlight the Brush option at the top of the filter panel.
  2. New options will appear at the bottom of the panel.
  3. By default, the brush will be loaded with the same settings used in the Radial or Graduated Filter, so brush on your image where you would like to add the effect.

How to Use Filters in Lightroom

3. Select the Erase Brush & Brush Off the Effect

To erase part of a Graduated or Radial filter from a portion of the image, highlight the ERASE Brush.  Then brush over the area of your image where you don’t want the effect to show on your image.

You can also add more of the Graduated Filter or Radial Filter effect to your image by highlighting the A or B Brushes.

How to Add Filter in Lightroom

4. Use the Mask Overlay

There are times when you will definitely want to utilize the mask overlay when using brush and filters.  The mask overlay shows all the areas where the effect you have added is being applied to your image.  This can be very helpful since without this visual it would be difficult to know exactly where you have brushed or erased.

To see the Graduated Filter or Radial Filter overlay while you are working, type the “O” key on your keyboard or check “Show Selected Mask Overlay” in the toolbar below your image. The overlay will show as red, but realize that this color isn’t actually ON your image.

Lightroom Basics

If you are more of a visual learner, make sure to watch the videos below where we show you exactly how to use these tools to edit your photos in Lightroom:

Using the Brush & Graduated Filter Tools

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How to Use the Filter Brush Tool to Add & Erase in Lightroom

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Do you have any questions or comments about Editing with Brushes & Filters in Lightroom?  Just leave us a comment below – we would LOVE to hear from you!  And PLEASE SHARE this post using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!

Clean & Colorful Lightroom Presets

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