Adjust Exposure With Range Masks in Lightroom - - Windows Tips and Tricks with Geek

Monday, September 20, 2021

Adjust Exposure With Range Masks in Lightroom


Adobe Lightroom app shown in a tablet

Creating Your Range Mask

To create a new gradient and apply it to the entire image, click the gradient tool in the upper right-hand toolbar, right underneath the histogram readout. It looks like a rectangle with a solid, white border.

Create a new gradient outside of your photo by clicking and dragging in the grey area next to the image you’re working on. It doesn’t matter how wide it is, as long as it’s outside the image. You can see the mask I created outside the border of my image here.

Since your gradient isn’t placed over any area of the image, Lightroom will apply any adjustments you make in this gradient to the entire photo you’re working on.

After you’ve done that, you’ll want to make your gradient filter a range mask. To do that, find the Range Mask option at the bottom of the gradient settings panel. Change it from “Off” to “Luminance.” This will turn your gradient into a range mask that only affects the exposure of the image, not the color.

Once you’ve set the mask, you’ll need to be able to see it so you can target which areas it will affect. To do that, click Show Luminance Mask. At first, the entire image will turn red, because the mask will be covering everything since the entire range of luminance is selected — everything from bright to dark.

Adjusting this luminance range mask will let you target the highlights or shadows of your image, and it’s super easy to dial in. Just go to the Range slider and bring one end or the other down until the mask (shown by the red overlay) is only covering the shadows or highlights.

An image with a luminance range mask applied. “Show mask” is turned on, and no adjustments have been made yet.

The right end of the slider is your highlight point, and the left end is your shadows. Moving either one of those points will change the range of luminance that the mask covers.

So if you bring down the highlight point from the far right end of the slider, the mask will gradually begin to cover a darker range until it only covers the shadows. You can do the same thing for the highlights. To get a more natural transition between the masked area and the rest of the image, play with the Smoothness slider.

Here I’ve adjusted the luminance mask to only apply to the deepest shadows, so only those areas are in red.

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