13 Replies Latest reply on Oct 10, 2018 5:34 PM by WobertC

    Automask won't let me select area - cannot use at all

    justinfromtoronto Level 1

      Hello Everyone,

       

      This is my first post to the forums, so first I'd like to thank everyone for the help they've given me when I simply lurked looking for answers. This forum has been a great resource for me, since I just started using Lightroom in February.

       

      I'm posting now because I could not find an answer to my question or find anyone who has had this problem. I'm really frustrated and hope someone can help me.

       

      I just learned about the automask tool today, believe it or not, and wanted to use it in a shot of a cemetary to selectively brighten certain areas. In the past, I would take my time carefully painting along the edges or sometimes use the range mask, but the automask tool was like a gift from heaven!

       

      However, after watching a couple of tutorials, I tried to use the automask feature and found that it did not work at all. What I mean is that it would not allow me to select an area that would be my reference for the mask. I noticed in the tutorials that when you first set automask and use your paintbrush to select an area, the cursor looks a little different than the normal + or - of the brush. Instead of a + of -, the brush has a little pin until you make your selection. From what I understand, when you first select automask, you use your paintbrush to select the area that most closely resembles the area that will be your mask. However, for some reason, when I select automask, the paintbrush does not give me the ability to select an area. No matter how many times I've tried, I simply get the regular paintbrush, cannot select an area, and the result is that I cannot use the automask feature. I get the normal paintbrush and it paints everything because I am not able to select an area.

       

       

      I am going to try and embed a one-minute video I made and posted to Youtube that shows the problem better than I can explain it. I hope it works and you can see exactly what I'm dealing with and offer suggestions on how I can get the automask to work.

       

      Thank-you to everyone in advance and for all the advice and help I've received reading the forums over the last few months.

       

      Regards,

       

      Justin From Toronto

       

      *Unfortunately, it looks like the video I made of my problem was embedded right on top of the text. This is a one-minute video I made to show you exactly what is happening when I try to use the Automask feature in Lightroom. I hope the video helps to demonstrate the problem in a way that makes it clearer than my written description. Thanks again!

        • 1. Re: Automask won't let me select area - cannot use at all
          JohanEl54 Adobe Community Professional

          You misunderstand how Auto Mask works. Auto Mask will keep the brush within the color range determined by the centre (the cross) of the brush. So if you brush over a bright area, it will only select that bright area, providing that the centre of the brush does not cross the boundary between the bright area and the dark surroundings. What you were doing was brushing way beyond the bright area, so then Lightroom assumes you want to brush that part as well.

          • 2. Re: Automask won't let me select area - cannot use at all
            justinfromtoronto Level 1

            Thank-you for your reply,

             

            I do understand how the automask feature works. I've read several articles and watched numerous tutorials on how it works. My problem is that it will not allow me to select an area - light, dark, whatever. In the video, I initially selected a light area. But it did not select the area. It just left a red mark from the brush. The pin that I have seen in every tutorial that appears before you select an area does not appear for me. Only the brush. So an area was not selected, which meant that no mask was created, allowing me to paint in light, dark, medium areas. In my video, when I drag the brush all over the place, this is to demonstrate that a mask area has not been selected and my brush is painting in everything.  

             

            In the video, I used a small brush, slected a bright area, and then demonstrated that the automask was not working because it was allowing me to paint everything - dark, light, etc. The center of the brush did not cross a boundary into a dark area. I clicked once with the small brush on the light area of the tombstone. Then I used the brush to demonstrate that the automask was allowing me to paint in every area, regardless of color or brightness.

             

            My problem is not misuderstanding the way automask works. I've tried it on multiple photos, with different brush sizes, on dark areas and light areas of varying color. It doesn't matter. I cannot choose an area, no matter how small my brush is, which means that I cannot use the automask. I'm not sure why you think I brushed way beyond the bright area. I clicked once on the bright area at the middle of the tombstone, and then brushed all over the place to show that the mask had not been set. I think this might be where the misunderstanding is.

             

            Thank-you for your reply,

             

            Justin from Toronto

            • 3. Re: Automask won't let me select area - cannot use at all
              JohanEl54 Adobe Community Professional

              I'm sorry but I can only repeat what I just said. You do not 'choose an area' with auto mask. You just start painting normally, as you would also do without auto mask. The only difference is that your brush will not paint 'over the edges' when auto mask is on, as long as you stay 'inside the edges' with the centre of the brush. In your video you are clearly not doing that, and that is why it does not seem to work.

              • 4. Re: Automask won't let me select area - cannot use at all
                JohanEl54 Adobe Community Professional

                justinfromtoronto  wrote

                 

                I clicked once on the bright area at the middle of the tombstone, and then brushed all over the place to show that the mask had not been set.

                And that shows you do not understand how auto mask works. You think that you define ('set') the mask in the first click. That is not true. You are brushing a mask (the adjustment brush creates the mask). Auto mask just tries to keep the brush from going over the edges. Try it the way I described it and you will see that it works.

                • 5. Re: Automask won't let me select area - cannot use at all
                  justinfromtoronto Level 1

                  Hello,

                   

                  I understand what you are saying, but if automask works the way I have read about and seen in tutorials, and from what you are explaining, why is it painting everything? After I read your first post, I made a tiny adjustment brush and clicked just on the very brightest part of the tombstone, then continued to paint, thinking it would isolate only parts of similar or equal brightness. But it painted everything - light, dark, medium. It did not create a "mask" at all.

                   

                  I think we can both agree that automask is meant to create a mask. However, not matter how I try, I am not able to create a mask. My brush does not isolate a specific level of brightness or color and then paint in only those areas which closely match. It paints in everything, which means it's not creating a mask.

                   

                  So, even if my understanding of automask was not 100%, I still don't understand why I cannot create a mask. I have followed the instructions of four different tutorials and using automask is no different than simply painting everything. In this sense, I hope we can both agree, there is a problem because Lightroom is not creating a "mask," no matter what I do.

                   

                  Thanks for your reply,

                   

                  Justin

                  • 6. Re: Automask won't let me select area - cannot use at all
                    kentdesign Adobe Community Professional

                    JohanEl54is right. The auto Mask feature simply helps you stay within the lines of what you want to brush - it does not create the mask for you, it helps you create the mask.

                     

                    May I suggest you zoom into the area you want to mask and then use the brush to paint the area that is light? The brush should be smaller and you should try to paint just inside the borders you want to mask, as JoahnEL54 said, the cross hair of your brush should not go over the edges of the area you want masked. Also you might try reducing the size of the brush feather so it is more precise.

                     

                    Hope that helps

                    • 7. Re: Automask won't let me select area - cannot use at all
                      justinfromtoronto Level 1

                      Hello and thank-you for your reply,

                       

                      I have tried to do this and the result is the same. no matter how small my brush or whether I use a bright or dark area, the automask feature paints everything. As a result, it is useless. I tried to imitate precisely what I saw in one of the tuorials and use automask to paint in a bright sky while leaving the darker landscape below untouched. However, the brush painted in everything. I don't think this is how it's supposed to work.

                       

                      Thank-you for your suggestions,

                       

                      Justin

                      • 8. Re: Automask won't let me select area - cannot use at all
                        JohanEl54 Adobe Community Professional

                        justinfromtoronto  wrote

                         

                        Hello,

                         

                        I think we can both agree that automask is meant to create a mask.

                        No, it is not. That is exactly the point, and that is where you are going the wrong way. The mask is created with the adjustment brush. What you brush is the mask. Auto Mask only helps to stay within the boundaries. That means that you should not try this with a very small brush. Make the brush bigger!

                        • 9. Re: Automask won't let me select area - cannot use at all
                          kentdesign Adobe Community Professional

                          Did you put the feather of the brush down to 0?

                           

                          One other option to try:

                           

                          GO to the preferences for Lightroom, Presets and click restore local adjustment presets....

                           

                          Could be something is altered making your brush not work correctly.

                           

                          Then quit LR and restart (sometimes I also restart the computer to get rid of old preferences to be sure)

                          • 10. Re: Automask won't let me select area - cannot use at all
                            justinfromtoronto Level 1

                            Thank-you for your replies. I haven't been able to get the automask to work the way I have viewed in demos and articles I've read about it. It isn't making distinctions of color and luminosity and is simply painting everything.

                             

                            Thank-you to everyone for their help.

                             

                            Justin

                            • 11. Re: Automask won't let me select area - cannot use at all
                              JohanEl54 Adobe Community Professional

                              The problem is that you still expect something that auto mask does not do. What you think is that auto mask works like the color replacement brush in Photoshop. You click somewhere, the brush picks up the underlying color and brightness once, and then when you start painting it will only brush over those pixels with that color and brightness. No matter what you brush, only those pixels will be affected.

                               

                              That is not what auto mask does, however. Auto Mask constantly samples the color and brightness below the centre of the brush. Pixels of that color and brightness inside the brush circle will be selected (masked), pixels with a clearly different color and brightness will not be. That is how tauto mask helps you to stay within the edges of what you are brushing right there and then. That also means however that when you move the brush centre over an area with different pixels, those different pixels will now be sampled and selected. So if you brush ‘all over the place’, like you do in the video, then auto mask will not stop the brush at the edges of the original area. You still have to brush only the part you want to mask, and not go beyond. Auto mask only helps you to do that.

                              • 12. Re: Automask won't let me select area - cannot use at all
                                justinfromtoronto Level 1

                                I see. Thank-you for your explanation. I'll keep working with it to see if I can get it to work well.

                                 

                                Thank-you to everyone for their posts and comments.

                                 

                                Justin

                                • 13. Re: Automask won't let me select area - cannot use at all
                                  WobertC Adobe Community Professional

                                  Try this-

                                  Use a very large brush, with Auto mask 'on', and click the mouse button once briefly- you should see any area within the brush circle with the same tone as the brush centre cross-hair become selected.

                                  But the moment you drag the brush for the centre cross-hair to be on another 'tone' you will also select that tone.

                                  This is the expected result, as with all the answers given above. And this is what you are seeing in your video.

                                  ScreenShot344.jpg    ScreenShot322.jpg

                                  There is a technique used to apply an extremely large brush with Automask (a brush that covers the entire photo), and one click of the Brush on a tone will select only that tone in the entire photo. I have used it to edit tree trunks in a forest and windows in this example-

                                  justinfromtoronto

                                  ScreenShot355.jpg

                                  But again- Drag the Brush Cross-hair onto another tone and you get this-

                                  ScreenShot356.jpg