The Brush and Color Picker in LR
I’m playing around more with Lightroom (and at times PS) in my confinement and I thought others might be interested in knowing more about how to use the brush and the color picker in LR. I’ve used this tool in the past to add color for a variety of reasons.
I’ll take a guess that a lot of people who use LR don’t know how to use the brush to add color to an image. There are multiple uses for this, one being to add color to a sky, but also to add color as I’ve done for this horse image.
This horse image was the result of the original image being put into a sketch program that applied a BW sketch effect. I decided to add brown to the horse in the front using the brush tool in LR to apply a brown color. This image seemed to be excellent for this tutorial.
Click on the brush tool and go to the bottom where the Color box is located. Click on the Color box and a color picker box will pop up. It’s important to note that the LR color picker box does not simply add the color you pick. The color picker works on the RGB color wheel premise. Knowing the RGB color wheel and how the colors work together is important in photography. In this case, as my image has no other color, the color picker will paint a color close to the color of my choice. But, the color picker is limited in its choices.
I choose a color between red and yellow because that is as close to brown as I can get with the color picker and brown is what I want. Even then, the color on the image comes out more red than I want. I use exposure, black and white to find the brown tone I want for the horse. Adding black to any color darkens it and adding white to any color lightens it. This is a basic color class for artists and one that I had to take to get my A.A. in Photography: Fine Art at my local junior college.
Before I first painted the color I checked to ensure that my brush tool was at 0 feathering and 100 flow for this use and this creates a hard color at 100%. If you have used the brush tool before you know that it will set a pin for this application. I work with the exposure setting, taking it down to -1.17, the Black slider, taking it down to -24, and the White slider, taking it down to -23, to achieve the color I want by simply looking at the image as it changes color.
If I overpaint on the image I use the Erase tool at the bottom of the brush box to erase, setting my Feathering and Flow for the Erase tool as needed, with flow generally set at 100 to erase everything quickly and feathering set at around 20 to have a softer edge as I erase. As I paint I can also use Command Z to back out the last stroke if I don’t like what happened with the stroke. I usually use, instead of clicking on Erase, the Option key and while holding it down I can erase; I can move from erase to painting without incident by simply letting go of the option key. I can view a mask at any point, the O key, as in the letter O, (a toggle), adds a mask in whatever color I've chosen and helps to show me if I need to clean up any of the lines.
The paint tool was set at 100 flow for most of the painting. But, some areas need less flow so I can simply change the flow from 100 to, in this case, 42, and then go over each of the other areas as I want, putting a lighter hue of the same color. If the brush is not set at 100 this allows me to paint in layers as needed, but each time I paint I am adding color and, at some point, I will have added color to the 100 level. I use this lighter effect on the mane and the top of the ears and smooth the color in. I erase some of the color, but not all of it, from the eye of the horse by clicking on option for the erase tool but using less flow than 100: I set the flow to 72 for the eye. There is no formula for these settings, it’s all by viewing the image to see if what you get is what you want.
Using the brush tool with the Color picker box is learned by experimenting with the tool to see what happens. Using all of the settings will help you to achieve the look you want.