This is a guest post by John DiStefano of Bayville, NJ on masking windows in Lightroom CC. Click the GIF to the right to see John's example images.
Recently, I was playing around with Lightroom CC and learned how to fine-tune a masked area and have greater control with the new Range Mask tool using both color and Luminance masks to help target areas within a mask to apply specific effects. I thought this might be a great way to do window pulls instead of going back and forth to PS, or dealing with flash. Here is a quick summary of what I found that yields pretty good, quick results that you don't have to apply highlight correction to the entire room and avoids the dark areas around the window frame and mullions. Perhaps the readers can improve on the process. The example I used was a 3 shot bracket, 2 stops apart, that created an HDR merged image within Lightroom. These images start out looking very flat but have tons of room for adjustments.
Here are the steps:
- Draw your mask around the window in question using the adjustment brush/gradient filter/radial filter. I used the adjustment brush. (Select "Show selected mask overlay" to help) This mask can be rather rough. Don't worry much about getting the mask on the walls or curtains, frame, etc.
- Select the new feature Range Mask: Luminance Mask.
- Below the Range Mask selector, a few new tools will pop up: Show Luminance mask, Range and Smoothness sliders.
- Grab the left slider on the on the Range tool, (this corresponds to the black tones on the left side of the histogram) and push it to the right until you see the mask disappearing and only masking the window perhaps into the 80s. Push it too far and all the mask will fade away
- Grab the smoothness slider and push it almost all the way to the left to fine tune. You should now be left with a mask that only effects the window glass. Sometimes, some areas within the mask are quite difficult to highlight due to their luminance I suppose. These can be addressed using the Color Range mask. If there are still some stubborn areas that are masked, you can select the Erase brush and fine tune.
- Now you can start selecting the local adjustments. Deselect "Show selected mask" overlay and add in your adjustments. Temp, Highlights, Dehaze, Saturation, etc.
The results look pretty good; you have full control as to how much you want to pull and you can do it all within Lightroom.