Working with Brushes

There are many controls in the Brush HUD that you can use to apply, remove, and feather brush strokes. For details, see the following sections:

Feathering Brush Strokes

In many situations, it’s best to avoid brush strokes that have hard, noticeable edges. The Brush HUD has a feathering brush that you can use to smooth the edges of previously applied brush strokes so that they blend seamlessly into the image. The feathering brush is applied to the selected brushed adjustment only.

Figure. Image before and after the edge of a previously applied brush stroke has been smoothed with the feathering brush.
To feather brush strokes
  1. Select the image with the brushed adjustment whose brush strokes you want to feather.

  2. If necessary, select the brushed adjustment in the Adjustments inspector or the Adjustments pane of the Inspector HUD, then click the Brush button in the adjustment controls.

    Figure. Brush button in the Enhance area of the Adjustments inspector.

    The Brush HUD for the adjustment appears.

  3. In the Brush HUD, click the Feather button.

    Figure. Feather button in the Brush HUD for the Enhance adjustment.
  4. Specify the diameter of the brush and its intensity using the Brush Size and Strength sliders and value sliders.

  5. Drag the brush over the edges of the previously applied brush strokes.

    Tip: When feathering brush stokes, it’s a good idea to display the brush strokes as color overlays to help identify the boundaries of each brush stroke. Then turn the color overlays off at regular intervals and visually inspect the image to ensure that the brush strokes are feathered appropriately. For more information about working with overlays, see Working with Brushed Adjustment Overlays.

The adjustment’s brush strokes are feathered, blending them into the image.

Erasing Brush Strokes

You can erase the brush strokes for any brushed adjustment applied to an image using the Eraser button in the Brush HUD. The eraser brush erases the brush strokes of the selected brushed adjustment only. The eraser brush uses the same parameters as the standard brush (Brush Size, Softness, and Strength).

Tip: You can quickly switch from the brush to the eraser by holding down the Option key. Release the Option key to switch back to the brush.

To erase brush strokes
  1. Select the image with the brushed adjustment whose brush strokes you want to erase.

  2. If necessary, select the brushed adjustment in the Adjustments inspector or the Adjustments pane of the Inspector HUD, then click the Brush button in the adjustment controls.

    Figure. Brush button in the Enhance area of the Adjustments inspector.

    The Brush HUD for the adjustment appears.

  3. In the Brush HUD, click the Eraser button.

    Figure. Eraser button in the Brush HUD for the Enhance adjustment.
  4. Specify the diameter of the brush, its softness, and its intensity using the Brush Size, Softness, and Strength sliders and value sliders.

  5. Drag the brush over the parts of the previously applied brush strokes that you want to remove.

    Tip: Some brushed adjustments are so subtle that it’s difficult to identify the boundaries of the brush strokes or even the brush strokes themselves. In some cases, one brushed adjustment can obscure another when brushed over the same area. To help identify brush strokes, it’s a good idea to use overlays. For more information, see Working with Brushed Adjustment Overlays.

The brush strokes selected with the eraser brush are erased.

If you want to remove all brush strokes for a specific adjustment that are applied to an image, you can remove them all at once using the Brush Action pop-up menu in the Brush HUD for that adjustment.

To remove all brush strokes for a specific adjustment from an image
  1. Select the image with the brushed adjustment whose brush strokes you want to remove.

  2. If necessary, select the brushed adjustment in the Adjustments inspector or the Adjustments pane of the Inspector HUD, then click the Brush button in the adjustment controls.

    Figure. Brush button in the Enhance area of the Adjustments inspector.

    The Brush HUD for the adjustment appears.

  3. In the Brush HUD, choose “Clear from entire photo” from the Brush Action pop-up menu.

    Figure. Brush Action pop-up menu in the Brush HUD for the Enhance adjustment.

All brush strokes for the selected adjustment are removed from the image.

Applying a Brushed Adjustment to the Entire Image

You can extend a brushed adjustment to the entire image if you decide that the adjustment should be applied to the entire image rather than just the area you brushed over.

To apply a brushed adjustment to the entire image
  1. Select the image with the brushed adjustment you want applied to the entire image.

  2. If necessary, select the brushed adjustment in the Adjustments inspector or the Adjustments pane of the Inspector HUD, then click the Brush button in the adjustment controls.

    Figure. Brush button in the Enhance area of the Adjustments inspector.

    The Brush HUD for the adjustment appears.

  3. In the Brush HUD, choose “Apply to entire photo” from the Brush Action pop-up menu.

    Figure. Brush Action pop-up menu in the Brush HUD for the Enhance adjustment.

The brushed adjustment’s brush strokes are removed, and the adjustment is applied to the entire image.

Inverting Brush Strokes

If you brush an adjustment over a specific area of an image and then decide that the adjustment should be removed from the area you just brushed over and applied to the rest of the image, you can invert the brush strokes.

To invert an adjustment’s brush strokes
  1. Select the image with the brushed adjustment whose brush strokes you want to invert.

  2. If necessary, select the brushed adjustment in the Adjustments inspector or the Adjustments pane of the Inspector HUD, then click the Brush button in the adjustment controls.

    Figure. Brush button in the Enhance area of the Adjustments inspector.

    The Brush HUD for the adjustment appears.

  3. In the Brush HUD, choose Invert from the Brush Action pop-up menu.

    Figure. Brush Action pop-up menu in the Brush HUD for the Enhance adjustment.

The adjustment’s brush strokes in the image are inverted.

Working with Brushed Adjustment Overlays

Overlays are useful tools for identifying where brush strokes for the selected brushed adjustment have been applied to the image. When you’ve brushed an adjustment with a subtle softness and strength over the image, it can be difficult to discern the boundaries of the brush strokes. Aperture provides several types of overlays to help you visually identify the selected brushed adjustment’s cumulative brush strokes. When you accurately identify the boundaries of a brush stroke, you can use the eraser brush to remove any parts of the brush stroke that don’t belong, and you can use the feathering brush to smooth out the edges. For more information, see Erasing Brush Strokes and Feathering Brush Strokes.

The Brush Action pop-up menu in the Brush HUD provides the following overlay options to help you with detailed brushing:

  • Color Overlay: This option displays a pink overlay over the brush strokes for the selected adjustment.
    Figure. Image showing an overlay appearing over the area of the image the adjustment was brushed on.
  • Brush Strokes: This option displays the brush strokes for the selected adjustment as pure white over a pure black background. This option provides the easiest method for identifying brush strokes that have been applied to an image. It’s a good idea to use this overlay option if you suspect that you missed a tiny part of the image when brushing. The missed portions of the image appear as black dots or lines.
    Figure. Image showing a white overlay appearing over the area of the image the adjustment was brushed on, with the rest of the image appearing as solid black.
  • On Black: This option displays a pure black mask over the image, with the brush strokes revealing the image beneath. This option is useful for showing detailed brush strokes over a bright area in the image.
    Figure. Image showing a black overlay appearing over the area of the image the adjustment was not brushed on, revealing the area of the image the adjustment was brushed on.
  • On White: This option displays a pure white mask over the image, with brush strokes revealing the image beneath. This option is useful for detailed brush strokes over dark areas in the image.
    Figure. Image showing a white overlay appearing over the area of the image the adjustment was not brushed on, revealing the area of the image the adjustment was brushed on.
To apply an overlay for a brushed adjustment to an image
  1. Select the image with the brushed adjustment whose brush strokes you want to view as an overlay.

  2. If necessary, select the brushed adjustment in the Adjustments inspector or the Adjustments pane of the Inspector HUD, then click the Brush button in the adjustment controls.

    Figure. Brush button in the Enhance area of the Adjustments inspector.

    The Brush HUD for the adjustment appears.

  3. In the Brush HUD, choose an overlay option from the Overlay section of the Brush Action pop-up menu.

    Figure. Overlay options in the Brush Action pop-up menu in the Brush HUD.

The chosen overlay appears on the image, displaying the brush strokes for the selected brushed adjustment.

To turn an overlay off
  • In the Brush HUD, choose None from the Overlay section of the Brush Action pop-up menu.

Limiting the Tonal Range of Brushed Adjustments

You can limit the adjustment you’re about to brush on an image to a specific tonal range using the Brush Action pop-up menu in the Brush HUD. For example, if you want to brush an adjustment on an image and have the adjustment limited to the shadows, you choose Shadows from the Brush Action pop-up menu and then brush the adjustment on the image. If the brush touches a midtone or highlight, that part of the image is not changed.

Tip: This feature is particularly useful when burning and dodging, because you can limit the exposure adjustment to the tonal range you want to modify without having to worry about adversely affecting details in the tonal ranges that are appropriately exposed.

To limit a brushed adjustment to a specific tonal range
  1. Select an image.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • In the Adjustments inspector or the Adjustments pane of the Inspector HUD, choose either “Brush [adjustment] in” or “Brush [adjustment] away” from the Action pop-up menu (with a gear icon) for the adjustment you want to apply to the image.

    • Choose a Quick Brush adjustment from the Quick Brush pop-up menu (with a brush icon) in the tool strip.

    • In the Adjustments inspector or the Adjustments pane of the Inspector HUD, choose Quick Brushes from the Adjustments pop-up menu, then choose a Quick Brush adjustment from the submenu.

    • In Full Screen view, choose a Quick Brush adjustment from the Quick Brush pop-up menu in the toolbar.

    The Brush HUD for the adjustment appears.

  3. In the Brush HUD, choose a tonal range for the adjustment from the Brush Range section of the Brush Action pop-up menu.

    Note: If you don’t want the brushed adjustment limited to a specific tonal range, choose All.

    Figure. Brush Range options in the Brush Action pop-up menu in the Brush HUD.

Modifying Previously Applied Brush Strokes

After applying a brushed adjustment to an image, you can still modify the effect of the adjustment on the image. Whether you brushed a standard adjustment or a Quick Brush adjustment, you can modify the adjustment using the controls for that adjustment in the Adjustments inspector or the Adjustments pane of the Inspector HUD.

To modify a brushed adjustment after it has been applied to an image
  • Specify new parameter settings using the controls for that adjustment in the Adjustments inspector or the Adjustments pane of the Inspector HUD.

    Note: The parameter settings for the Retouch and Halo Reduction brushed adjustments cannot be modified after the adjustments have been applied.

You can also modify the brush strokes of a previously applied adjustment by selecting the adjustment in the Adjustments inspector or the Adjustments pane of the Inspector HUD, clicking the Brush button, and then erasing or feathering the previously applied brush strokes as needed.

To modify an adjustment’s brush strokes
  1. Select the image whose brush strokes you want to change.

  2. Click the Brush button at the top of the adjustment.

    Figure. Brush button in the Enhance area of the Adjustments inspector.

    The Brush HUD for the adjustment appears.

  3. Use the controls in the Brush HUD to add new brush strokes, feather existing brush strokes, and erase portions of brush strokes on the image.