Dodging and burning using Lightroom masks

New masking tools in Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom

Huge update to Adobe Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic including new masking and local adjustment improvements

In late 2021, Adobe updated Camera Raw, Lightroom and Lightroom Classic with an entirely new local adjustments and masking interface. Legacy tools like Brush, Linear, and Radial Gradient were greatly enhanced with Add and Remove masking functionality (using other masks), in addition to two new AI-based tools that automatically select and mask Sky and Subject. The new interface also makes labeling and toggling mask visibility far easier than older versions of their software.

What makes the new masking system brilliant is its modularity. You may create an adjustment using only a single mask, or add, intersect and remove other masks from the parent mask to fine-tune the selection. This opens up all kinds of creative opportunities for dodging and burning raw images.

I still love using luminosity masks in Photoshop (using the excellent TK Actions plugin), but the way I see it, the more non-destructive dodging and burning I can do with a raw file before jumping over to Photoshop, the better.

I published two videos on my YouTube channel (embedded below) about the new masking tools in Adobe Lightroom Classic. The first video is more of a general overview and quick demonstration, while the second demonstrates editing a straight out of camera raw file from beginning to end, with most edits performed using Adobe’s new masking tools and interface.