Adobe shows off powerful new masking tools coming to Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw

Tips & Techniques

Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw have never really been all that good at masking. They’ve had some basic rudimentary masking features through the brush and gradient features, but not in the way that something like Adobe’s own Photoshop provides. Well, now, it looks like that’s about to change.

They’ve posted a sneak peek today of new masking features that will be coming soon to Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw and they look pretty impressive. If you’re already doing basic selections in Lightroom or ACR, this’ll speed up your workflow massively. And for portrait and wedding shooters, you might not even have to go into Photoshop at all anymore.

While the new masking features still don’t offer quite the versatility of masks found in Photoshop, they’re light years ahead of where they sit currently. They’ll allow you to quickly and easily select elements within your images to really target different areas, like subjects (human, animal or objects), the sky or the environment. You can also select by colour or luminance range – or depth, if the file format supports it.

Of course, you’ve still got the old brush, linear and radial gradient options, too, but the big difference now is that you can create multiple layer masks and even combine masks to really pinpoint what it is that you want to tweak.

This feature isn’t just coming to Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom on the desktop, either. It’s also going to be arriving on Lightroom for mobile devices as well, so you’ll get a consistent set of masking features regardless of the platform you’re using.

Adobe hasn’t said when the new feature will land, precisely, just that it’s coming soon. Personally, I can’t wait to give it a spin and see how well it really handles with a variety of images. You can find out more about the new masking features on the Adobe blog.

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