Thoughts on the new grad brush erasing not looking right

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Hoggy

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Hi all,

I'm surprised I haven't seen posts about this.. (and I've been google-ing)

But has anybody else noticed how when they go to erase areas from the gradient, that the results just don't look right? And then there's times when using it with auto mask, that it leaves a 'funky' outline of sorts - as if it's going outside of the area of contrast to do some sky.

Has anybody else noticed this?

And more importantly, has anybody found a way to work around this? So far, what I've just tried playing with just now, is just not using auto-mask and erase using a low flow with high feathering and just making the size slightly larger than the area to be brushed out. It doesn't totally erase the grad effects, but it seemed to look a bit more natural than using auto-mask. Perhaps the pros have already worked this out, I dunno..

I also hope they'll come along with a way to paint just the gradient effects back in, as opposed to whatever strength the brush may be at.. Like maybe a 'up to natural gradient density' checkbox in the brushes panel or something.
 
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Sorry for the delay....

Can you post a screenshot of an example of what you're seeing?
 

HappyMartin

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I have seen a number of odd effects with the erasing of the gradient tool.

Excuse me if I am out of line here but to me it looks like inexperience for the most part. Up to now LR has avoided having to have hand skill if I can use that term. With these new tools the retoucher is required to have fair hand eye coordination. It is also now more important to zoom in and work carefully and accurately. Stuff PS always needed but LR not so much.

Some of the people I am teaching are quite wary of the new tools. They find themselves in the position of having to be able to draw almost. No selections to help like in Photoshop. It seems like a small change to be able to erase parts of a gradient but I see people struggling with it.
 

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Sorry for the delay....

Can you post a screenshot of an example of what you're seeing?

I don't quite know how to post a screenshot, but more importantly I can't remember which image(s) it was with right now. If I come across one soon, I'll make sure to mark it.

I have seen a number of odd effects with the erasing of the gradient tool.

Excuse me if I am out of line here but to me it looks like inexperience for the most part. Up to now LR has avoided having to have hand skill if I can use that term. With these new tools the retoucher is required to have fair hand eye coordination. It is also now more important to zoom in and work carefully and accurately. Stuff PS always needed but LR not so much.

Some of the people I am teaching are quite wary of the new tools. They find themselves in the position of having to be able to draw almost. No selections to help like in Photoshop. It seems like a small change to be able to erase parts of a gradient but I see people struggling with it.

That's definitely part of it.. Why I have avoided the likes of Photoshop/GIMP for so long. Plus my interaction with the computer is quite limited due to a disability that causes pain and coordination issues. So it doesn't take long before I have to stop, as the tools I'm using are beginning to require more painting skill - and as I start to drill down on some photos to perfect them more. Due to that, as well as cognition/memory issues, it's taken me over 3 years to learn Lightroom to the point where I can now call my skill level intermediate with it, but at least I'm getting there. :)

I think the auto-mask can be problematic even for the adjustments brush, but at least with that it's easier to just paint more back in or take more out. However the gradient type tools it's not as easy to just repaint the gradient itself back in and requires more use of the history panel.. Especially as the computer starts to lag more, and finding something got messed up several steps ago.
 
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Hi Hoggy,

I don't know what hardware you have, nor what your disability is, but I have found a drawing tablet (mine is a Wacom) hugely easier than a mouse for tools that need a painting movement.

Dave
 

Hoggy

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Yeah.. I've been starting to think about a tablet lately.. But I worry that the learning curve might be too much for me. For instance, when using those debit card type machines that have a stylus for your signature, I'm so 'weirded out' about the disconnect between where I'm pressing and where it's showing up. It ends up looking like a two year old has written it. Wouldn't a tablet be the same way? Or do 'normal' people get used to that disconnect pretty quickly?
 

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What ever normal might be.

There is a learning curve. I used to employ 8 retouchers. When ever a person started working for me I made them use a Wacom. They would first be excited, then frustrated, then irritated, then despondent. Frequently they would sy they couldn't do it and wanted to go back to the mouse. I would tell them it's not a negotiable because I knew that if they persisted with it the increase in productivity and quality would be worth it. It would take about three days.

On the signing thing. I don't think a once off experience like that is any indication of how it will go with a few hours practice a day. Like I said. Three days seemed to be the average.
 
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Yes, there is a learning curve. For me, the big difference was that a mouse's movement is relative, and a tablet's fixed. In other words, if you pick up a mouse and put it down somewhere else, the cursor will not move, but the tablet maps exactly to the screen all the time. I must confess, I did give up at first, but I forced myself back to it and I am ever so glad I did.

The good news is that once you do get used to it you have it for good - nothing changes, it's the same for all applications.

If you want to get a feel for the difference it makes, try signing your name with a mouse :D

Personally, I keep the mouse in my left hand and the tablet under my right :shock: but I'm not recommending that. Must aid left brain / right brain communication.

Dave
 

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That's very interesting. I do the same Dave but I am fairly ambidextrous and always use a mouse left handed. Never found anyone else who works like that. It's great if it works for you.

On on the mapping thing you can set the pen to behave like a mouse but I found it very awkward.
 

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If you want to get a feel for the difference it makes, try signing your name with a mouse :D

Personally, I keep the mouse in my left hand and the tablet under my right :shock: but I'm not recommending that. Must aid left brain / right brain communication.

Dave

Yes, I have had to sign my name once using the mouse.. Turned out like a 2 day old newborn. :bluegrin:


That's very interesting. I do the same Dave but I am fairly ambidextrous and always use a mouse left handed. Never found anyone else who works like that. It's great if it works for you.

On on the mapping thing you can set the pen to behave like a mouse but I found it very awkward.

I think you guys are talking me into getting one.. But do all tablets allow both a relative setting and a 'solid mapped' setting? If so, that way I could try each and see what works best for me.

As things stand now, I already use 3 mice right now in both hands - I need to switch hands very often due to pain. Plus one of them is the MS Natural Mouse 6000, where you keeps your wrist and hand sideways. The other 2 are due to the differences in the scroll wheel - one has clicks, and the other is free-spinning. Athough frankly, I only added the click wheel one because it can run on one battery and is lighter because of it.

So I guess it might become beneficial to try buying one of the wireless ones. Especially as I've been drilling down more on some images with finer adjustments.


What do you guys think of this one, at least for a starter's tablet if not more than a starter's: Wacom Wireless Bamboo Touch-Pad with Digital Stylus (CTH300K)
It looks small enough where it wouldn't become too heavy if I took it off desk, and it uses AAA bats so I could use Eneloops as opposed to something like button batteries which are expensive (for all I know, maybe they all use AAA though).
 

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... Or some tablet that wouldn't require constant stylus 'refills'. I have no income right now, so a $0 running cost is extremely important for the time being. I don't really even care if it's a 'dumb' stylus, as I can't even use a pen for that long anyways - a mouse is bad enough. And as an aside, that's one thing I'm hoping photography can provide - some sort of income.. Why I've invested in some decent equipment (that I really probably shouldn't have gotten, but.. :blush: ) - and have been feverishly studying photography and processing tools. My doctor doesn't want me doing any type of work at all, but photography can be something done completely at my own pace -- do it when I can do it, stop immediately when I can't.
 
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Hi Hoggy.

Not sure, it looks like a very small drawing area to me. Maybe look on eBay for something like the ctl471 (which was my original tablet). Mostly the tablets run off a sub connection so they don't use batteries. Agree with Martin that for photo editing styluses seem to have a long life.

Dave
 

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Well.. You guys talked me into it. I just pulled the trigger on this one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Q7FU5YS/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A29PHU0KPCGV8S

At the same time, I also ordered an interesting looking pen mouse I came across (it was really cheap): http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BS67S78/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A3IY305RYA5UKA

I figure the key is I need to do a lot of switching things up.

And while researching what those nibs were for on the Intuos (I couldn't figure out how there could be no batteries, but yet allow for button presses) - neat tech, BTW.. I found a great video on making your own replacement nibs for SUPER cheap: https://youtu.be/7ONtK_fDplM ..... I'll wait on getting the mentioned supplies though until I find out how fast I might wear them out.

Thanks, guys, for helping me figure out the tablet stuff.
 

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The replies in this thread suggesting the stylus/Wacom tablet approach are all helpful and in time will increase the quality of your retouching.
However, I feel that there needs to be realistic expectations around what Lightroom can do right now with targeted image adjustments.
The new brush-out ability is a great step forward, one that I called for over a year ago on this forum and to Adobe, but it is no substitute for the advanced layer masking of Photoshop.
Instead, think of it as a way to reduce the effect of a gradient, not completely remove it. By using lower settings for flow and density and an appropriate matching feather radius you can gently remove the strongest effect of the gradient. If you have used strong settings in your gradient (e.g. -3 stops exposure to darken a sky), then trying to remove all of that for a foreground object with the the brush-out is likely to fail. The glowy effect of your brushed-out area will just look fake, compounded by the halo effects around the transition edges. As you have noted, the auto mask creates a funky selection. I find that it leaves a speckly mess with random drop outs and additions that most times seem to make the situation worse.
Your suggestion for restoring the gradient with the brush is exactly what's needed and I hope that the LR engineering team have it on their list for the next update.
Also, when LR6/CC was launched, the first thing I checked with the brush tool was if shift-click for straight line brushing had been enabled, and I was disappointed that it hadn't. But last week, all of a sudden I noticed that shift-click now works! Both in the brush tool, and in the gradient brush-out / brush-in tool.
So, was it a recent silent upgrade or did I just mess up when trying out the new features when it launched?
Either way, a huge improvement for LR's targeted image adjustments.
 
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HappyMartin

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I agree with You Kiwi. The ability to edit gradients is very useful but it's not a photoshop killer. Selections and layers will in this case put PS ion another league.

Your point about editing strong gradients is well taken and worth remembering.

The Wacom is not a fix but it does help with accuracy and I think comfort of working.

Not sure when the shift to constrain was introduced. I used it for the first time yesterday. It doesn't work to constrain brush strokes 45 degree increments but perhaps that is coming.
 
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So, was it a recent silent upgrade or did I just mess up when trying out the new features when it launched?
Either way, a huge improvement for LR's targeted image adjustments.

It was there in the initial launch.
 

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Instead, think of it as a way to reduce the effect of a gradient, not completely remove it. By using lower settings for flow and density and an appropriate matching feather radius you can gently remove the strongest effect of the gradient. If you have used strong settings in your gradient (e.g. -3 stops exposure to darken a sky), then trying to remove all of that for a foreground object with the the brush-out is likely to fail. The glowy effect of your brushed-out area will just look fake, compounded by the halo effects around the transition edges. As you have noted, the auto mask creates a funky selection. I find that it leaves a speckly mess with random drop outs and additions that most times seem to make the situation worse.
Your suggestion for restoring the gradient with the brush is exactly what's needed and I hope that the LR engineering team have it on their list for the next update.
Also, when LR6/CC was launched, the first thing I checked with the brush tool was if shift-click for straight line brushing had been enabled, and I was disappointed that it hadn't. But last week, all of a sudden I noticed that shift-click now works! Both in the brush tool, and in the gradient brush-out / brush-in tool.
So, was it a recent silent upgrade or did I just mess up when trying out the new features when it launched?
Either way, a huge improvement for LR's targeted image adjustments.

It's a nice feeling that at least I was on the right track with those problem auto-mask removals. Sometimes it works great, but other times it's like you say - sorta 'speckled'. I found the problem images and tried uploading one as a reduced resolution lossy DNG, but it only allows JPG (& 1 or 2 others). I was afraid that someone else might not be able to re-create it as much due to the severely limited JPG tonal range (oh, how I despise JPG these days). I realize lossy-DNG is also 8-bit, but somehow in my mind it might have shown it better since it's a bit more like raw.
However it's kind of moot now, since at least I know some other people know exactly what I'm talking about. And yep - that's what I was trying with those problem erases - lower flows and higher feathers without auto-mask to just reduce it.
I do know the tablet won't fix that part -- and, as you say, just hopefully make my accuracy a bit better after [theoretically] getting used to the ways of a tablet (I've been watching videos about it). I was starting to think about getting one before this thread, and others just informed and swayed me toward pulling the trigger on one. :)
And maybe it's just me, but I seem to notice quality issues even when going from a raw DNG to a 16-bit ProPhoto TIFF.. I don't how to describe it.. It just seems like it's not as flexible. It seems almost like a JPG. ...and I do have a [17-inch] wide-gamut (~98-99% AdobeRGB) aftermarket LCD panel on this laptop - that is profiled with an i1Disply Pro.. Probably not as regularly as a pro should, but then again I haven't quite gotten to the point of even semi-pro just yet. ;)

What you guys say about shift-clicking while painting for a straight line with the brushes, doesn't work that way here.. Maybe it's a Mac-only thing.. Well, at least not holding the shift and moving (like when creating a gradient). It does however create a straight line if shift-clicking one point, and then a second point.
 
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Hoggy

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Tablet

OH.. MY.. GOODNESS!! What a difference a tablet makes! I've been trying to use it almost exclusively for the past 2 and a half days so far (mostly minus web browsing - I need those wheels), and am getting somewhat used to it - especially when doing painting actions.

I'm loving it so much that I'm seriously contemplating if I should go for the Intuos Pro Small! (with no incoming money, mind you) :shock: On the Pro, there are actually more than two buttons that are usable to non-ambidextrious people - plus I'd have that circle thing to adjust brush size & flow.. Maybe I should ask them, if they happen to offer discounts for disabled?? :hm: I'd definitely be able to make use of the Pro pen with the better rubberized grip (and the grip looks wider too, which would also help with my issues). On the size, at this point, I think the small is more than enough - sometimes even too big. However that first one I asked about didn't have touch IIRC, and I'm finding that a trackpad can actually become a bit handy when it's big enough.

A tablet will sure come in handy to help me avoid that, heavy IMO, quality hit when converting to TIFF for trips to pixel editors - and keep working with the raw bits in LR.

Anyways.. MANY THANKS to all those who persuaded me! :hail:
 

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I'm pleased it working out for you Hoggy. It takes a little time as you have discovered but it is worth it.

What is your feeling on the original question you raised? How do you find erasing parts of a gradient with the tablet? Easier? More accurate? I have done pe some fiddling in the interim and find I am not fond of the auto masking option. I prefer to just carefully do it manually. It's more predictable.

Actually I prefer a rather convoluted method employing smart objects in PS where I can use the photoshop tools but anyway.
 

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As far as the original issue, I do find it can look better when doing it manually.. I just have to get used to which edges to do an which one to not do. ... The problem pic is of a sunrise with what almost looks like a backlit open-eared corn plant.
I think the best course of action is to try auto-mask first, and if it looks goofy, then do a manual brushing.. Some speckling isn't so bad if it's just the mask that's speckled - after all, people don't see the mask.

EDIT: I now think I know what is going on here, from working on a pic from another scene that exhibited a similar strange auto-mask 'ghost' effect. There is camera shake going on in both - so auto-mask is stopping at one bounded area, but not doing the next slightly 'out-of-phase' bounded area. So at least I know what a big part of it is.. It's largely due to my many issues, so many times I'll tend to try and just 'work with it' and use it towards a creative 'effect', so that's why it didn't pop out at me right away - I turned a blind eye to it. :) I have a small pull-out monopod (Cullmann 50041) that I sometimes put in my back pocket, but many times I either don't want to bring it, and/or don't want to bother attaching one of my belt cams to it's ball head just for a quick few shots. I'm sure everybody here knows what that's like.

I do have some issues/questions regarding how pressure can be used in LR and how to get the eraser side of the pen to work, but I'm going to start a new thread on that soon - after I've had some more time to play around with it.
 
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