The Intersect tool in Lightroom: the ‘secret’ masking tool you definitely need to start using

May 17, 2022

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

The Intersect tool in Lightroom: the ‘secret’ masking tool you definitely need to start using

May 17, 2022

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

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It’s no secret that Adobe Lightroom has become an incredibly powerful standalone photo editor in its own right over the last few updates. Often, I don’t feel the need to edit in Photoshop at all these days. One of the major updates has of course been the improvements in AI and the masking options. There are several to choose from now, but what happens if those don’t quite suit exactly what you want to do?

In this video, Nigel Danson walks us through using the Intersect option when masking. Essentially, this allows you to use a combination of two masks at the same time to better achieve the effects you want. So what is this “secret” tool and how will it benefit us?

The intersect tool will allow you to blend two mask parameters at the same time. For example, in the video, Nigel selects the sky in a landscape image that he wants to darken.

However, just taking down the exposure of the whole sky doesn’t look especially convincing. What he does is click the option button (on a mac) whilst in the masks window in Lightroom and the intersect button appears. From here he then chooses linear gradient which will then apply to just the sky areas that are masked. Then when he changes the exposure of the sky it’s applied using that linear gradient. Clever stuff, and you can apply it to any combination of masks to get exactly the look you want.

One of Nigel’s favourite combinations is to use the intersect tool with the radial gradient and the brush tool so that only the areas you want are affected by the radial gradient. He also demonstrates using the radial tool with the luminance mask and more advanced uses of the radial gradient tool.

This looks like a very interesting way of making the masking options much more accurate and do exactly what you want them to do, all within the confines of Lightroom. to get this kind of control previously I probably would have moved over to Photoshop. I think this could be a serious game-changer in editing photographs in Lightroom.

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Alex Baker

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

Join the Discussion

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