Lightroom/Camera Raw: We need the ability to copy the end result of adjustment brushes and gradients

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Lightroom brushes and gradients do not currently copy as-is when syncing settings between images. The current behavior is to recreate the brushing or gradient action on the target image, but I can't image how that is useful in any way.
Consider: If I am working on a timelapse, and I've created a brushed area using auto-masking, so that I can make adjustments to something static in my images, I need to copy the end result of that effort to one or more other images.
That is currently impossible, because LR tries to reapply the brushing operation on the new image. And despite the fact that a new image may be almost identical to the original, the results change.

It should be possible to copy an adjustment, precisely, from one image to another. No recomputation, just copy its end result.
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Gary R Hook

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  • Frustrated that something so obvious doesn't exist.

Posted 1 month ago

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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Can you show us an example so we can fully understand the issue that you're facing please? A screenshot of the overlay on the first photo and where it ends up on the second one would be ideal.
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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Yes, an example would be useful because what you say does not make sense. Lightroom does not recompute brushes when you copy/paste them. The only thing that is recomputed is any range mask that you may have used, but that does make sense. A range mask is a mask adjustment based on the underlying image, so it must be recomputed.
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Gary R Hook

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Yes, happy to oblige. Easily demonstrated.

I have two images that make it clear what is happening, and contrast with what I'm expecting. Give the image just below, I've set a new brush anchor, and using auto masking I've filled in much of the bright area showing between the two columns. I only drug the fairly wide brush down and up once. You can see that the mask is reasonably precise according to the white vs. grey area, especially on its right edge.



Using sync, I copy only the adjusment brush settings to a second image. I've chose a second image that is quite different, so that the differing results are clearly evident:



Most obvious: the right edge of the mask in the new image is nowhere near "clean", not compared to the original. You'll note that the grass is not hightlighted at all. The brush stroke in this image produces a different mask than in the first.

I want the ability to copy the mask (raster) from the first image to the second, without any recomputation.

The current behavior is not what I want. But it turns out it's working as designed. After speaking with Adobe level two, I now understand what is happening.

When the brush is copied to the 2nd image, it is applies exactly as if I had manually created the brush on that image, by clicking and dragging. The auto mask behavior is applied to the brush stroke, and the result is what you would achieve with an explicit operation.

This is not what I want, nor expect, in every case. Using a brush to create mask results in a raster. I sometimes have a need top copy that raster verbatim from image to image. I need the end result of the brushing, not the brushing itself.

Note that this also applies to gradients that have been edited with a brush. When you copy them, you get the original gradient minus any brush strokes. Sometimes helpful (iris enhancement, e.g.) but sometimes not. So IMHO the current function is not completely in one camp.

Use case: a timelapse where certain elements are static. I wish to apply edits to them with specific adjustments, then copy those edits, using the verbatim end result, across multiple images. (Yeah, I have an example that I can show.) Unfortunately, as soon as one employs any detailed brushing, that goal becomes impossible. 

My request for a feature is: allow me, when syncing adjustments, to use the ending raster, with settings, or use the creation procedure (current behavior). I realize that the data saved in LR doesn't necessarily mean this would be easy, but it's not impossible. It's just data, after all.
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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Interesting. It is clear that Auto Masking is what causes this. Apparently, that too is recalculated, just like a range mask. That makes kind of sense, because auto masking is also based on the underlying image, but it is unexpected nevertheless.
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Gary R Hook

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Given that my use case is much more likely than any other (I can't imagine any situation with two dissimilar images where I'd really want the current behavior...) I think Adobe got this wrong. And given that they got the behavior of Transforms wrong initially, I'm hopeful the developers will see their error and fix it.

It should also be possible to copy adjustment brush anchors without brush strokes (saves erasing them first before recreating), and when syncing adjustments there should be an option to remove/replaced all existing adjustments (for each type).

There are some surprising functional gaps here. Or maybe I'm just strange in the way I use this tool.
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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I think you use the tool somewhat unexpectedly. One would think that you only sync a brush between two almost identical images, not between two very different images. But still, I agree that this should be considered a bug, or it should be an option you can turn on or off when syncing.
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Jason Cross

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I think what he is trying to say is what I have come to search for tonight. In previous versions, the adjustment brush was staying predetermine from the previous edit. Now when the next photo loads, the brush is totally resetting to original O's which ordinarily is great, but if you have 5 photos in a row that were shot using different poses but need that same brush, reconfiguring to brush (because the pose changed) is a pain to redial every fix every time. My work around is to copy the adjustment brush regardless and sync it, then active it, delete what you don't need and brush new, but it would just be really simple if the dang brush rememebered the previous settings. That said when it was the OTHER way I used to say "I really wish this dang thing reset" but now I see editors can never be happy lol:)