Local adjustments question

I use PL on a Mac but I believe this is a general question, so I am posting it on the general part of the forum.

I have some birding photos with a bright blue sky behind the bird sitting in a tree and so it (the bird) is darker than it should be. My first thought was to use the local adjustments tab and create a control point around the bird, but this also ends up selection some of the branches so when I lift the shadows on the bird, the branches also get lightened.

I know I can use the Auto Masking instead of the Control Point to select only the bird, but this ends up being quite a bit of work. I tried to use the Control Point and then erase the mask from those parts I do not want masked, but that did not work for me. Is there any way to remove some parts of the Control Point masking, but leave others in place?

I think there is no eraser for U-points. I thought about this use case also.

It would be cool if a U-point mask could be converted into a paint brush mask, loosing the ability to adapt the U-points but gaining the ability to refine the mask with paintbrush and eraser. Would be a handy feature.

It is like a luminosity mask. You create one through setting parameters, but can draw on it afterwards.

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The ability to convert a U-Point mask into a paint brush mask would solve this problem as well as other issues. If that could be done my local adjustment work would be a lot easier.

I do not think this is currently on the suggestions list so perhaps I should add it.

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could be wrong but wasn’t the “protect a area” circle the clue for that one?
(i am stil in the modus of what does what how and which does what best in the department of upoint, masking, brushing stuff so i probable missing your point of problem and are eager to learn.)

Would a copy parameters from upoint to “automask” or “brush” not give you the same possibility’s? (take over the adjustingsettings by copy, then paint with brush or automask, and finally paste the settings.)
(don’t know if this is possible with normal ctrlshftc-v, my test don’t seem to work.)
So wouldend it be enough if there is added a function to temperally store the adjusting-settings in a memoryslot from which you can select wile using one of the other local tools? This way you can copy tone, color and such for the sake of fine tuning a spot in your image with multiple localtools. this way the different maskingtools have the same adjusting parameters to blend in in each other.

There is a protect area feature for U-point, but the thread owner wanted to erase a small part of the u-point derived mask directly. You can try to protect that small area with counter u-points, but you often introduce mask areas that are ‘medium grey’ between u-point and counter u-point. It is not possible to create a sharp mask border, especially if the part you want to erase has similar colors.

Ah understood.
so a brush for protectionmask connected to that specific U-point is the only way to deal with that problem. Makes sense.

This is exactly right.

I tried using the Protect functionality. I created a U-Point mask around the bird which included the branches that it was sitting on. I then set a separate Protect for each branch area (which is not easy because the Protect areas themselves are circles and can not be changed into ellipses) and then make the adjustment by changing the shadows and exposure settings to bring out the details of the bird.

The image came out with the Protected area partially “lifted” and partially not, so it is not a viable solution. It appears as though Protect does not eliminate the change, but only decreases its strength. What I ended up having to do was to create a second mask of the branches and then decrease the shadows and exposure in an attempt to reverse the original adjustment.

There seem to be a couple of solutions to this issue. Perhaps the U-Point masks could be changed into an ellipse. Then it would be easier to isolate the area to be modified. Or perhaps the changes could be stored somewhere with the ability to easily apply the “reverse” changes to remove it with a second mask. Or perhaps there is a more clever solution to the problem.

But only if the Protect area actually prevents the adjustment from taking place. What it apparently does now is just reduce the adjustment, probably in an attempt to blend the adjusted area into the un-adjusted area.

Another solution would be to provide a “Strength” slider to adjust the strength of the Protect areas. That could then be set to 100% to completely protect the “Protected” areas.

Please note that I have added a change request to allow for some way to reverse or prevent part of the U-Point mask from being affected by subsequent changes.


I’ve found using the Nik Collection, particularly Viveza, in conjunction with PL solves may of the masking problems. Saving edits and switching to the different editors is a pain, but it does the job.

In the case of your back lighted bird, open the file in Viveza, set a u-point on the bird, view the mask and adjust for the correct placement of the point. Then proceed with the exposure adjustment.

The more I learn about PL and Nik the more I realize they complement each other.

Totally agree: there is a need to combine masks created with U-Point with brush masks. Back in th day Capture NX2 solved this very elegantly (without rasterizing U-Point mask) by allowing those masks overlay. I.e. if you paint your mask black with the brush, U-Point selection cannot affect that area no mater what. And vice versa: if you brush-paint your mask white any other Upoint selection will just be adding to that mask…
It’s so frustrating to see the modern software doesn’t offer what almost two-decade old software (now abandoned Capture NX2) once was able to do…