Mask Overlay Display

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Today’s Question: In the develop module of Lightroom Classic when I use the Adjustment Brush tool I just see the pink mask and can only see the effect after I close the window [by clicking the Done button]. How can I preview with the effect without closing?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can turn off the translucent red mask overlay when working with any of the targeted adjustment tools in Lightroom by turning off the “Show Selected Mask Overlay” checkbox on the toolbar below the image.

More Detail: When working with any of the targeted adjustment tools (Graduated Filter, Radial Filter, or Adjustment Brush) in Lightroom’s Develop module, you have the option of displaying a translucent red overlay on your image to indicate the mask area. The red overlay appears on areas affected by your adjustment, with the rest of the image appearing normally. When this option is enabled, you won’t see the effect of your targeted adjustments.

The mask display can certainly be very helpful as you work to improve the accuracy of the mask that is being used to define which portions of the image will be affected by your targeted adjustment. But it can obviously be a bit of an impediment when it comes time to actually apply an adjustment.

You can turn off the mask overlay by turning off the “Show Selected Mask Overlay” checkbox on the toolbar below the image preview area. If you don’t see that toolbar, simply press the letter “T” on the keyboard to toggle its visibility.

My personal preference is to keep this checkbox turned off. In fact, I find it is more helpful to apply an exaggerated Exposure adjustment, and use the effect of that adjustment to show me the shape of my mask. When I’m finished getting my mask cleaned up, I then reset the exaggerated adjustment and fine-tune as needed.

If you just want to view the mask overlay temporarily, note that you can also just hover your mouse pointer over the edit pin that appears on the image for each mask you define for a targeted adjustment. I find it easier to simply hover over that edit pin when I want to see the mask overlay, rather than toggling the “Show Selected Mask Overlay” checkbox.