Today’s Question: Is there a tool in Photoshop that approximates the effect of the “Auto Mask” feature for the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom Classic?
Tim’s Quick Answer: I would say that the Quick Selection tool in Photoshop is the closest in terms of overall behavior compared to the Auto Mask option for the Adjustment Brush for applying targeted adjustments. Of course, it should also be noted that the same Auto Mask feature available in Lightroom Classic is available in Adobe Camera Raw within Photoshop.
More Detail: The Auto Mask feature for the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom Classic enables the edge of the area to which you’re applying a targeted adjustment to be detected automatically. As long as they area you’re applying a targeted adjustment to has reasonably good contrast compared to the surrounding area, this edge detection generally works reasonably well.
In Photoshop you have a variety of selection tools that often provide superior results for targeted adjustments compared to Lightroom Classic. One of the more “automated” of these tools is the Quick Selection tool, which is similar in many ways to the Auto Mask feature in Lightroom Classic.
With the Auto Mask feature you paint just inside the outer edge of the area you want to apply a targeted adjustment to. With the Quick Selection tool in Photoshop you keep the brush entirely inside the area you want to select. But other than how you position the mouse pointer while you’re painting, the overall behavior is very similar.
I generally find that the Quick Selection tool in Photoshop provides a more accurate result than the Auto Mask feature in Lightroom Classic. Therefore, I generally use the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom Classic only for relatively basic targeted adjustments. When I need to apply a more sophisticated targeted adjustment, I send the image to Photoshop from Lightroom Classic, and take advantage of the more powerful selection and layer masking features in Photoshop to achieve an optimal result.