Masking as Creative Effect


Today’s Question: One step in Lightroom Classic I make in almost any post-processing is to sharpen using the Masking slider with the Option key [Alt key on Windows] held down. This lets me control how much of the image I am sharpening, but often I like the abstract black-and-white result that appears in the preview. Is there a way using LR or Photoshop to replicate the effect and to be able to turn that into a printable image?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You could capture a screenshot of this effect, using a timer option while making sure that the preview image is as large as possible to ensure maximum resolution for the resulting image.

More Detail: You can capture a screenshot of the screen display on your computer to preserve whatever is displayed on the screen. This can be a little tricky, however, when you need to use special keyboard shortcuts to make the intended display appear, such as the case with the example in today’s question. However, you can use a timer feature to capture a delayed screenshot, enabling you to apply the required keyboard shortcut before the screen is actually captured.

For example, I use the Screenshot utility included in the Macintosh operating system when I need to capture screenshots with a timer delay. Windows users can use the Snipping tool included with Windows 10 for this purpose. Both enable you to apply a time delay to the screen capture.

So, you could for example configure a five second delay for the screen capture. Get the screen configured overall, including in this case making the preview image as large as possible by hiding all but the right panel in the Develop module, for example. Make sure you’re ready to apply the keyboard shortcut that is required, and then initiate the screenshot.

While the timer is counting down, you can configure the display. In this case that would mean holding the Alt/Option key and clicking and holding the mouse on the Masking slider for the sharpening controls found in the Detail section of the right panel in the Develop module. Hold the key and mouse button until the screenshot is captured.

You can then open that screenshot in Photoshop, for example, to crop and otherwise optimize the image to your liking.