Aperture Brushes...Sometimes You Don't Need Layers

A ceiling in a restaurant in Las Vegas. It's been in my backlog of photos for a couple of years now. I can't remember the restaurant, but I remember liking the lights and the crown molding on the ceiling. Not the greatest composition in the world, but not terrible considering I was squeezed in a booth with my kids waiting for our order to arrive when I took the photo. :)

My goal for this photo was for the lights to pop and grab the viewer's attention. As I was post-processing, I started thinking about layers. I could make some more "drastic" adjustments to accentuate the lights, then mask those in with the base version. Then it dawned on me. I don't need layers for this effect . I can accomplish this all within Aperture using brushes.


The video below has the details on the technique, but in summary:

  • Add a Color adjustment with focused changes in the orange and yellow range
  • Brush in the Color adjustment on the lights only
  • Add a Sepia Tone adjustment to the entire photo
  • Brush away the Sepia Tone from the lights

Now...one thing that would be a really useful addition to Aperture is be able to copy/paste/invert overlays (masks) among adjustments. That'd be a big time saver. Maybe in Aperture 4? Here's to hoping...