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Aperture Tutorial: Learn how to use Brushes

Make selective edits to your favourite images with the incredibly useful brush tools in Aperture

If you’re used to iPhoto, you’ll know that you can alter and otherwise improve your photos with the help of a few adjustment tools, but there’s a problem inherent with all these features – you have to apply them to the entire image. You can’t for instance increase the contrast of the lower-right part of the photo while raising the brightness of the middle section.

At first glance, it looks like Aperture suffers from the same problem, except that it has a set of powerful tools called Brushes at its disposal. Most of the app’s adjustments options can be turned into Brushes and you can then ‘paint’ your changes over any part of your image.

This gives you immense control over the alterations you can make. As a result, you can even create multiple brushes of the same tool to apply different levels of alteration to different parts of your photo, as we show you in this tutorial.

1: The Adjustments

Select a photo and click on the Adjustments tab. If you can’t already see it, click on the Adjustment pop-up menu and choose Sepia Tone.

2: Sepia

Move the slider to the left to apply less tint to your entire image. To transform this tool into a brush, click its cog wheel and select Brush Sepia Tone In.

3: The Brush palette

You can choose between three brushes (a standard one, one that smooths out existing strokes and an eraser), as well as various modifiable parameters.

4: Brushing

Experiment with the various settings and see what happens as you brush the adjustment onto your image. Each brush remembers its unique settings.

5: Overlay

If the alteration is subtle, it may be hard to discern with the naked eye, so click on the palette’s cog wheel button and select Colour Overlay.

6: Brush away

Pick another photo and hit Brush Sepia Tone Away from the Adjustments menu. The entire image turns sepia, and the eraser brush now removes changes.

7: Another brush

You can work with different brushes for the same adjustment. Choose Add New Sepia Tone adjustment to create a new ‘apply change to all image’ tool.

8: Brush creation

Create a new brush as per Steps 2 or 6 and apply the same adjustment. That adjustment is independent from the first, even though it’s the same tool.

9: Parameter values

Experiment with one of the Sepia tool’s sliders, but only for the brushes used by that particular Sepia Tone. The other is unaffected.

Click Image to Enlarge: