Creating a radial mask with a nice feathering effect is simple. Select the Draw Radial Gradient Mask cursor from the Layers tool, Cursor Toolbar, or use the keyboard shortcut T. Then click and drag in the Viewer to draw the radial mask. The first place you click will be the center of the mask that creates a 100% mask coverage. The radial mask will then fade to 0% coverage at the point where you stop dragging and release the mouse. You can apply the desired image adjustment (like an Exposure tweak) before or after drawing the mask.
Since the Draw Radial Gradient Mask function is applied in a non-destructive fashion, you can always readjust the size, shape, position, and rotation after by clicking and dragging on the lines and control handles.
- Go to the Layers tool.
- Select Draw Radial Gradient Mask from the footer of the Layers tool or use the keyboard shortcut T.
- To view the mask as an overlay while drawing the gradient mask, go to the menu and select Layer -> Mask Visibility -> Always Display Mask or use the keyboard shortcut M, which will toggle the mask overlay on/off.
- Click and drag the cursor over the desired image area in the Viewer. A new mask and layer are automatically created. Notice how you can change the shape on the fly if you drag the cursor up/down or sideways before releasing the mouse button. The transition in mask opacity will go from 100% where you first clicked and gradually fade to zero where you release the cursor.
- Make the desired image adjustments. For example, select a +25 Clarity adjustment. Use the keyboard shortcut M to toggle the mask overlay off, if it is on.
- The radial mask can also be copied and applied to other images from the Layers tool.
Useful keyboard shortcuts
- Hold down Shift while creating the Radial Gradient Mask to draw a perfectly round mask in the 1:1 aspect ratio.
- Hold down Alt, then start creating the Radial Gradient Mask to draw from a top-left point instead of from the default center point. This changes the drawing behavior to work like the Marquee selection tools in Photoshop.
- Hold down Alt + Shift, then start creating the Radial Gradient Mask to draw from a top-left point and create a perfectly round mask in the 1:1 aspect ratio.
Note that only one radial mask can be applied to a layer at a time, so please create a new layer if you need more than one. Although you can not alter the opacity of the mask itself, you can fade the effect by using the Opacity slider in the Layers tool.
TIP: Set the mask visibility to Layer -> Mask Visibility -> Only Display Mask When Drawing and make your image adjustment (like a negative Clarity to soften skin tones) before applying the radial mask. Then start to draw the Radial Gradient Mask. This way you can easily see where the mask is being applied while you drag in the Viewer and then see the effect of the image adjustment immediately when you release the mouse as the mask overlay will disappear automatically.