Quick Brushes are bricks too...

When Aperture 3 introduced brushes to brick adjustments a lot of us old-time users did a little dance of joy. Brushes are incredibly powerful, especially combined with the ability to create multiple instances of every brick (except exposure, sigh). Along with this new brushing ability, we also gained the brand new Quick Brushes. What's often overlooked with these is that they don't have to be brushed in.

Here's the thing: when you apply one of these Quick Brushes it does the exact opposite of an adjustment brick,  instead of being applied to the entire photo with the option of being brushed in or away, it's by default waiting to be brushed in. So if you select Vibrancy and play with the intensity slider nothing's going to happen - you need to brush the effect in first.

But it doesn't have to be that way. If you click on the little cog wheel disclosure triangle you also get a choice of Apply to entire photo. Boom, instant brick behaviour.

the cog is your friend

What's handy about this trick is the fact that Quick Brushes come at the end of the processing queue which means you can play around with the various tint and colorizing options and then tame it all down with a Saturation Quick Brush applied to the entire photo.  Check this tutorial to see what I mean.

Another useful trick with these is the ability to replicate blending modes. Well, let's not get carried away here… two blending modes: multiply and overlay. Under Quick Brushes you'll find Polarize and Intensify to which Apple has conveniently added (multiply) and (overlay). Not sure why they didn't just call them multiply and overlay. Oh, the mysteries. Anyhow, to replicate adding a duplicate layer with overlay blending mode (a la Photoshop) simply select the Intensify Quick Brush, apply to entire photo and move the slider to maximum. Maxing out the effect is important because frankly anything less is pretty much useless for these two brushes IMHO.

Here's an example of  both effects applied to a picture:

Of course you can also brush away - these are Quick Brushes after all, right?

Final results after tweaking:

Could I achieve the same look with Curves? Of course. You can do anything with Curves… Curves can prepare dinner,  get you a beer and give you a neck massage. But for beginners I think this is a nifty simple trick. And for more advanced users it's another set of tools. And we all love tools…