Home How-To Image Processing Using Photoshop Adjustment Layers
Monday, June 25, 2007

Using Photoshop Adjustment Layers

Get more flexibility and control when you use these specialized Photoshop layers to apply image enhancements

Using Photoshop Adjustment LayersUsing Photoshop Adjustment Layers Anatomy Of An Adjustment Layer
In this example, an overcast sky left this image of a bicycle outside a chapel in Bruges, Belgium, a little flat. A Levels Adjustment will deepen the richness of the colors and add contrast by adjusting the intensity levels of the image's shadows, midtones and highlights.

u 1. Creating An Adjustment Layer.
To create an Adjustment Layer, do one of the following: Choose Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels or simply click on the New Adjustment Layer icon in the Layers palette, indicated by a half-black and half-white circle.

Using Photoshop Adjustment Layers 2. Make Your Adjustments.
In the resulting dialog box, make the appropriate adjustments. In this case, I moved the Black Point and White Point Input sliders (located directly beneath the histogram) inward from the edges of the histogram. I then moved the Midtone (middle) Input slider slightly to the right to increase the contrast. This function remaps the black and white points of the image, while the Gray slider (gamma) defines the neutral tone.

Each adjustment has its time and place, but some of the most popular are Levels, Curves, Hue/Saturation, Channel Mixer and Photo Filter. Sure to be added to this list of favorites is the new Black and White adjustment introduced in CS3.

As mentioned earlier, Adjustment Layers enable you to make nondestructive alterations. At any time, you may update or even delete the adjustment. To modify an adjustment, do one of the following: Double-click the Adjustment Layer thumbnail in the Layers palette or choose Layer > Layer Content Options. Make the desired adjustments and click OK.

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