Introduction to Adjustment Layers
You'll notice it on the layers panel at a background image layer this is not to be touched because this is, for all intents and purposes, my starting point. Yes, I had that original original starting point with my rock capture. Now I have this new starting point, so it's a little bit odd in terms of the terminology, but I have this as my sort of new original or my processed original image, if you will, and so I don't want to touch that, and that really is sort of a fundamental aspect of a non destructive work flow in photo shop is that I leave the background layer alone. Everything I do is going to be done through another layer in some fashion, so let's, take a look at some of the various ways that we might work with our image in a layer based nondestructive workflow. I'm going to just add an adjustment there don't worry about exactly what I'm doing at the moment, because I'm just gonna kind of mess things up a little bit here just to illustrate the concepts. So an adjustment layer it'...
s basically a set of instructions I like to think of an adjustment layer is kind of having a virtual assistant in photo shop. If you ever worked in the wet dark room, you know how frustrating it can be when you make a print that you're really happy with, and then you need to make the exact same print again, and you can't remember the exact exposure, timing and dodging and burning and all the different stuff you've done in photoshopped, it could be a little bit of a challenge, too. Find just the right adjustments you wanted just the right moment, but the beauty of photo shop is it? Once you found the right adjustment, this isn't it, by the way, but once you found an adjustment that you like it's done and you can make a print, you can share online, you can do all sorts of things and the photo will always look the same. But what's happening here is essentially it's like having that virtual assistant where you just say, please make it look this way, they're not doing any harm to the image this adjustment layer, it is just a set of instructions. And so if I decide, maybe tomorrow I look back at this photo and say, what on earth was I thinking that is way too much contrast, the image looks awful, no problem, I'll throw away my adjustment layer and I'm right back to my original image so completely non destructive and more important completely flexible so I come back into curves and I make that wild adjustment again or something like it, and now I decide tomorrow this isn't right. I don't want this adjustment, let me just find tune things, I'll bet if I toned down the adjustment a little bit, things might start to look a little bit better, and so I've got this flexibility of always being able to go back to the image and fine tune my adjustments and always applying nondestructive adjustments. So remember, I was talking about that cumulative effect where you start to lose more and more detail in the image with each additional adjustment? Well, with an adjustment layer, each individual adjustment layer only counts as a single adjustment, even if you've gone back and made refinements to that adjustment a million times, so you don't have to worry about that cumulative impact on the photos, so all sorts of flexibility, all sorts of options when it comes to adjustment layers. All right, so now that we've got some of those concepts figured out, let's talk about the basic work phone, how we're going to approach applying the various adjustment layers that are available so on the layers panel down at the bottom of the layers panel, you'll find the button that allows you to add a new adjustment layer it's, a little half black, half white icon, little circle icon. And if you click that little button, you'll see a list of all of the adjustment layers, all of the adjustments and photoshopped that are available as adjustment layers. So where shall we begin? Well, I typically start off with a levels adjustment. I skipped right over brightness. Contrast, because it doesn't offer me enough control. And I'm a control freak. With levels. We basically have the equivalent of brightness and contrast, but where we can adjust the white point in the black point individually.