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Chapter 5. Working with Layers > Making Color and Tonal Changes with Adjustment...

Making Color and Tonal Changes with Adjustment Layers

Adjustment layers let you make color and tonal adjustments to your image (much like the commands we discussed in Chapter 3) without changing the actual pixels in your image. Adjustment layers work like filters, resting above the actual image layers and affecting any image layers below them. They can be especially useful when you want to experiment with different settings or compare the effects of one setting over another. Since you can apply opacity and blending mode changes to adjustment layers (just as you would to any other layer) they offer a level of creative freedom not available from their menu command counterparts. For instance, you can create a Levels adjustment layer above an image, then change the opacity of that adjustment layer to fine-tune the amount of tonal correction applied to the image.

To create an adjustment layer:

On the Layers palette, identify the topmost layer to which you want the adjustment layer applied; then select that layer.

Remember that the adjustment layer affects all layers below it on the Layers palette, not just the one directly below it.

At the bottom of the Layers palette, click the Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer button (Figure 5.60).

Figure 5.60. Once you’ve selected a layer, click the Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer button at the bottom of the layer menu.

From the pop-up menu, choose from the list of adjustment layer options (Figure 5.61).

Figure 5.61. Choose an adjustment command from the pop-up menu.

When you choose an adjustment layer option, its dialog box opens, and a new adjustment layer is created above the selected layer (Figure 5.62).

Figure 5.62. Adjustment dialog boxes appear when applicable and mirror the dialog boxes available from the main application menus.

Use the dialog box sliders to adjust the settings; then click OK to close the dialog box.

If you want to return to the adjustment layer dialog box later, just double-click its layer thumbnail on the Layers palette.

By default, an adjustment layer affects all the layers below it in the Layers palette. But if you create a layer group, the effects of the adjustment layer will be limited to one, specific layer.



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