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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. Because 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, and then change the opacity of that adjustment layer to fine-tune the amount of tonal correction applied to the image.

About Fill Layers

By now you may have noticed that the Adjustment Layer pop-up menu includes not only tonal correction options such as Levels, but a list of three layer fill options: Solid Color, Gradient, and Pattern. Follow my lead and ignore these. They don’t do anything that can’t be accomplished by simply creating a new layer and applying a fill or pattern—except that they do it with more overhead, because adjustment layers require more processing power and create larger files than regular layers.



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