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Chapter 17. Workflow > Step 12—Retouching

Step 12—Retouching

Now that the image is in pristine shape color and tone-wise, it's time to start fixing problems with the Background image on which all of our adjustments are based. At this stage, those Adjustment Layers are both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, they make the colors look good and produce a nice bright image that makes it easy to find any defects that are candidates for retouching (which is why we waited until now to think about retouching). On the other hand, if we're not careful those adjustments are going to end up being applied twice, which would really mess up our image. Let's explore why this happens and how we can work around it.

These days many people are practicing what's known as non-destructive imaging (including me), which calls for preserving the original image at all costs and keeping all changes isolated on separate layers. That makes future changes very easy to manage. For tasks that involve retouching, that usually means creating a new, empty layer and using retouching tools that offer the Sample All Layers checkbox in the Options bar. That checkbox causes the retouching tools to copy from a merged version of all the layers (in other words, it's like flattening all the layers together and using that as the source) and depositing the retouching onto whichever layer is active. That works fine as long as you don't have any Adjustment Layers in your document, but at the stage we're at now, it's going to give us trouble. Here's why.


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