This tutorial should hopefully have you adjusting and touching up all your photos at an intermediate level in no time. the techniques and principles can ten be applied in doing other things within photoshop. Adjustment layers can allow you to create simple 30-second effects as the one below: (this is shown in the video at the end of the tutorial)
Firstly some quick thoughts:
Adjustment layers work in the same way as normal photoshop layers. You can apply an adjustment (such as levels or contrast changes) on a transparency/layer and it will become an adjustment layer. Next you take this adjustment layer and place it on our stack of layers. The adjustment layer will not actually affect your original image but by placing it on top of your original image, you then hyperthetically, look ;through; that adjustment to see your original image. Then when look through the adjustment layer everything seen through it seems to have that adjustment. Adjustment layers also remain editable and their settings can always be returned to and tweaked etc. Now to the nitty gritty:
2 Ways to Create an Adjustment layer:
1) Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer >
2) Click on the icon for adjustment layers and select your required type of adjustment.
What do they all do?
There are 12 Adjustment Options available to you when you create an adjustment layer. I will go over them in more detail for beginners in later posts but I will give a general description now. They are:
- Solid Color
Places a solid color layer on top of your layers.
Places a gradient on top of your layers.
Applies a pre-defined, saved pattern to your layer.
This allows you to control the brightness of the various tones in your image. Playing with the slider can increase or decrease the intensity of darker and lighter tones.
You can use this to fix your highlights and shadows using this option.
- Color Balance
Adjust the colors of highlights, midtones and shadows separately using this option.
This lightens or darkens your image and increases or decreases the contrast.
- Black and White
Turns a colour image into a black and white, giving you a much greater control of output than the desaturaute method which is done using Ctrl+Shift+U on Pc or Cmd+Shift+U on Mac.
This can be used to control the colors, the saturation and lightness or darkness of the image.
- Selective Color
This allows you to add or remove percentage of a color present in your image. If you want your reds redder and your blues less bluer then this is what you use.
- Channel Mixer
This allows you to adjust the reds, blues or greens. So you are adjusting each color channels itself.
- Gradient Map
This adds gradients insides different colors of the image. Unlike the gradient tool, that put a solid gradient over everything, this puts colors in each color of the image.
Changes all the colors to what is opposite to them in the color wheel.
This changes stuff to black or white. The slider allows you to choose what tones it will be changing.
This reduces the number of colors used in the image.
With the white square of your adjustment layer selected you can choose to have the adjust only appear/take effect on areas of choice. If you paint on the square with a brush, using the colour black, the adjustment will disappear for the painted area. Using shades of gray will have the adjustment only appear at certain intensities. Below is a video tutorial showing you this technique.
If you have any questions or revisions, please let us know below!