Thursday, August 2, 2007

If You Use Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, You May Need an Adjustment - UPDATED

. . . layer, that is! If you are anything like me, when you are creating a digital layout you may decide to try things many different ways before deciding on THE way! The beauty of using adjustment layers is that you can reserve the right to change your mind not once, not twice, but as many times as you want during the building of your layout and you can change your mind about color, contrast, patterns . . . the list goes on . . .

So, what ARE adjustment layers, you ask? Adjustment layers are special layers that provide different types of adjustments to a layer or layers beneath them. These adjustments are editable at any time, even after saving and closing the layered file, unlike simply choosing to apply a Hue/Saturation adjustment, for instance. In addition, these adjustment layers can have their opacity adjusted as well as their layer blend modes, just like regular layers. You can turn these adjustment layers on or off to see how they affect things. If that wasn't enough, all adjustment layers come with a layer mask which allow you to apply the adjustment to all or just a portion of a layer(s).

Icon for Add Adjustment or Fill Layer

Of course in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, there are several ways to do things. To add an adjustment layer, you can choose Layer, New Adjustment Layer or on the Layers Palette you can click the icon that looks like a black and white beach ball. Your choice! Because there have been several tutorials written about adjustment layers, instead of reinventing the wheel, I will direct you to a few excellent resources to get you started using adjustment layers.

Photoshop Adjustment Layers 101
This is an excellent place to start learning about adjustment layers!

How to Use Layer Masks and Adjustment Layers in Photoshop Part 2
This resource is a video tutorial. It would be helpful for you to watch Part 1 which deals with layer masks, as they are mentioned in part 2. (Watch for a future blog post on layer masks!)

Using Photoshop Adjustment Layers
This is the most in-depth resource that I found on adjustment layers.

Tinting Tutorial
One other source of information on Adjustment Layers comes from Hummie. She shows ways to convert to black and white and tint a photo using a hue/saturation adjustment layer and also a way to tint a photo using the photo filter adjustment layer. This link takes you to the main tutorial page. Scroll down to find the tinting tutorial.

So, if you like to have flexibility in designing your digital layouts (and isn't this one of THE advantages to scrapping digital?) you will definitely want to try using adjustment layers!


Hummie said...

Adjustment layers are fun! I don't have a specific tutorial for them, but have a few of them highlighted in various tutorials. The first one I think of is the one with converting to black and white.

Great suggestion for newbies to look into.

Kara said...

Thank you so muhc! This is such valuable information:)