Photoshop How-To: Using Adjustment Layers
This story is taken from Real World Adobe Photoshop CS.
Very few of us shoot the perfect photograph right off the bat. Even traditional photographers employ a variety of techniques in the darkroom to improve their images. That's why Photoshop includes tools for dodging and burning as well as applying level and curve adjustments. These features are the digital equivalents of the photographers darkroom equipment.
Every time you apply tonal and color changes to an image, however, you alter its information, which means the image ultimately starts degrading. Is there any way to edit images in Photoshop without destroying them?
Yes. Adjustment layers let you apply edits to images without touching the image itself. The layers float above the image, allowing you to experiment with different options in a non-destructive way. As David Blatner and Bruce Fraser describe it: Your raw image is like a negative that you can print through many different filter pack combinations on many different contrast grades of paper. You can make huge changes from print to print, but the negative itself doesn't change."
Learning to use adjustment layers can be a liberating experience.
In this excerpt from Real World Adobe Photoshop CS, David Blatner and Bruce Fraser tell you how to apply traditional retouching techniques to photos using adjustment layers in Photoshop.
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Excerpted from "Real World Photoshop CS" © 2004 David Blatner and Bruce Fraser. Reproduced by permission of Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Peachpit Press. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.