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Adjusting part of a photo

From: Photoshop Elements 10 Essential Training

Video: Adjusting part of a photo

A big advantage of using an adjustment layer to correct a photo is that you can limit the area affected by the adjustment by making use of the layer mask that comes with every adjustment layer. I'm going to add an adjustment layer to this photo by going to the bottom of the Layers panel and clicking the add adjustment layer icon. There I'll choose a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer. There is my new Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer in the Layers panel and down here in the Adjustments panel, I can see the sliders for that adjustment. I'm going to drag the Brightness slider over to the right to brighten this photo.

Adjusting part of a photo

A big advantage of using an adjustment layer to correct a photo is that you can limit the area affected by the adjustment by making use of the layer mask that comes with every adjustment layer. I'm going to add an adjustment layer to this photo by going to the bottom of the Layers panel and clicking the add adjustment layer icon. There I'll choose a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer. There is my new Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer in the Layers panel and down here in the Adjustments panel, I can see the sliders for that adjustment. I'm going to drag the Brightness slider over to the right to brighten this photo.

If you take a look at the Brightness/ Contrast adjustment layer, you'll notice that it has this white rectangle. This represents the layer mask that comes with every adjustment layer. A layer mask on an adjustment layer works just like a layer mask on a content layer which I showed you in earlier movies. To review where a layer mask is white, like this one is now, it shows all the content of the layer to which the mask is attached. In this case, that layer is the brightening Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer and the white mask on that adjustment layer is letting us see the adjustment everywhere on the photo, but where our mask is black, it hides the content of the layer to which the mask is attached.

So if I were to add black paint to this layer mask that would hide the brightening effect of this adjustment layer from the corresponding portions of the photo, and I can use that principle to limit the area of this photo on the layer below that's being affected by the brightening adjustment on the adjustment layer with its mask. So let's do that. First I'll make sure that I have the Brightness/Contrast layer selected and that automatically selects its layer mask. Then I'll move over to the toolbar and I'll select my Brush tool. I'll go down to the foreground and background color boxes.

I want to paint with black to hide some of this adjustment. So I'll make sure that my foreground color is black. The only colors that I'll have available down here when I'm working on an adjustment layer are black, white or shades of gray, and that's because I'm using the color to paint on a layer mask, which as you know is a grayscale item. So with black as my foreground color, I'll move into the image and what I'd like to do is to remove the brightening effect from the edges of the photo to create a vignette that forces the viewer's attention toward the center of the photo.

I'm going to make my brush a little bigger by pressing the right bracket key on my keyboard and I've got a nice soft brush. So I'll start to paint with black and wherever I'm laying black down on that layer mask, I'm hiding the brightening effect of the adjustment layer, so that the edges of the photo are turning dark again as we see down through these areas to the darker photo on the layer below. Now let's take a look at the layer mask. I'll hold the Alt key, that's the Option key on a Mac, and show you that mask.

I didn't do a perfect job but you can see that I paint it with black around the edges and as I said, where there is black paint on this mask, it is hiding the brightness adjustment. Where there is white on the mask, it's letting the brightness adjustment show through and where there is gray in between the black and white, which is caused by the soft edges of my brush, the brightness adjustment is partially hidden, creating a nice transition. I'll Alt+click or Option+click again on the layer mask thumbnail. One of the nice things about a layer mask is that it's reversible.

So if I want to bring back the brightening effect in some areas, I can just switch my paint color to white. I'll click this double pointed arrow to make white the foreground color, and then I'll move with my brush and bring back some of the brightening effect around the edges. So painting on an adjustment layer's mask is one way to limit the area that's affected by that adjustment layer. There are a couple of other ways to add paint to a layer mask and I covered those earlier in movies on layer masks and on selections. One way would be to make a selection and then fill the selected area with black and that would hide the adjustment from the selected area.

Another method that I use a lot particularly when I'm shooting outside and trying to balance the exposure of the foreground with a bright sky is to use a gradient on the layer mask, which will gradually even out the tones between the sky and the foreground. To show you what I mean, I'm going to revert this layer mask to pure white. So with the adjustment layer still selected, I'll go to the Edit menu, I'll choose Fill layer and I'll make sure the Content menu is set to White and click OK. So now we're back to square 1 with a pure white layer mask on the adjustable layer, allowing the adjustment to show through everywhere.

I'm going to go over to the toolbar and select the Gradient tool. By default the Gradient tool will draw a gradient that's linear going from white to black from wherever I start drawing to wherever I end up. If I switch the colors in the foreground and background color boxes then I'll have a gradient that I can draw starting with black and going to white. Remember that I'm going to be drawing this gradient on the layer mask that's on the adjustment layer so I only have black, white and gray to choose from. I'll start at the top because I want to hide the brightening from the sky but allow it to come through in the foreground of the image and I'll drag a gradient.

The length and the direction in which I draw this line affect what the gradient will be like on the mask. That gradient is dark at the top fading through gray to white at the bottom, and where the gradient on the layer mask is dark up in the sky, it is hiding the brightening adjustment, so we can see down through to that dark sky below. And then there's a gradual transition and down here at the bottom of the image, the gradient on the layer mask is white, so it's revealing that brightening adjustment.

I'll show you the layer mask by Alt+ clicking or Option+clicking on it, so you can see what I mean, and then I'll Alt+Click or Option+Click again. I can fine tune this layer mask by using my Brush tool. So if I wanted to bring back some brightening over the cornfield, I could get white as my foreground color and then click and drag over that area to make that brighter too. So the layer mask that comes with an adjustment layer is a very powerful tool that allows you to limit the areas that are affected by the adjustment that you make with an adjustment layer.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Elements 10 Essential Training
Photoshop Elements 10 Essential Training

140 video lessons · 9512 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
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  1. 23m 48s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Getting around Elements
      6m 9s
    3. Exploring the differences in Mac versions of Elements
      5m 41s
    4. Working with Organizer catalogs
      6m 16s
    5. Using the exercise files
      4m 44s
  2. 21m 39s
    1. Touring the Organizer
      5m 35s
    2. Importing photos from a camera
      4m 44s
    3. Importing photos from a computer
      3m 1s
    4. Importing photos from an iPhoto library
      5m 27s
    5. Importing photos from external drives
      2m 52s
  3. 31m 24s
    1. Working in Thumbnail view
      4m 10s
    2. Working in Folder Location view
      4m 33s
    3. Reviewing photos in Full Screen view
      4m 55s
    4. Editing and organizing in Full Screen view
      7m 20s
    5. Comparing photos in Side by Side view
      4m 10s
    6. Displaying photos in Date view
      2m 40s
    7. Viewing photo information
      3m 36s
  4. 47m 47s
    1. Using keyword tags to categorize photos
      6m 42s
    2. Organizing keyword tags
      4m 25s
    3. Finding photos by keyword tag
      3m 39s
    4. Automatically tagging people
      8m 21s
    5. Using automatic smart tagging
      5m 36s
    6. Assigning ratings to photos
      4m 9s
    7. Creating albums to organize photos
      5m 7s
    8. Creating smart albums
      5m 52s
    9. Stacking photos to reduce thumbnail clutter
      3m 56s
  5. 24m 35s
    1. Finding photos that are visually similar to each other
      4m 3s
    2. Searching for an object in a photo
      3m 45s
    3. Finding duplicate photos
      4m 50s
    4. Searching by text
      5m 59s
    5. Exploring the Find menu
      4m 27s
    6. Finding photos in the Timeline
      1m 31s
  6. 22m 41s
    1. Deleting photos
      4m 30s
    2. Renaming photos
      2m 24s
    3. Moving photos
      3m 58s
    4. Reconnecting missing files
      4m 37s
    5. Changing photo dates
      4m 29s
    6. Backing up
      2m 43s
  7. 16m 14s
    1. Choosing an editing workspace
      4m 37s
    2. Autocorrecting with the Organizer's Photo Fix options
      3m 47s
    3. Photo finishing with the Organizer's Photo Fix options
      4m 2s
    4. Changing a Photo Fix adjustment
      3m 48s
  8. 22m 10s
    1. Editing with assistance: the Guided Edit workspace
      6m 27s
    2. Retouching a photo the step-by-step way
      7m 55s
    3. Creating a dreamlike Orton effect
      1m 8s
    4. Simulating shallow depth of field
      4m 11s
    5. Creating a collage using Picture Stack
      2m 29s
  9. 29m 26s
    1. Quick improvements: introducing the Quick Edit workspace
      3m 28s
    2. Applying Quick Edit corrections
      4m 8s
    3. Adjusting lighting
      4m 0s
    4. Correcting color
      4m 20s
    5. Fixing red-eye, improving skies, and touching up photos
      6m 28s
    6. Sharpening images
      3m 10s
    7. Saving in Quick Edit
      3m 52s
  10. 41m 16s
    1. Full control: introducing the Full Edit workspace
      5m 19s
    2. Tips for using the editing tools
      3m 50s
    3. Customizing panels
      5m 10s
    4. Undoing your work
      6m 22s
    5. Zooming and navigating
      4m 41s
    6. Saving images and examining file formats
      4m 50s
    7. Working with multiple documents
      4m 0s
    8. Creating a file from scratch
      2m 57s
    9. Customizing Editor preferences
      4m 7s
  11. 25m 42s
    1. Understanding layers
      7m 3s
    2. Managing layers in the Layers panel
      7m 19s
    3. Tips for working with layers
      4m 25s
    4. Understanding layer masks
      6m 55s
  12. 29m 59s
    1. Understanding selections
      6m 49s
    2. Using manual selection tools
      4m 42s
    3. Modifying selections
      4m 20s
    4. Using the automatic selection tools
      7m 11s
    5. Refining selections
      4m 50s
    6. Saving selections
      2m 7s
  13. 23m 52s
    1. Retouching blemishes with the Spot Healing Brush tool
      2m 50s
    2. Retouching skin with the Healing Brush tool
      6m 7s
    3. Retouching with the Clone Stamp tool
      1m 58s
    4. Using the Content-Aware option in the Spot Healing Brush to remove content
      3m 13s
    5. Touching up photos with the Smart Brush tools
      7m 22s
    6. Using the Dodge, Burn, and Sponge tools
      2m 22s
  14. 1h 0m
    1. Understanding color management
      7m 23s
    2. Understanding adjustment layers
      6m 49s
    3. Adjusting part of a photo
      6m 16s
    4. Correcting contrast and brightness using Levels controls
      5m 6s
    5. Enhancing color with Hue/Saturation
      4m 32s
    6. Improving shadow and highlights using Shadow/Highlight
      2m 36s
    7. Adjusting lighting and color using Color Curves
      3m 53s
    8. Removing a color cast
      2m 11s
    9. Converting color to black and white
      3m 15s
    10. Reducing noise
      3m 53s
    11. Sharpening images
      6m 43s
    12. Processing multiple photos
      8m 19s
  15. 23m 6s
    1. Resizing and changing photo resolution
      7m 1s
    2. Cropping photos
      5m 35s
    3. Straightening photos
      2m 35s
    4. Adding canvas around photos
      2m 43s
    5. Changing a photos orientation using the Recompose tool
      5m 12s
  16. 23m 50s
    1. Combining photos using the Place command
      5m 21s
    2. Using a layer mask to hide a background
      6m 26s
    3. Blending images using a gradient
      8m 18s
    4. Blending images using Blend modes
      3m 45s
  17. 24m 2s
    1. Creating text
      6m 22s
    2. Editing text
      3m 49s
    3. Creating text on a selection
      6m 1s
    4. Creating text around a shape
      3m 51s
    5. Creating text on a custom path
      3m 59s
  18. 22m 43s
    1. Applying filters
      5m 24s
    2. Adding effects
      2m 6s
    3. Adding layer styles
      7m 38s
    4. Making shapes
      5m 17s
    5. Using the Cookie Cutter tool
      2m 18s
  19. 42m 14s
    1. Understanding Camera Raw
      3m 35s
    2. The Camera Raw interface
      5m 16s
    3. Adjusting color using the white balance controls
      4m 41s
    4. Controlling lighting and contrast
      6m 26s
    5. Enhancing photos with the Clarity, Vibrance, and Saturation controls
      2m 39s
    6. Cropping and straightening
      2m 12s
    7. Reducing Noise
      2m 24s
    8. Sharpening
      6m 46s
    9. Outputting from Camera Raw
      4m 43s
    10. Processing multiple photos in Camera Raw
      3m 32s
  20. 56m 43s
    1. Creating a photo book
      6m 50s
    2. Completing the photo book
      10m 5s
    3. Creating a photo calendar
      8m 19s
    4. Creating a photo greeting card
      5m 17s
    5. Making other photo creations in the Create workspace
      2m 8s
    6. Outputting photo creations from the Create workspace
      2m 50s
    7. Creating a photo slideshow in Windows
      8m 45s
    8. Completing the photo slideshow
      3m 31s
    9. Making a scrapbook page from scratch in Full Edit
      8m 58s
  21. 41m 34s
    1. Printing photos
      8m 30s
    2. Printing contact sheets and picture packages in Windows
      5m 23s
    3. Printing contact sheets and picture packages on a Mac
      8m 33s
    4. Ordering prints from the Organizer
      4m 22s
    5. Sharing photos by email from the Organizer
      3m 46s
    6. Sharing photos with Photo Mail in Windows
      5m 3s
    7. Sharing photos on Facebook from the Organizer
      3m 42s
    8. Sharing photos on Flickr from the Organizer
      2m 15s
  22. 7m 34s
    1. Signing up for an Adobe ID
      2m 20s
    2. Sharing online albums from the Organizer to Photoshop.com
      5m 14s
  23. 40s
    1. Goodbye
      40s

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