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Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training

Applying adjustment layers


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Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training

with Jan Kabili

Video: Applying adjustment layers

The most flexible way to make adjustments to the exposure, contrast or color of a photo is by applying an adjustment layer. A corrective layer that floats above the image layers. In this example, I have an image that's too dark. So, I'm going to apply a Brightness/ Contrast adjustment layer, which is a new flavor of adjustment layer in Elements 8. Before I apply a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer, let me show you another way that you could apply an adjustment directly to the photo layer. This isn't the way that I recommend though, and that is with the layer that contains the photo selected in the Layers panel, to go up to the Enhance menu, to go down to the Adjust Lighting category, where there is a direct Brightness/Contrast adjustment as well as other direct adjustments to the image lighting, and then in Adjust Color, there are some other direct adjustments.
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  1. 10m 20s
    1. Welcome
      1m 13s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 35s
    3. Launching the Welcome screen
      3m 12s
    4. Touring Elements
      4m 20s
  2. 29m 45s
    1. Working with catalogs
      3m 16s
    2. Getting photos from your hard drive
      2m 49s
    3. Changing thumbnail display options
      4m 35s
    4. Getting photos from a camera or card
      9m 43s
    5. Getting photos from a CD/DVD or an external drive
      4m 46s
    6. Getting photos from a scanner
      4m 36s
  3. 43m 15s
    1. Touring the Organizer interface
      5m 44s
    2. Viewing photos
      5m 11s
    3. Selecting photos
      2m 58s
    4. Rotating photos
      2m 39s
    5. Renaming photos
      2m 7s
    6. Fixing photo dates
      2m 0s
    7. Hiding and deleting photos
      5m 24s
    8. Stacking photos
      8m 9s
    9. Moving files
      4m 43s
    10. Backing up catalogs
      4m 20s
  4. 52m 4s
    1. Applying keyword tags
      8m 33s
    2. Finding photos by keyword tags
      3m 41s
    3. Finding photos with the Keyword Tag Cloud
      1m 56s
    4. Applying Smart Tags
      4m 29s
    5. Automatically tagging people in photos
      7m 54s
    6. Applying star ratings
      2m 48s
    7. Organizing photos in albums
      4m 10s
    8. Organizing photos in Smart Albums
      6m 44s
    9. Finding photos with Text Search
      4m 31s
    10. Finding photos from the Find menu
      5m 10s
    11. Finding photos in the Timeline
      2m 8s
  5. 29m 18s
    1. Working with photos in Full Screen view
      11m 12s
    2. Viewing slideshows in Full Screen view
      4m 10s
    3. Comparing photos
      5m 22s
    4. Using Date View
      3m 41s
    5. Mapping photos
      4m 53s
  6. 56m 46s
    1. Applying Photo Fix options in the Organizer
      8m 22s
    2. Touring the Quick Fix workspace in the Editor
      6m 12s
    3. Applying Quick Fix controls
      11m 10s
    4. Using Quick Fix tools
      11m 2s
    5. Working in Guided Edit in the Editor
      4m 45s
    6. Fixing group shots in Guided Edit
      5m 57s
    7. Applying the Scene Cleaner in Guided Edit
      9m 18s
  7. 1h 12m
    1. Touring the Full Edit interface
      5m 5s
    2. Opening files in Full Edit
      2m 13s
    3. Working with tabbed documents
      6m 57s
    4. Using tools
      6m 11s
    5. Setting editing preferences
      4m 22s
    6. Adjusting color settings
      4m 18s
    7. Using Undo History
      5m 56s
    8. Zooming and navigating
      6m 30s
    9. Creating a blank file
      5m 58s
    10. Photo resizing and resolution
      9m 59s
    11. Using the Recompose tool
      3m 8s
    12. Enlarging the canvas
      3m 49s
    13. Saving files
      7m 47s
  8. 17m 36s
    1. Understanding layers
      3m 28s
    2. Working in the Layers panel
      4m 51s
    3. Combining images with layer masks
      9m 17s
  9. 19m 54s
    1. Understanding selections
      2m 27s
    2. Manual selection tools
      7m 6s
    3. Automatic selection tools
      6m 27s
    4. Modifying and saving selections
      3m 54s
  10. 1h 0m
    1. Cropping and straightening
      3m 49s
    2. Applying a Shadows/Highlights adjustment
      2m 54s
    3. Applying adjustment layers
      7m 53s
    4. Adding a Levels adjustment layer
      4m 12s
    5. Merging multiple exposures
      6m 33s
    6. Adding a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
      3m 54s
    7. Adjusting with Color Curves
      3m 39s
    8. Removing a color cast
      3m 21s
    9. Correcting skin tone
      2m 34s
    10. Reducing digital noise
      4m 4s
    11. Sharpening photos
      7m 42s
    12. Working with raw photos
      9m 52s
  11. 24m 50s
    1. Using the Smart Brush tool
      7m 52s
    2. Using the Detail Smart Brush tool
      4m 26s
    3. Dodging and burning
      2m 18s
    4. Healing wrinkles and blemishes
      5m 17s
    5. Removing content with the Clone Stamp tool
      3m 41s
    6. Removing red-eye
      1m 16s
  12. 31m 3s
    1. Applying filters
      5m 8s
    2. Adding effects
      3m 16s
    3. Running automated actions
      1m 51s
    4. Using layer styles
      6m 6s
    5. Using shapes
      8m 12s
    6. Using the Cookie Cutter tool
      3m 13s
    7. Converting color to black and white
      3m 17s
  13. 9m 29s
    1. Creating text
      5m 8s
    2. Editing text
      2m 59s
    3. Warping text
      1m 22s
  14. 38m 50s
    1. Making a photo book
      8m 26s
    2. Making a photo collage
      9m 0s
    3. Creating a slideshow
      11m 25s
    4. Stitching a photo panorama
      4m 3s
    5. Preparing images for the web
      5m 56s
  15. 33m 54s
    1. Printing photos
      2m 58s
    2. Printing contact sheets and picture packages
      4m 58s
    3. Sending photos by email and Photo Mail
      5m 57s
    4. Burning photos to CD/DVD
      1m 17s
    5. Ordering prints and books
      1m 59s
    6. Signing up for Photoshop.com
      3m 15s
    7. Sharing photos online at Photoshop.com
      7m 40s
    8. Backing up and synchronizing online
      3m 40s
    9. Getting inspiration from Adobe.com
      2m 10s
  16. 26s
    1. Goodbye
      26s

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Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training
8h 50m Beginner Sep 23, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training highlights the important features of this comprehensive image organization and photo enhancement application. Photographer Jan Kabili shows how to use Photoshop Elements to organize and edit photos, build photos into projects like slideshows and photo books, and share photos with family and friends. Jan explains how to train Photoshop Elements 8 to recognize and tag faces, use the Smart Brush for targeted adjustments, and share photos using Adobe's online service, photoshop.com. She also dives deep into the application's editing tools, which rival those of the full product, Photoshop, in their ability to take snapshots and turn them into great photos. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Finding photos by keywords, tags, and ratings
  • Mapping photos
  • Applying Photomerge Exposure in Guided Edit
  • Adding adjustment layers to correct a photo's tone and color
  • Reducing digital noise in photos
  • Creating a photo slideshow with audio and transitions
  • Preparing photos for the web
Subject:
Photography
Software:
Photoshop Elements Elements
Author:
Jan Kabili

Applying adjustment layers

The most flexible way to make adjustments to the exposure, contrast or color of a photo is by applying an adjustment layer. A corrective layer that floats above the image layers. In this example, I have an image that's too dark. So, I'm going to apply a Brightness/ Contrast adjustment layer, which is a new flavor of adjustment layer in Elements 8. Before I apply a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer, let me show you another way that you could apply an adjustment directly to the photo layer. This isn't the way that I recommend though, and that is with the layer that contains the photo selected in the Layers panel, to go up to the Enhance menu, to go down to the Adjust Lighting category, where there is a direct Brightness/Contrast adjustment as well as other direct adjustments to the image lighting, and then in Adjust Color, there are some other direct adjustments.

I am not going to choose any of these, because I like to avoid direct adjustments when I can, because direct adjustments change the pixels in the photo permanently, and I can't go back in and tweak a direct adjustment later if necessary. So, I'm going to apply a Brightness/ Contrast adjustment another way as an adjustment layer. To do that, I'll move over to the panels on the right side of the screen. I'm going to close this Effects panel, so there is more room to show you the Adjustments and Layers panels, by clicking the panel menu icon here and choosing Close Tab Group.

To create an adjustment layer, I'll make sure that the layer that contains the photo is selected. In this case there is only one layer so it's automatically selected, and then I'll go down to the bottom of the Layers panel and click this black and white circular icon to reveal this menu. The choices in the second, third, and fourth groups are all adjustment layers. The choices up here are fill layers, which I don't use very often. I'm going to select the Brightness/ Contrast menu item here and that does a couple of things. First of all, it adds a new layer in the Layers panel that looks different than a regular layer like this one.

This new layer is an adjustment layer. It has an adjustment symbol on the left and then it has a layer mask on the right, because every adjustment layer comes with its own layer mask, which I'll show you how to use in a moment. Now take a look at the Adjustments panel. The Adjustments panel is displaying the controls for this particular adjustment. Because this image is too dark, I'm going to take the Brightness control and drag the slider over to the right, and as I do, I'm increasing the brightness of the image, as you can see in the document window. I'll put it at about 100, which is a subjective decision based on the look of the image in the document window, and that will change with each image.

At the bottom of the Adjustments panel are some icons that you'll find regardless of which kind of adjustment layer you apply. The first of these isn't relevant right now. It's used to clip an adjustment to just one of multiple layers, so that the adjustment affects only that layer. Otherwise by default, an adjustment layer affects all of the layers below it in the Layers panel. The next icon, the eye icon, I can use for a before and after view. If I click this eye icon like this, keep your eye on the document and you'll see the document go back to its original state, before I had applied a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer.

And if you look in the Layers panel, you'll see that the eye icon has automatically been turned off to the left of that Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer, meaning that that adjustment is temporarily invisible. So, I'll go back and click the eye icon again to enable the adjustment again. If I'm satisfied with that adjustment, I might go on and make some changes to my image. So, I'm going to click on that Background layer in the Layers panel that contains the photo, and imagine that I've made some changes there and then I look at the image and I say you know, I like the brightness of the image, but I think it needs a little tweak to the contrast, which is the difference between the bright tones and the dark tones in the image.

So, at any time, even after I have saved and closed the file, as long as I saved it in a format like Photoshop document or .psd format, which retains adjustment layers, I can go back and reopen this adjustment layer and change it. To do that, I'll click once on the thumbnail on the left side of the Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer in the Layers panel and that brings back the Brightness/Contrast controls in the Adjustments panel. This time, I'm going to take the Contrast slider and drag it to the right.

I think that gives a little more punch to the image. If I want to see how the image looks without this contrast change, but with the brightness change that I made last time, I'll come down to the bottom of the Adjustments panel and I'll click and hold on this Eye icon with the curved arrow. So I'm clicking and holding down my mouse and that's how the image looks with contrast at its default of zero but brightness set to 102. And here when I release my mouse is how the image looks with both the brightness and contrast adjustments that I have made. If I decide that I like the way that the image looks better without this contrast tweak, but with the first change that I made to brightness, then I can go to the next icon, which is this curved arrow, and click and now Contrast goes back to zero, but I've retained my Brightness adjustment.

And if I want to see the image with no Brightness/Contrast adjustment at all, as I mentioned before, I'll click the Preview icon here. And here's the image that I originally started with. I'll turn that back on by clicking the eye icon again and finally, if I decide that I don't want any Brightness/ Contrast adjustment at all, I can delete the entire adjustment by clicking on the Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer and dragging it down to the Trash icon at the bottom-right of the Layers panel. However I don't want you to do that right now. Instead I'm going to drag that back up and release my mouse, because I want to show you another advantage of making adjustments using adjustment layers, rather than direct adjustments.

And that is that adjustment layers come with their own layer mask. By default that layer mask is white, so it's having no impact on the adjustment right now. But if I add black paint to this layer mask, I can hide the effect of the adjustment in part of the image. So, let's say that I decide that I like the brightening of most of the image except for right up here where it's pretty much blowing out that area and drawing viewers' attention to that rather insignificant part of the photo. So, to fix that that I'm going to go to the toolbar and I'm going to select the Brush tool.

I'm going to switch the toolbar to a double-column, so that I can reach the Foreground Color box down here. I want to make sure that is set to black. If it isn't, I'll press X on my keyboard and that will switch from white to black. Then I'll come into this image and I'll just paint over that area, and what I've done is to hide the brightness adjustment from that part of the photo. I'm going to show you the layer mask now by going over to the Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer, holding down the Alt key on my keyboard, and clicking on that layer mask thumbnail.

And there you can see where the black part of the layer mask is hiding the Brightness/Contrast adjustment, so that the original photo shows through in that area. I used a Soft Brush, so there are also some various levels of gray pixels at the edge of that black paint, and those are acting to partially hide the adjustment, blending in the black part of the layer mask with the white part. I'm going to Alt-click again on the layer mask thumbnail on the Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer. By the way, you can apply more than one adjustment layer to an image.

If I wanted to add another adjustment layer, I would simply choose that adjustment layer from this menu. I could choose another flavor of adjustment layer or I can add a second Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer, and limit it to another area of the image by painting on the layer mask. So, when you're applying a Brightness/ Contrast adjustment, a Levels adjustment, a Hue/Saturation adjustment, or a handful of other kinds of adjustments, try to apply them as adjustment layers rather than as direct adjustments to a photo.

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