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The Adjustments panel

From: Photoshop CS4 New Features

Video: The Adjustments panel

If you wanted to ask somebody at Adobe, what is the big new feature, the one big new feature inside Photoshop CS4, my guess is they would tell you the Adjustments panel right here, which gives you access to Adjustment layers inside of Photoshop. So basically we are taking Adjustment layers and organizing them into a single panel. And there are some new features including a bunch of presets down here and this new Vibrance adjustment that you can apply, and we will be seeing those functions. Now I have this image opened of this happy birthday pancake that my wife made for one of my children. And I want to make this image look better. I mean it is darling and everything but the color is terrible. So, we are going to heap on a few Adjustment layers. Now I am going to give myself a little more room by clicking to the right of Styles tab in order to collapse that panel group. And then I'm going to make sure that the Adjustment panel is open. I can get to it by going to the Window menu and choosing Adjustments.

The Adjustments panel

If you wanted to ask somebody at Adobe, what is the big new feature, the one big new feature inside Photoshop CS4, my guess is they would tell you the Adjustments panel right here, which gives you access to Adjustment layers inside of Photoshop. So basically we are taking Adjustment layers and organizing them into a single panel. And there are some new features including a bunch of presets down here and this new Vibrance adjustment that you can apply, and we will be seeing those functions. Now I have this image opened of this happy birthday pancake that my wife made for one of my children. And I want to make this image look better. I mean it is darling and everything but the color is terrible. So, we are going to heap on a few Adjustment layers. Now I am going to give myself a little more room by clicking to the right of Styles tab in order to collapse that panel group. And then I'm going to make sure that the Adjustment panel is open. I can get to it by going to the Window menu and choosing Adjustments.

And we are going to start things off by adding a Levels adjustment and I'm going to, for laughs here, I'm going to try out a preset. Now I should say, by the way, you can still create adjustment layers the old fashioned way by going down to this black/white icon and choosing a color adjustment, but everything is going to happen inside of the Adjustments panel. There is no way to get a dialog box anymore when you are creating an Adjustment layer. You are always working inside of this panel. So I'm going to add a Levels preset, and I will just try one of these out. I know for example, that this needs some degree of additional contrast. So we will go ahead and try Increase Contrast. And notice just by clicking on the preset, I create a Levels Adjustment layer right down here in the Layers panel and I go ahead and establish some controls here inside the Adjustments panel.

So here are all my Levels adjustments. Now one of the criticisms I would have looking at this is I would say, well why would you want to work inside of a cramped panel when you could have worked inside of a big dialog box that shows you the entire histogram? Well you can expand this panel if you want to, so that you see the entire histogram by clicking on this little icon right there which switches you to the expanded view, and that is more like it. Now we can see what we are doing. All right, well these changes, this preset does not happen to be what I want. So I'm going to change things out here by clicking on the Auto button, and that will apply Auto Levels to this image. So it is balancing each one of the color channels independently. And then I'm going to ahead and reduce the white point value on order to brighten up the image. Now, I will tell you something.

Because Command+Tilde has been remapped on the Mac to switch between windows and because Ctrl or Command+Tilde has now been remapped on both platforms that switch you to the 100% view mode, those keyboard shortcuts are no longer accessible to you for switching between channels. And also by the way we are working inside of a panel, not a dialog box, so we cannot be doing the control stuff anymore anyway. So, here is the switch between channels if you are interested. From the keyboard, you do an Alt+3 for the Red channel and there would be an Option+3 in the Mac. Alt+4 or Option+4 for Green and then Alt+5 or Option+5 for Blue, and then to go back to the RGB, you would press Alt or Option+2.

You know, kind of good luck remembering those, but there they are. Now I want to add more adjustments because so far I have done a pretty good job of brightening this image, but the color is still not what I wanted to be. So, to get back to my Adjustments list, I will click on this little green arrow down here in the lower left corner of the Adjustments panel. Now I want to add a Color Balance layer. So I will hover this icon right here. Notice you're really going to have to figure these icons out just by hovering over them. You will see the name up their in the upper left-hand corner of the panel. So here is Brightness/Contrast, here is Levels, here is Curves and so on.

This guy right there is Color Balance. I will go ahead and click on it and it is going to bring my Color Balance controls as well as adding a Color Balance Adjustment layer right there. And also I think of plate, I know this plate is more green than we are seeing it here. It is not quite so blue. So I'm going to bring this value up to say something like +20, pretty high. Now that ends up making the image too green. So let us balance it out by making it more yellow as well. I'll take this value down to make it a -15 and then we need an awful lot more red. So we will take this red value up to say +35, which looks pretty good, especially if we take a look at some of the other portions of the image.

This is just about where I want it to be. Now let's say for whatever reason I want to bring out the color saturation, but I do not want to apply a straight Saturation adjustment because that would elevate the saturation levels across the image. Instead I'm going to add a new Vibrance layer. So I'm going to click on this little green arrow once again to return to my adjustments list, and I will click on this little modified V icon in order to add a Vibrance layer, which has just two sliders, Vibrance and Saturation, right out of Camera Raw, if you are familiar with those controls.

And I'm just going to take the Vibrance up to something like +45, fairly high. All right, now let us see what kind of difference we have made here. I'm going to go ahead and Shift Tab away those right side panels. And I'm going to press the F12 key to revert the image or I could go up to the File menu and choose the Revert command. And that way we will see the before version of the image, so this is our low-colored, low-intensity, low-interest version of this wonderful pancake. And if I press Ctrl+Z or Command+C on the Mac, we will see the after version. Thanks to these undeniably handy color adjustments that are available to us here inside Photoshop CS4.

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Photoshop CS4 New Features

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Deke McClelland
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