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Photoshop CS4 offers an abundance of helpful shortcuts and hidden tricks that allow designers and photographers to get more done in less time. In Photoshop CS4 Power Shortcuts, Michael Ninness reveals hundreds of tips to boost productivity, including the top 20 power shortcuts every Photoshop user must know. He covers strategies for better document and panel management, and offers techniques for becoming quicker and more nimble when using layers, adjustment layers, and layer masks. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download the keyboard shortcut guide from the Exercise Files tab.
When you create an adjustment layer, by default it automatically affects every single layer underneath it. So, here I am at the top of the layers stack, on this Bubbles layer. I'm going to go to the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and you will see that it inserts it at the top of the layers stack. Let's go and turn the Colorized check box in the Adjustments panel and we'll give it a more attractive hue here, let's say. We can make it more like a green there and maybe desaturate it just a touch. Okay. So, it's affecting every single layer that's comes underneath it. If you want it to only affect the layer immediately below it, you need to clip the adjustment layer. You can do it after the fact by holding down the Option key and clicking between the two layers to do layer clips and now it's only affecting the layer directly below it. Let's undo that. You can also go the Adjustments panel itself, and instead of having another keyboard shortcut, you click that little icon there to do the same thing.
Now, when you are creating the adjustment layer -let's go ahead and delete this- you can actually change the default, so that when the adjustment layer gets created, it automatically clips to the layer just below it. That's what this icon is here at the bottom of the Adjustments panel. It's a toggle, so if you turn it on, you see its appearance changes and now when I create that new Hue and Saturation adjustment layer, you are going to see that's automatically indented by default. So, you just decided if that's the default behavior that you want. I'm going to Colorize that again. You will see only that single layer changing color.
Now while I'm on the subject, if you actually want more than one layer, but not all of them to be adjusted, there is work around for that as well. You may want to put them in a group, but there is a slight trick to that. So let's unclip these. It's Option-click or Alt-click in between. And I'm going to select these three layers, let's say. I'm going to group them, Command+G or Ctrl+G and put them in a group. And now I'll drag this Hue and Saturation adjustment layer and put it into the group at the top there and something interesting is happening. I would have though, by default right, that it would have only affected these three layers, but it's also affecting the layer on the outside of the group.
And that's because the group has its own blend mode. If you are not familiar with blend modes, that's this pop-up menu here at the top where you can change how the different layers blend with each other. And the default blend mode for a group is Pass Through. What you want to do is limit the blending, in this case the clipping, to be within the group. So I'm going to set the blend mode to Normal for the group. And you will see now that adjustment layer is only affecting the layers within the group and not affecting the layer outside the group. So there you have it. Some different options for setting the clip of an adjustment layer as you create it.
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