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Photoshop is the world’s most powerful image editor, and it’s arguably the most complex, as well. Fortunately, nobody knows the program like award-winning book and video author Deke McClelland. Join Deke as he explores such indispensable Photoshop features as resolution, cropping, color correction, retouching, and layers. Gain expertise with real-world projects that make sense. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download Deke's free dekeKeys and color settings from the Exercise Files tab.
In this exercise, I'm going to introduce you to adjustment layers, which are independent layers of color adjustment inside Photoshop. They affect all the layers below them. They remain 100% editable. So you can always go back and change your mind. And they're nondestructive. And that they temporarily as opposed to permanently affect the colors of pixels inside of your images. We're going to employ a couple of Brightness/Contrast layers in order to more or less match these butterflies to each other. So you may recall I've got Light butterfly.jpg and Dark butterfly.jpg opened, here inside of Photoshop.
I have made some modifications to the images. Let's see how well I've done in making these two butterflies look the same by going up to the Arrange Documents icon here in the Applications Bar and choosing 2 Up. Now we'll see the two butterfly side-by-side. We've got Dark butterfly.jpg on left and Light butterfly.jpg on right. I'm going to press Shift+Spacebar together. And drag one of them in order to move them both like so. And I would say that Dark butterfly at this point has a little more life inside of him, a little more contrast.
Light butterfly is looking a little more drab. But we may be able to get a closer match than this by adjusting our Brightness/Contrast numbers, but what we've applied so far is not adjustable. Here you don't want to just go back and apply Brightness/Contrast again of course because that would be incrementally damaging your image. You could undo and try again. But that's not going to give you much flexibility compared with what we're about to do. So what I'd like you to do if you're working along with me. I've got Dark butterfly.jpg opened. I'll go to the File menu.
And I'll choose the Revert command. Notice a couple of weird things about Revert. First of all it has a keyboard shortcut, which means that you can choose Revert command by accidentally pressing F12, if you're not careful, which is a fairly dangerous thing because when you choose Revert, you'll loose all your unsaved changes. Also if I choose the Revert command here in Photoshop, I don't get a warning or anything. My changes just go away. And well, the reason that Photoshop can afford to be so cavalier especially by the way so cavalier as to give you a keyboard shortcut.
I'll just press F12 for Light butterfly.jpg in order to restore its original settings. It's because reverting is an undoable operation. If I go up to the Edit menu, there's Undo Revert. You can press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z to get everything back. You also by the way can go over to the History panel, right here by clicking on History icon. And you'll notice all of your operations are still intact. So there is the appearance of the image when I opened it. There's the Brightness/Contrast adjusted version of the image. And there is the reverted image.
So I could just as easily by the way go back to the Open version if I like. I should make this caveat. If I do that, I can never get back to Brightness/Contrast after applying a different modification, because then it'll be gone. So it doesn't matter for our case. We don't want that Brightness/Contrast adjustment. Here I am inside the layers panel. And I'm going to bring up the Adjustments by clicking on the Adjustments icon. Notice right there we've got a row of color adjustment, starting with Brightness/Contrast, then Levels, then Curves, then Exposure.
And they are arranged in three rows of icons altogether. And by the way when I'm pointing at each one of them, we can see the name of the color adjustment in the upper- left corner of the Adjustments panel. Notice that this is the same arrangement of the commands in the Image Adjustment submenu. So there're Brightness/Contrast, Levels, Curves and Exposure. Those four icons in the top row, then these are the icons in the second row. These are the icons in the third row. What about the fourth and fifth groups? They don't have any corresponding adjustment layers inside Photoshop.
So I just want you to note that, what we're going to do is click on Brightness/Contrast like so in order to add a layer. Notice that you do two things. You add a layer to the layers panel. And that affects all layers below. Then you bring up your numerical settings and other options here inside the Adjustments panel. And also inside of Photoshop CS 5, you go ahead and automatically highlight that first value because you may recall back in the Setup chapter, I had you turned on Auto Select parameter, very important if you want to be able to move fluidly through the program.
All right, so since I'm working at Light butterfly, I'm going to go ahead and change this value to (-45). And then tab to Contrast and change it to 70. All I'm doing is reinstating the last numerical settings I've applied. I'll go ahead and Hide that panel. Then I'll switchover to Dark butterfly here in order to make it active. Bring up the Adjustments panel again. This time though, rather than clicking on the icon, which you may recall if you click on the icon you make a new layer called Brightness/Contrast 1. I don't want that. So I'll press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac to undo that modification.
And I'm going to press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and click that icon. That invokes the New layer dialog box. I'll go ahead and Name this guy, lighten, so that I can name and create the layer in one operation. Click OK. And this time I reinstate the settings of 100 for Brightness and 50 for Contrast like so. And I am left with those same images I had just a moment ago, those same slightly different butterflies. In the next exercise, I'll show you how to tweak the values in order to make the butterflies match.
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