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In Photoshop CS5 Essential Training, author Michael Ninness demonstrates how to produce the highest quality images with fantastic detail in the shortest amount of time, using a combination of Photoshop CS5, Adobe Bridge, and Camera Raw. This course shows the most efficient ways to perform common editing tasks, including noise reduction, shadow and highlight detail recovery, retouching, and combining multiple images. Along the way, Michael shares the secrets of non-destructive editing, utilizing and mastering Adobe Bridge, Camera Raw, layers, adjustment layers, blending modes, layer masks, and much more. Exercise files are included with the course.
When you first start experimenting with Adjustment layers, one of the things I recommend is that you actually start with a Preset. Let's talk about what I mean here. Many of the Adjustment layers that you can choose from actually come with Preset settings that you can just choose from for doing very quick adjustments. So, for instance, let's choose the Levels Adjustment layer from the Adjustments panel. And if I don't know how to use the interface yet, if I never played with these, the Presets there can help you out. At the very top, if an Adjustment layer has a set of Presets available, you'll see a pop-up menu here, right to the next the Name of the Adjustment layer.
And it always says Default to start out with. If you click on the pop-up menu, you'll get a list of all the presets that ship with the product. Now you can actually create your own. We will talk about that in a minute. But these are just ones that Adobe put in for you to get started with. So, I look at this image, and I want more contrast. So, I can see that there are actually some Presets here to increase contrast. So, I'll choose Increase Contrast 1, and as you might expect, that's just a modest contrast adjustment. I go back and choose a different Preset, and that will just replace the current settings with the one I choose next. So, if I so Increase Contrast 2, I get slightly more contrast, and if I choose the third one I get even more contrast.
So there, without having to really understand what the UI is doing here down in the bottom of the panel, these Presets give me quick access to the result I'm looking for. Let's add an additional Adjustment layer here. We'll click on the Back button in the bottom of the panel, and we will go choose a Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer. And I want to bring down the saturation. So, look at there, right next to the name of the Adjustment layer, there is a set of Presets available for Hue/Saturation as well. And you can see there is quite a few here. Now if I want to increase Saturation, make it even more colorful, I have a Preset for that.
In this particular image though, I think it's already saturated enough. So, I am going to choose Old Style, and this kind of takes out a lot of the color. It makes it look more tinted or hand-colored, just so to speak. So, you've got a lot of flexibility here. Play around with a Preset and see what options you have right from the beginning. Now what I am going to do is actually create more of a custom one that I want to save and reuse on another image. So, I am going to start with, say, the Sepia Tone. And you can see if I want an instant Sepia Tone effect, I've got a Preset that gives me that without having to know what to choose from in the actual panel.
If I go back to, say, Cyanotype, it gives me a nice colorized effect. And then once I am here, I can use this as a jumping off point. Maybe I like the colorization of this Preset but not the specific Hue that was chosen. So, instead of Blue, I can shift the Hue slider over to maybe a Purple, depending on what I am looking for. I am going to so ahead and increase the Lightness of this too. I want to kind of use this as a backdrop effect, say I am going to put type over the image, or use it as a background and have other images on top of that. So, I will just want to screen this back in a nondestructive way, because I might want to change my mind and bring back some of the contrast of the image.
But let's say this is an effect that I want to be able to use on other images. So, I want to save out my own Preset. You'll see, once you adjust some of the settings in the panel, your Preset will change from whatever name it was to Custom. In the flyout menu, in the upper-right of the Adjustments panel, this little icon here, if we click that, there will be an ability to save out your own Custom Preset. So, here it says Save Hue/Saturation Preset. Whatever Adjustment layer you are in, that name will change based on the name of that Adjustment layer.
So, let's go ahead and choose Save. We will give this a name. I am going to go ahead and call this Backdrop. Now you can save these anywhere; it doesn't really matter, but by default, Photoshop puts them in a logical location in a folder for Hue and Saturation Presets. These are files that can actually be shared with others. You can actually download a lot of these Presets from the web. Just do a Google Search for Photoshop Adjustment Layer Presets, and you'll be taken to web sites where you can download them and then load them into Photoshop. Here, I have given it a name. I am going to go ahead and hit Save. And I am going to switch over to a different image, this pumpkins image here.
And to access that Hue/Saturation Preset, I am going to go to the Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer in the Adjustments panel. And from my list, where it says Default right now, any Preset that you saved or added to Photoshop will be listed below the ones that shipped with the product. So, there it says Backdrop. I'll go ahead and choose that Preset, and I instantly get that same effect on that different image. So, again, Presets can be real nice timesavers, and they're really helpful when you're first starting out. So, play with the Presets. Eventually, you'll end up saving your own so you can really automate some of your work on things that you do over and over again.
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