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The dynamic adjustment layer

From: Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals

Video: The dynamic adjustment layer

In this movie, I'll show you how to apply Brightness/Contrast as a dynamic Adjustment Layer. And I'm going to recommend that you use Adjustment Layers for all your luminance adjustments, because you can always go back and modify the settings anytime you like. I'm working inside Light butterfly.jpg and you have a couple of different options for creating Adjustment Layers. One is to drop down to this little black white icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and click on it. The Adjustment Layers start with Brightness/Contrast and end with Selective Color, and they represent most of the static adjustments you can apply inside Photoshop. There are a few commands we saw on the Adjust submenu that don't work as Adjustment Layers.

The dynamic adjustment layer

In this movie, I'll show you how to apply Brightness/Contrast as a dynamic Adjustment Layer. And I'm going to recommend that you use Adjustment Layers for all your luminance adjustments, because you can always go back and modify the settings anytime you like. I'm working inside Light butterfly.jpg and you have a couple of different options for creating Adjustment Layers. One is to drop down to this little black white icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and click on it. The Adjustment Layers start with Brightness/Contrast and end with Selective Color, and they represent most of the static adjustments you can apply inside Photoshop. There are a few commands we saw on the Adjust submenu that don't work as Adjustment Layers.

Up at top here are three commands that allow you to apply Fill layers. They have nothing to do with luminance or color adjustment. The other way to work is to go up to the Window menu and choose the Adjustments command. And that brings up the Adjustments panel, which in Photoshop CS6 merely allows you to create adjustments. You don't edit adjustments here. And notice that each of the Adjustment Layers is now represented by an icon. You just hover over the icon to see the name of the adjustment.

I'm going to go ahead and click in that first icon to create a Brightness/Contrast layer. Notice Photoshop creates a new layer in the Layers panel called Brightness/Contrast 1. Plus, it automatically brings up the New Properties panel, which is where I can edit my settings. And by the way, if the panel is getting in your way of seeing the image, you can make it smaller if you like. If you've got all the screen real estate in the world, you can make the panel much larger and that's going to give you more fine tune control with the sliders are concerned.

Anyway, I'm short on space, so I'm going to keep the panel small. I'll start things off by clicking on the Auto button in order to see what Photoshop comes up with. So you still have an Auto button here inside the Properties panel and that is better I suppose, but it's a little heavy-handed where the contrast is concerned. What I'm going to do is dial down the Brightness to about -45 should work, and then I'm going to take the Contrast down as well to about 70, in order to achieve this result here.

Again, you want to leave the Use Legacy check box off. When you're done, you can just click the double arrow icon to hide the Properties panel. Now happily, this is an independent layer of luminance correction, and I can turn it on or off as I like. So if I want to see the before version of the image, I'll turn off the layer. If I want to see the after version, I turn on the layer. And meanwhile, the original image is altogether unharmed. Whereas, if I take a look at what it did to the dark butterfly, which still looks very good, those pixels are permanently modified.

So in other words, when you apply a static adjustment that's tantamount to a destructive edit inside Photoshop. I don't mean I've destroyed my image, I mean, I've permanently modified it, whereas, with an Adjustment Layer, it's not only editable, but it's also dynamic and nondestructive. Now of course, the advantage to the static modification is I can go ahead and save my changes over the original image to the JPEG file format, because after all this is a flat image and JPEG doesn't support layers.

It's also a disadvantage, because it means you can easily save over your original, which is not something you necessarily want to do. The potential disadvantage with Light butterfly with the Adjustment Layer is I have to save this as a native PSD document, because it contains layers. But check out the size of the layered image. Down here in the lower left corner, you can see that the flat version of the image is 15.1 megabytes, and after the slash, you can see that the layered version of the image is also 15.1 megabytes, because Adjustment Layers consume just a few bytes of information.

They are extremely small, they are extremely efficient, and they are highly desirable ways to correct images in Photoshop.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals
Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals

100 video lessons · 57607 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 19m 15s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 27s
    2. Opening from the Windows desktop
      4m 7s
    3. Opening from the Macintosh Finder
      4m 9s
    4. Opening from Photoshop or Bridge
      2m 45s
    5. Opening an image from Mini Bridge
      1m 16s
    6. Opening through Camera Raw
      2m 32s
    7. Closing one image and Closing All
      1m 59s
  2. 38m 14s
    1. Navigating your image
      40s
    2. The dark vs. the light interface
      3m 12s
    3. Navigating tabs and windows
      4m 32s
    4. Panels and workspaces
      4m 27s
    5. Zooming incrementally
      4m 29s
    6. Zooming continuously
      2m 43s
    7. Entering a custom zoom value
      2m 25s
    8. Scrolling and panning images
      2m 31s
    9. Rotating and resetting the view
      2m 11s
    10. Cycling between screen modes
      3m 10s
    11. Using the Navigator panel
      3m 38s
    12. Adjusting a few screen prefs
      4m 16s
  3. 45m 58s
    1. Digital imaging fundamentals
      1m 45s
    2. Image size and resolution
      3m 3s
    3. The Image Size command
      3m 27s
    4. Common resolution standards
      3m 20s
    5. Upsampling vs. real pixels
      4m 36s
    6. Changing the print size
      6m 16s
    7. Downsampling for print
      4m 12s
    8. Downsampling for email
      3m 11s
    9. The interpolation settings
      5m 22s
    10. Downsampling advice
      4m 36s
    11. Upsampling advice
      6m 10s
  4. 53m 17s
    1. The layered composition
      1m 40s
    2. Introducing the Layers panel
      4m 12s
    3. Adding, scaling, and aligning layers
      5m 27s
    4. Dragging and dropping layers
      4m 36s
    5. Stack, reveal, and rename
      2m 58s
    6. Opacity, history, and blend mode
      6m 5s
    7. Duplicating a selected portion of a layer
      5m 32s
    8. Applying a clipping mask
      3m 58s
    9. Blending inside a clipping mask
      4m 10s
    10. Finishing off your artwork
      3m 13s
    11. Creating a new layer and background
      4m 24s
    12. Layering tips and tricks
      7m 2s
  5. 26m 19s
    1. The art of saving
      54s
    2. Four things to know about saving
      6m 0s
    3. Saving layers to PSD
      6m 38s
    4. Saving print images to TIFF
      4m 48s
    5. Saving an interactive image to PNG
      3m 41s
    6. Saving a flat photo to JPEG
      4m 18s
  6. 19m 36s
    1. Honing in on your image
      1m 43s
    2. The new and improved Crop tool
      3m 35s
    3. Editing your last crop
      3m 1s
    4. Straightening a crooked image
      2m 29s
    5. Filling in missing details
      6m 44s
    6. Using the Perspective Crop tool
      2m 4s
  7. 42m 6s
    1. First, there is brightness
      2m 12s
    2. How luminance works
      4m 18s
    3. The three Auto commands
      3m 27s
    4. Automatic brightness and contrast
      3m 19s
    5. The Brightness/Contrast command
      2m 47s
    6. The dynamic adjustment layer
      4m 5s
    7. Editing adjustment layers
      3m 52s
    8. Isolating an adjustment with a layer mask
      3m 31s
    9. Introducing the histogram
      4m 58s
    10. Measuring an adjustment
      3m 34s
    11. Using the Shadows/Highlights command
      6m 3s
  8. 44m 33s
    1. And second, there is color
      1m 31s
    2. Identifying a color cast
      3m 34s
    3. Correcting a color cast automatically
      3m 57s
    4. Changing the color balance
      6m 10s
    5. Compensating with Photo Filter
      3m 11s
    6. Adjusting color intensity with Vibrance
      3m 29s
    7. Correcting color cast in Camera Raw
      5m 46s
    8. The Hue/Saturation command
      5m 26s
    9. Summoning colors where none exist
      4m 8s
    10. Making more color with Vibrance
      4m 27s
    11. Making a quick-and-dirty sepia tone
      2m 54s
  9. 55m 46s
    1. Making selective modifications
      1m 10s
    2. The geometric Marquee tools
      6m 1s
    3. Aligning one image element to another
      4m 59s
    4. The freeform Lasso tools
      3m 59s
    5. Polygonal Lasso tool and Quick Mask
      5m 19s
    6. Cropping one selection inside another
      6m 15s
    7. Creating rays of light
      4m 44s
    8. Quick Selection and Similar
      4m 11s
    9. Making it better with Refine Edge
      4m 56s
    10. Integrating image elements
      2m 39s
    11. Magic Wand and Grow
      5m 17s
    12. Refine, integrate, and complete
      6m 16s
  10. 53m 49s
    1. Your best face forward
      1m 0s
    2. Content-Aware Fill
      6m 11s
    3. Using the Spot Healing Brush
      5m 36s
    4. The more capable "standard" Healing Brush
      5m 55s
    5. Meet the Clone Source panel
      3m 53s
    6. Caps Lock and Fade
      4m 57s
    7. The Dodge and Burn tools
      5m 1s
    8. Adjusting color with the Brush tool
      6m 35s
    9. Smoothing skin textures
      5m 58s
    10. Brightening teeth
      4m 0s
    11. Intensifying eyes
      4m 43s
  11. 51s
    1. Goodbye
      51s

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