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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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