Join Jan Kabili for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the new Adjustments panel, part of Photoshop CS4: Image Adjustments in Depth.
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One of the big new features in Photoshop CS4 is the Adjustments panel, which for the first time offers one place that you can go to manage all adjustment layers in an image. I'd like to take you on a tour of the features in the Adjustment panel. I have an image here that already has a couple of adjustment layers in it. I'll tell you more about this peculiar flavors of adjustment layers in later movies, but for now what I'd like you to see that when I select one of these adjustment layers, like the Brightness/Contrast layer, the Adjustments panel changes and shows me the controls for just that adjustment layer. And if I click on a different adjustment layer in the Layers panel, I see different controls in the Adjustments panel and I can use these controls to edit the Vibrance adjustment layer.
You've seen in previous movies that I can change the Adjustments panel from this view to its icon view by going to the bottom left of the Adjustments panel and clicking the big green arrow. From here I could add another adjustment layer, as I've shown you how to do already, by clicking one of the adjustment layer icons, here at the top of the Adjustments panel. There's another way to add an adjustment layer from this panel and that's what I would like to show you here and that's by using one of the adjustment layer presets at the bottom of the Adjustments panel.
The first thing to do here is to select the kind of adjustment layer that you want to add. So I'm interested in adding a Black & White adjustment layer that will convert this image from color to Black & White. So I move down to the Back & White Presets in the Adjustments panel and I'll click the arrow to the left of Black & White Presets. Then I'll scroll down to see the various presets available for a Black & White adjustment layer. I'd like to add an adjustment layer that simulates the look of using a red filter on a camera. So I'm going to choose High Contrast Red Filter and when I click that choice, several things happen. First of all in the Layers panel, there's a new Black & White adjustment layer and the image has been converted to Black & White and it's been converted to Black & White according to this preset group of settings in the Adjustments panel.
Here at the top of the Adjustments panel there is another menu that list the various presets and it shows that the High Contrast Red Filter preset is the currently applied preset. I could just accept these preset settings or I can use them as a starting point for further customization. So for example, if I want more than infrared film look to this image, I might come into the Adjustments controls, click on the Yellows slider and drag it to the right to brighten the yellow light in the image. There's a lot more to learn about the Black & White adjustment layer and I'll be coming back to this adjustment is a later movie. But for now, let's continue this tour of the Adjustments panel by taking a look at some of the controls at the bottom of the Adjustments panel.
Notice that there is an eye icon here, which looks very much like the eye icon that you may be familiar with from the Layers panel. This eye icon in the Adjustments panel does the very same thing as the Layers eye icon. With that Black & White adjustment layer selected, if I click this eye icon, the Black & White adjustment becomes temporarily invisible. So the image once again looks like a color image. This eye icon comes in really handy for a before and after comparison of how an image looks with and without an adjustment layer. I'll click that eye icon again to bring back the Black & White adjustment.
The next icon is the Previous State icon. Clicking and holding this icon displays the last state of the selected adjustments layer. In this case, it's showing how the image looked before the last change that I made to the Black & White adjustment layer. In other words, before I dragged the Yellow slider to the right. I release my mouse to go back to the current view of the image and if I want to reset the image to before I had dragged the Yellows slider to the right, I would move over one more icon and click the Reset icon at the bottom of the Adjustments panel, and if I click that icon one more time, Photoshop takes me all the way back to the default settings for Black & White adjustment layer.
There are a couple of other icons here at the bottom of the Adjustments panel including the Expanded View icon. If I click that, the Adjustments panel gets wider and this comes in really handy for adjustments that have a lot controls in them, like a Curves adjustment layer or a Levels adjustments layer. This icon is the Clipping icon. You may remember in an earlier movie I mentioned that by default an adjustment layer affects all layers that have visible content that are beneath the adjustment layer in the Layers panel. This Clipping icon can be used to change that behavior by limiting the layers to which an adjustment layer applies, as I'll be showing you in a later movie.
There's also a Trashcan icon here and if I click this icon with an adjustment layer selected and then click Yes, the adjustment layer is completely eliminated from the Layers panel. And finally don't forget about the panel menu that's at the top right of every panel group. If I click the panel menu for the Adjustments panel, I see a number of controls related to this adjustment, including a quick way to add another adjustment layer of the different flavor and controls for closing the Adjustments panel and closing the entire tab group.
The Adjustment panel offers one stop shopping for working with adjustment layers. This is a place to go to create adjustment layers, to access the controls for all adjustments layers and to edit adjustment layers. If you're a long time Photoshop user, like all interface changes, this new panel may take a while to get used to. But once you do get used to it, I think you'll agree that the new Adjustments panel is a real help when you are working with adjustments layers.
- Using adjustment layers in a non-destructive image-editing workflow
- Correcting color with curves
- Adjusting brightness and contrast with levels
- Dodging and burning photographs
- Reading histograms accurately
- Converting color images to grayscale with a Black & White adjustment layer
- Customizing auto-corrections for more accurate quick adjustments