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Adobe Photoshop: The Complete Guide Bootcamp

Lesson 24 of 118

Using Adjustment Layers

Ben Willmore

Adobe Photoshop: The Complete Guide Bootcamp

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

24. Using Adjustment Layers


  Class Trailer
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2 Bridge vs. Lightroom Duration:06:39
3 Tour of Photoshop Interface Duration:18:21
4 Overview of Bridge Workspace Duration:07:42
9 Developing Raw Images Duration:30:33
11 How to Save Images Duration:03:37
12 Using the Transform Tool Duration:04:48
14 Selection Tools Duration:05:55
15 Combining Selection Tools Duration:07:37
17 Quick Mask Mode Duration:05:07
18 Select Menu Essentials Duration:21:28
20 Align Active Layers Duration:07:29
21 Creating a New Layer Duration:06:15
22 Creating a Clipping Mask Duration:03:02
23 Using Effects on Layers Duration:11:24
24 Using Adjustment Layers Duration:16:44
25 Using the Shape Tool Duration:04:39
30 Adding Texture to Images Duration:09:11
35 Understanding Curves Duration:06:18
36 Editing an Image Using Curves Duration:18:41
39 Editing with Blending Modes Duration:08:04
40 Color Theory Duration:05:59
41 Curves for Color Duration:16:52
42 Hue and Saturation Adjustments Duration:08:59
44 Match Colors Using Numbers Duration:16:59
45 Adjusting Skin Tones Duration:05:25
52 Clone Between Documents Duration:13:19
53 Crop Tool Duration:10:07
54 Frame Tool Duration:02:59
56 Paint Brush Tools Duration:13:33
57 History Brush Tool Duration:06:27
58 Eraser and Gradient Tools Duration:03:06
60 Blur and Shape Tools Duration:11:06
61 Dissolve Mode Duration:09:24
62 Multiply Mode Duration:15:29
63 Screen Mode Duration:14:08
64 Hard Light Mode Duration:14:54
66 Smart Filters Duration:11:32
67 High Pass Filter Duration:13:40
68 Blur Filter Duration:05:59
69 Filter Gallery Duration:07:42
70 Adaptive Wide Angle Filter Duration:04:43
71 Combing Filters and Features Duration:04:45
72 Select and Mask Duration:20:04
73 Manually Select and Mask Duration:08:08
74 Creating a Clean Background Duration:21:19
75 Changing the Background Duration:13:34
76 Smart Object Overview Duration:08:37
77 Nested Smart Objects Duration:09:55
78 Scale and Warp Smart Objects Duration:09:08
79 Replace Contents Duration:06:55
80 Raw Smart Objects Duration:10:20
83 Panoramas Duration:13:15
84 HDR Duration:11:20
85 Focus Stacking Duration:04:02
86 Time-lapse Duration:11:18
87 Light Painting Composite Duration:08:05
88 Remove Moire Patterns Duration:06:11
89 Remove Similar Objects At Once Duration:09:52
91 Replace a Repeating Pattern Duration:06:50
95 Warping Duration:11:03
96 Liquify Duration:14:02
97 Puppet Warp Duration:12:52
98 Displacement Map Duration:10:36
99 Polar Coordinates Duration:07:19
100 Organize Your Layers Duration:11:02
101 Layer Styles: Bevel and Emboss Duration:02:59
102 Layer Style: Knockout Deep Duration:12:34
103 Blending Options: Blend if Duration:13:18
105 Layer Comps Duration:08:30
106 Black-Only Shadows Duration:06:07
109 Create an Antique Color Action Duration:13:52
110 Create a Contour Map Action Duration:10:20
111 Faux Sunset Action Duration:07:20
112 Photo Credit Action Duration:05:54
113 Create Sharable Actions Duration:07:31
117 Scratch Disk Is Full Duration:06:02
118 Preview Thumbnail Duration:02:10

Lesson Info

Using Adjustment Layers

then there's another kind of layer we can use, and it's called an adjustment layer most the time when you want to adjust the picture. An adjustment will only affect one layer at a time. If you ever want a new adjustment to affect more than one layer, then you need to use an adjustment layer. So let's figure out how they work. I'm gonna go to the bottom of my layers panel, and that's where I'm gonna find an icon that is 1/2 black and half white circle. That's the adjustment layer icon now before. I quickly aren't do anything. Look at what layer is active. Whenever you make a brand new layer, it always appears directly above the active layer. So I'm about to create a new layer directly above this texture. I'll go to the adjustment layer icon, and I'm gonna choose hue and saturation. When I dio, I get a new layer. It appears directly above the layer I was working on, and this is a special layer called an adjustment layer. An adjustment layer literally contains an adjustment just above my ...

layers panel. Here. I see the properties, which are the settings for that particular adjustment, and what I'm going to do is turn on a check box in there called color rise that allowed color to our texture. Then I can adjust the hue, which is the basic color. Get any color background I want. And then we have saturation, which controls how colorful it will be. So if I brought it way up, it will be very colorful, or, if you bring it down, you'll barely be able to tell its had color applied. And then, if I want to brighten or darken the texture as a whole, we have lightness so I might end up making this really dark, said. Really make those photographs stand out and then maybe fine tune the basic color and how colorful it is. But that is working on this texture only because I turned on a check box called Color Rise, and that would add color to a black and white picture. Right now it's looking are layers panel. Here we have the adjustment layer that I created, the way adjustment layers work is remember, it's a Ziff. You're standing at the top of the layers panel looking down. If that's the case, would you not see this photograph as being closest to you and then below that you would see another and another and another, and you would only see this adjustment layer after you've already seen all these other pictures in an adjustment layer is kind of like sunglasses. It's is if you're looking through it and it changes your view of what's underneath. So this adjustment layer right now is on Lee gonna fact the layers that are found underneath it because it's is if you're standing at the top looking down and you see all this stuff before you see the adjustment. If I were to click on this adjustment layer, move it up in my layers stack, then it's going to start affecting additional layers, because if you're looking from the top of the layers panel down now, you're looking through this adjustment layer to certain layers that are found underneath. But any layers that are on top are not affected, so adjustment layers on Lee affect those layers that are underneath. I'm gonna make it so the only layer that's really underneath is that texture. All right, now it's apply some more adjustments. When I look here, I noticed we have two blue skies, but they're not the same color of blue. The one on the left looks to be a little bit more purplish. I think in this one more bluish. I want the blue skies to be close to matching. So I'm gonna find out what layer is this Because I want to change that layer. Well, this is when auto select layers is useful. If auto select layers of my options bars turned off, it's never going to switch layers on me without me asking for it, too. And the way I ask it to do so is I make sure the move tool is what I'm currently working in. I hold on the command key control on Windows, and I click my mouse, and it just changed which layers active to confirm its layer. I want I'll turn off the eyeball next to the active layer just to see if what I was expecting to disappear does. Then, with that layer active, I'm gonna create an adjustment layer called hue and saturation. And in hue and saturation, there's a feature we haven't used yet, but it's this little hand icon. If you click on the hand icon. Then if you move your mouse on top, your picture and you click, it's gonna attempt toe, isolate the color you click on, so that's the only color you're changing. So I'm gonna click right here, and I don't if you noticed or not. But in my adjustment, this menu changed. Used to say Master It now, says Blues, so it attempted to isolate the blues. Then I can change the look of that area. By moving these sliders, he will change the basic color. So if I make this swing this wildly, you'll see the blue sky changed to a different color. We make a green or anything else now. Notice, though, that the image to my left is not changing. Let's figure out why it's not changing, and that's all because layers act as if you're standing at the top of the layers panel. Looking down in on Lee, the things that you see through this adjustment layer are affected by it, and therefore that means Onley. The layers that are found below this would be affected by, and if you look at what's down there, all we have is the one layer I wanted to change. We have another adjustment layer and then the texture that's there. If there happen to be any blue in the texture, it would be shifting around. If this adjustment layer was higher in my layers panel, it would have affected more layers than any other layers that had blue in them would be shifting to. So I'm gonna adjust the hue and see if I can get it to look a little bit more likely image that's to its left. The image of the left might be the slightest less colorful, and if that's the case, I could adjust saturation to make this more or less colorful. And it might be the little bit brighter. And if so, I could bring up the slider code lightness to try to get this toe look a little bit more by fine tuning these sliders like the image that's next to it. But this adjustment layer is only gonna affect the layers that are found below it. Well, what if below it there was a bunch of those other layers. Let's zoom out on this image, all type command zero, and I could always move these two layers. I'll select them both and I'm just going to move into the top of the layers panel because at the moment it doesn't matter where they are because they don't overlap other things. But now that it's at the top of the layers panel, when I turn off this adjustment layer and turn it back on, you might notice that other layers air changing. Look at the blue skies in them and you'll see they're shifting around a bit, especially if I look the bottom near the right side of the picture. So what if I have an adjustment layer, which would usually affect all layers that are found below it? And I only wanted to effect one Well, we could end up doing the same thing we did to get a photograph to only show up inside some text because that caused the photo to Onley appear where there was something in the layer directly below. Well, if I do the same thing with an adjustment layer, it will make it so. The adjustment layer only shows up where in this case applies to the layer directly below. So the way I did that before I say went to the layer menu and I chose create clipping mask, and that's what caused the down pointing arrow to appear on the layer I was working on. So watching the layers panel look, the layer that's active when I choose create clipping mask. You see that down pointing arrow, which indicates this is Onley. Applying to that now, there's actually another way of doing that, and that is when you're working with an adjustment layer and you see the settings for your adjustment, you're gonna also find an icon at the bottom of the properties panel, this one right here, which has a down pointing arrow. And it does the exact same thing right now. If I turn it off by clicking on that icon, you'll see the down pointing arrow goes away. Click it again and it turns on, so adjustment layers on Lee effect the layers that are found underneath them, if you need them toe only effect one layer. You clip it to the layer that's underneath by either going to the layer menu and choosing create clipping mask or in the properties for that particular adjustment layer. There's an icon at the bottom with a down point, you know, does the same thing. All right, then, in our layers panel again, I can hide my layer styles by clicking on the little triangle. Find on the right edge of the layers. But if you just look at what we have, let's take a look. Top layer is an adjustment layer any time you see it layer where, instead of seeing a little thumbnail of a picture on the left side, you see an icon that might resemble this. Um, that means it's an adjustment. And if you click on that, if you actually double click on this little icon, if it wasn't already visible, the properties were settings for that adjustment will appear. Then we have here a layer that contains a picture. You see the letters FX on the right. If I click on that triangle, it'll tell me which effects are applied in this case, a drop shadow keep going down. Here's another picture. You see the down pointing arrow. That means it's clipped, so it only appears where this does. That's a text layer. Here's another picture. It's got effect supplied another picture and so on. So we're starting to build up a document now. If I were to move these images around, there is a definite stacking order. The top most layer is the one highest in the stack, and it will obscure your view anywhere. It overlaps something that's below, but there are other things. Weaken Dio. Let's say I want to be able to see through the word Barcelona so you see some of the texture showing through. Well, if I click on the word Barcelona at the top of my layers panel, there's an opacity setting. If it's at 100% it means that that layer is completely opaque. Means you cannot see through it. The opposite of opaque is transparent. And so if I click on the word opacity and start dragging it down, then whatever layer I'm currently working on is going to start showing up less unless because opacity means how much, really, should it show up so we can adjust that? Maybe I just wanted to show up, show through a little bit. At this point, I might want to start naming some of my layers to name a layer. Just double click on a name so I might turn off the eyeball for a layer to see what's in it and then double click on the name and give it a name. Then go to the next layer, maybe turn off its eyeball just so you can see its contents. Double click on it and give it a name. If you double click on one layer and you're you're naming that layer, you can press the tab key. It will bring you right down to the next layer so you can tab between the layers. Once you're editing the name of one and then quickly rename all the others, all right, then let's start combining these layers to simplify what we have. If I were to select more than one layer in here, I could go to the layer menu and you're going to find a choice in there that is called Merge layers. When I choose merged layers, look in my layers panel and look at the two layers that are currently selected. When I choose merged layers, they go on to a single layer, and I could select additional layers if I wanted to and again merge them to simplify the document and get them on their own layers. Let's say put multiple images on a single layer. Well, the problem with that is now when I use the move tool, it's gonna move both. I can't easily move one of those two images separate from the other. That is, unless I make a selection first. Remember, selections. If you watched our lesson on selections, we'll make it so that's the only area within your document that you're working on. And in this case, if I select that area and then use the move tool, I could reposition that, even though it's on the same layer, is the image that is to the left. The other thing that I could do is if I make a crude selection around that, let's say I want to get it to be on its own layer. So it's independent of the others. Well, I could select it. And if I go to the layer menu, there's a choice called New via Cut. And that means remove whatever's currently selected from the layer it's on and put it on a brand new layer. So if you watch in my layers panel, look at the layer that's currently active and watch what happens if you look at the little thumbnail picture in there, you can see two images on the same layer. But when I choose Layer via cut, I just popped one of those layers onto its own layer. We could also do that to get just a portion of a layer. If I make a selection and instead of selecting the entirety of something, let's say I went in here and used a selection tool to select just part of this layer. And I'm not gonna make a precise selection here because I don't want to spend the time to get like his finger and everything. But now I could go up to the layer menu, and there's a choice called Layer New via copy. And that means leave that on its original layer and then make a copy of it that goes on to a new layer. So when I choose that, watch what happens in my layers panel directly above the layer that is currently active. Now it's hard to see it cause it's just a tiny piece. But right up there is that tiny little thing, and if I use my move tool, I could now move it over here, and it's a copy of him or anywhere else. So there was new layer via cut in new layer via copy. You need to make a selection first, so it knows how much of that layer it should do that with. If you don't make a selection, it would copy the entire layer instead. Now you do have to be careful when you do that. Let's say that I made a selection of this tower that's here knowing that I want to put it on its own layer. And let's just say that selection with Stacker it it's not, but imagine it. Waas. And then right now I go to the layer menu and I say new via copy. Well, that's not gonna work. Why? Because it on Lee looks at the layer that's currently active, and if you look in my layer, it's panel and see what's active. It's not the layer that contains the picture that I was drawing on, and so when I choose new later via copy, it's going to say it can't do it. There's nothing there. It's empty. I need to make sure the layer that contains this picture is actually active, so I could use auto select layers. Remember command, clicking on things with the move tool to make sure that that layers active now it ISS. Then I can choose Layer new V a copy, and now I should have that. I just saw a new layer of here where I could move it to another area I wanted in here with this. It's obviously underneath that so in my layers panel and have to click on the name and drag it upward in my layers panel, maybe all the way to the top, just to make sure that stacking order is appropriate. Or I can get rid of that layer by throwing in the trash.

Class Description

All individual classes that make up this bootcamp are also available here for individual purchase.


  • Develop an understanding of how Photoshop works
  • Create your ideal workspace
  • Configure the essential preference settings
  • Set up Adobe Bridge and Lightroom for optimal integration with Photoshop
  • Navigate multiple images seamlessly


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  • Beginner, intermediate, and advanced users of Adobe Photoshop.
  • Those who want to gain confidence in Adobe Photoshop and learn new features to help edit photos.
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Adobe Photoshop 2020 (V21)


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