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Learning Adobe Photoshop CS4

By Greg Bowden

Chapter 15

Adjustment Layers

Guided Computer Tutorials www.gct.com.au

PUBLISHED BY GUIDED COMPUTER TUTORIALS PO Box 311 Belmont, Victoria, 3216, Australia www.gct.com.au © Greg Bowden This product is available in Single or Multi User versions. Single-user versions are for single student or teacher use at any particular time, just as a single text book would be used. If you intend to use the notes with multiple students the single user version should be upgraded to the multi-user version. Multi-user versions allow the school or institution to print as many copies as required, or to place the PDF files on the school network, intranet and staff laptops. A certificate of authentication is provided with multi-user versions. Bookmarks provide links to all headings and sub-headings, and individual chapters are provided.

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Chapter

Adjustment Layers

15

Adjustment Layers are one of Photoshop’s most valuable features. They allow you to adjust images without altering the original. Photoshop provides a large selection of Adjustment Layers. In this chapter you will look at the EXPOSURE layer, the LEVELS layer, the BRIGHTNESS/CONTRAST layer and the BLACK & WHITE layer.

Exposure layers
One of the most common problems when taking a photo is incorrect exposure. Photos that are over-exposed have too much light in them. Photos that are under-exposed are too dark. An EXPOSURE layer allows you minimize these effects.

A

Loading the Sample Photo

A photo that is under-exposed has been prepared for you and it will need to be adjusted so that the buildings in it can be seen more clearly. 1 2 3 4 Load Photoshop or close the current file. Display the FILE menu and select OPEN. Access the PScs4 SUPPORT FILES, open the CHAPTER 15 folder and load the NELSON’S COLUMN file. The photo is too dark to see the buildings clearly.

B

Inserting the Exposure Layer

The EXPOSURE LAYER is added on top of the background layer and it will not alter that layer in any way.

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Learning Adobe Photoshop CS4 1 Expand the ADJUSTMENTS panel and click on the CREATE A NEW EXPOSURE ADJUSTMENT LAYER button.

NOTE:

You can also insert an EXPOSURE LAYER by clicking on the CREATE A NEW FILL OR ADJUSTMENT LAYER icon at the base of the LAYERS panel and selecting EXPOSURE or by displaying the LAYER menu, highlighting NEW ADJUSTMENT LAYER an selecting EXPOSURE.

2 The EXPOSURE ADJUSTMENTS panel is opened.

3 Increase the EXPOSURE to about +3.5 to display the buildings more clearly.

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Adjustment Layers

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C

Displaying Part of the Background Layer

Unfortunately the sky and the fountain are now over exposed and do not look natural. When you create an EXPOSURE layer a MASK is included in the layer. This allows you to paint over parts of the background photo that have better exposure.

1 Click on the FOREGROUND COLOUR box in the TOOLS panel and set the colour to BLACK.

2

Select OK to set the colour.

3 Select the BRUSH TOOL from the TOOLS panel.

4 In the OPTIONS BAR select the SOFT ROUND 100 PIXEL brush size then click on the BRUSH arrow again to close the BRUSH panel.

NOTE:

A soft brush usually gives good results when painting over a layer mask.

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Learning Adobe Photoshop CS4

5 Paint over the sky to the left of Nelson’s Column and the original sky should be revealed.

NOTE:

i ii

You can use the [ key to reduce the brush size for painting close to the buildings. You can use the UNDO command or STEP BACKWARDS command if you make a mistake with the painting.

6 Paint over the right side of the column, but leave the areas close to the buildings and fountain.

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Adjustment Layers

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7 Reduce the brush size to about 30 px and paint over the fountain and the sky close to the buildings.

NOTE:

You can zoom in on areas to create the most accurate results.

8 Expand the LAYERS panel and the EXPOSURE layer is inserted with the painted sky stored in the MASK thumbnail.

D Adjusting the Exposure
The beauty of the EXPOSURE layer is that you can edit the exposure at any time. 1 Expand the ADJUSTMENTS panel and the EXPOSURE settings should be displayed.

NOTE:

You can also double click on the EXPOSURE LAYER THUMBNAIL in the LAYERS panel to open the EXPOSURE settings.
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Learning Adobe Photoshop CS4

2 Try increasing the EXPOSURE a little until the best effect is achieved. Also try adjusting the GAMMA CORRECTION a little.

3

Once you are happy with the settings, save the file in your STORAGE folder as a PHOTOSHOP file under the file name: Exposure Layer

Levels Layers
Levels allow you to correct the tonal range and colour balance of an image by adjusting colour intensity and saturation. The Levels histogram gives a visual guide of the colour range.

A

Loading the Sample Photo

A photo that has poor colour intensity has been prepared for you. In this case it can be repaired by adjusting the levels. 1 2 3 4 Close the current file. Display the FILE menu and select OPEN. Access the PScs4 SUPPORT FILES, open the CHAPTER 15 folder and load the TOWER BRIDGE file. It is difficult to see the contents of this photo because it is so dark.

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