photoshop creative

Make safe edits with adjustment layers

Posted in:
General, by The Photoshop Creative Team
October 21, 2011

Don’t risk ruining your images through careless edits. Use the adjustment layers to retain total control

Our main feature in issue 80 concentrates on adjustment layers, explaining how they work, why you should use them and how they can improve your images. To get you in the mood, here’s a walkthrough from the feature.

Improve contrast and colour with adjustment layers

In all our exploration of the more creative side of Adjustment Layers, let us not forget the bread and butter. Colour correction and pure photo enhancement. The ability to take a drab snapshot and transform it into something eye catching is what any adjustments in Photoshop were originally intended for. Let’s take a look at a common process for this as we work on this shot of Lady Liberty.

Custom curves

Begin with a basic Curves adjustment layer and create a soft ‘s’ shape curve as seen here to boost the image’s contrast.

Very Vibrant

Enhance the colours with a Vibrance adjustment layer with the Vibrance set to 41 and the Saturation set to 12.

Angry Clouds

Use the Quick Selection tool and Refine Edge command to carefully craft a selection of the sky area. Then add another Curves adjustment layer with a deep slope to create more contrast in the clouds.

Skies of blue

Ctrl/Cmd click the mask to reselect the sky and add a Gradient Map adjustment layer. Edit the gradient to be similar to what is shown here. Then reduce the opacity to 75%.

Fade Away

Target the Curves 2 layer mask and use a black to transparent linear gradient to fade the sky colour effect down towards the horizon.