PDA

View Full Version : Adjustment Layers Tutorial.


Please support NSOP by using our affilaites:
      Receive a FREE GIFT from Think Tank Photo

   Camera Gear Rentals   

jacobsen1
01-23-2008, 01:53 PM
Yesterday we covered basic layer usage. (http://www.newschoolofphotography.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2309) Hopefully that got anyone not familiar with layers at least familiar with the concept. Now let's go a bit deeper and check out Adjustment Layers...

In this tutorial, I'm basically making a selective color version of one of my shots using adjustments layers. Adjustment layers can be used for a lot more than this, it's just what I chose to demonstrate because it's VERY EASY to see what's adjusted and what isn't with a selective color image. I use adjustment layers all the time to adjust:
contrast
saturation
levels
brightness/contrastThe important thing to realize here, is you're making adjustment on specific parts of the image. When you make the adjustment, you'll see it for the entire image, but then you can turn that adjustment "on" and "off" for very specific portions.

You can also use a very similar technique for any adjustment or filter out there. If what you want to do isn't in the adjustment layer options, duplicate the layer, make the adjustment to the whole thing, then use a layer mask to paint on where you want the adjustment to be make...

For this tutorial, I will be using this image:
http://www.newschoolofphotography.com/blog/wp-content/gallery/adjustment-layer-tutorial/100_2007.jpg

and making it look like this:
http://www.newschoolofphotography.com/blog/wp-content/gallery/adjustment-layer-tutorial/finished.jpg

OK, first things first. Open photoshop, and open the file (right click, save the one above if you want to use the same image I am).
then open the layers palette (window -> layers or F7)
your screen should look like this: http://www.newschoolofphotography.com/blog/wp-content/gallery/adjustment-layer-tutorial/adjustment%20layer%2001.jpg


to exaggerate the selective color aspect in this shot, I bumped up the saturation considerably, to do this, open the saturation adjustment (image -> adjust -> hue/saturation or ctrl & 'U') and use +50 on the master channel as shown below:
http://www.newschoolofphotography.com/blog/wp-content/gallery/adjustment-layer-tutorial/adjustment%20layer%2002.jpg


click "OK"
now we want to make the new adjustment layer
click the button as shown below: http://www.newschoolofphotography.com/blog/wp-content/gallery/adjustment-layer-tutorial/adjustment%20layer%2003.jpg


that will bring up a menu with a choice of the adjustment you can make using adjustment layers
I used the channel mixer
this will bring up the channel mixer dialog, I used the default monochrome options (notice the checkbox in the bottom left)
your screen should look like this: http://www.newschoolofphotography.com/blog/wp-content/gallery/adjustment-layer-tutorial/adjustment%20layer%2004.jpg


press OK and you will then have an adjustment layer that's making a color image monochrome like this: http://www.newschoolofphotography.com/blog/wp-content/gallery/adjustment-layer-tutorial/adjustment%20layer%2005.jpg


just to show you how this is working, click the "eye" to the left of the adjustment layer... That will turn this adjustment "on" and "off". I find this very helpful when making subtle adjustments...
make sure the adjustment layer is turned back on
we're now going to paint it off completely
you could do this in reverse, leaving the whole mask white and painting the car portion black, I prefer to do it the other way
press 'D' on your keyboard so get the default color swatches (black and white)
click the paint bucket tool
click the adjustment layer (the white box)
click anywhere in the image, you will now have a black mask which turns the adjustment "off"
your workspace should now look like this: http://www.newschoolofphotography.com/blog/wp-content/gallery/adjustment-layer-tutorial/adjustment%20layer%2006.jpg


Now we're going to "paint" where we want the image to have this adjustment (the B+W adjustment)
click on the paint brush tool
swap your color swatches so white is active (either click the arrow between the 2, or click on the white swatch)
you can see my cursor on the car's fender: http://www.newschoolofphotography.com/blog/wp-content/gallery/adjustment-layer-tutorial/adjustment%20layer%2007.jpg


as you "paint" you can see the portions painted white turning to B+W. Also notice the layer mask in the layers palette is showing where you have painted white (although this is very small): http://www.newschoolofphotography.com/blog/wp-content/gallery/adjustment-layer-tutorial/adjustment%20layer%2008.jpg

to be continued....

jacobsen1
01-23-2008, 01:54 PM
...continued

here you can see the mask continuing to take shape http://www.newschoolofphotography.com/blog/wp-content/gallery/adjustment-layer-tutorial/adjustment%20layer%2008.jpg

the tricky part is getting into all the nooks and crannies of a shot. You can do this several ways. Selection tools work here the same way they did in yesterday's layer tutorial, so feel free to use them. To use the brushed more effectively, get used to the brush selection screen: http://www.newschoolofphotography.com/blog/wp-content/gallery/adjustment-layer-tutorial/adjustment%20layer%2009.jpg


there are a few options here that really help. The first is the fact you can select your brush size in this menu. At first this is a big help until you learn the shortcuts for this ('[' makes it smaller, ']' makes it bigger ;)). The other key here is not notice that some have a hard edge. That's useful when you want a distinct edge to what you're doing. There are also brushes with that soft edge (45 and 65 in the bottom right above) that can help you blend things as needed
here is how a quick mask should look when done
I realize it's not perfect, this tutorial is to show you the method, not a perfect example of how to use ithttp://www.newschoolofphotography.com/blog/wp-content/gallery/adjustment-layer-tutorial/adjustment%20layer%2010.jpg


open the actions palette http://www.newschoolofphotography.com/blog/wp-content/gallery/adjustment-layer-tutorial/adjustment%20layer%2011.jpg


and use the NSOP horizontal action to dress it up: http://www.newschoolofphotography.com/blog/wp-content/gallery/adjustment-layer-tutorial/adjustment%20layer%2012.jpg

your final product should look something like this:
http://www.newschoolofphotography.com/blog/wp-content/gallery/adjustment-layer-tutorial/finished.jpg

subimatt
01-23-2008, 01:56 PM
*cough* selective color....


:wave:

jacobsen1
01-23-2008, 02:02 PM
*cough* selective color....


:wave:



In this tutorial, I'm basically making a selective color version of one of my shots using adjustments layers. Adjustment layers can be used for a lot more than this, it's just what I chose to demonstrate because it's VERY EASY to see what's adjusted and what isn't with a selective color image.

you were saying?
::)

subimatt
01-23-2008, 02:12 PM
Hi Ben! :wave:

ForceFed4
01-25-2008, 02:04 PM
Nice!

I've always known I should be using adjustment layers on images to protect the original data, and these two tutorials really illustrate how straightforward it can be.

Am I correct that if you wanted to be particular, you could do the exaggerated saturation as it's own layer too, leaving the original pixels completely unchanged?

jacobsen1
01-25-2008, 02:20 PM
Am I correct that if you wanted to be particular, you could do the exaggerated saturation as it's own layer too, leaving the original pixels completely unchanged?

Yes.

And the "original pixels unchanged" bit is a great point. When you use a bunch of adjustment layers you can later turn off one without turning off the other. So here you could to the B+W as I did, and had I done the saturation boost with an adjustment layer, I could then go back and paint out the green leaves that are very green and put them back to normal later. The way I did it I'm stuck with them unless I want to use history to go back.....

Geekybiker
01-25-2008, 04:09 PM
The really nice thing is that alot of adjustments will push certain pixels out of gaumet and working layers allow you to retain detail that you would otherwise destroy.