Adjustment Layers: a stupidly simple way to rescue dull portraits

Adjustment Layers: a stupidly simple way to rescue dull portraits

The 16 adjustment layers in Photoshop CS6

■ Brightness/Contrast
Use for simple tonal control.

■ Levels
Drag the sliders to control the brightness of shadows, midtones and highlights.

■ Curves
Drag the curve line up to lighten, down to darken.

■ Exposure
Use sliders to adjust Gamma, Exposure and Offset.

■ Vibrance
Lets you alter the saturation of the less intense colours.

■ Hue/Saturation
Adjust the hue and colour intensity of the image.

■ Color Balance
Shift colours with three sliders.

■ Black and White
Convert to mono and control the brightness.

■ Photo Filter
Replicate the look of lens-mounted filters.

■ Channel Mixer
Check the monochrome box to convert to black and white then brighten or darken each colour channel.

■ Color Lookup
Add different effects based on treatments used for video.

■ Invert
Make a negative image.

■ Posterize
Break an image down into a set number of tonal levels.

■ Threshold
Set a point on the tonal range, either side of which pixels are black or white.

■ Gradient Map
Maps different shades into the tonal range of your shot.


THE 16 adjustment layers in CS6: hand icon

Hand icon
Several Adjustment Layers have a useful little hand icon (usually at the top-left of the settings). Toggling this icon enables you to drag over your image to target and adjust different tones and colours interactively. The likes of Curves, Black and White, Hue/Saturation give you this option.

PAGE 1: How to use adjustment layers to lift portraits
PAGE 2: The 16 adjustment layers in Photoshop CS6


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