Photoshop has many types of layers and adjustment layers available, but there are six that you’ll find you need to use again and again.
Learning how Photoshop layers should be used may seem a little daunting for beginners, but once you’ve got to grips with them, you’ll find they play a part in the creative process of almost every image you make.
Best Photoshop layers: 01 Levels
This should be the first layer you add to an image, because it fundamentally alters the tonal range of the entire image.
Create a Levels adjustment layer, drag the Black Point slider inwards until it touches the left-hand edge of the histogram, and drag the White Point slider inwards to the right-hand edge.
This remaps the tones of the image to make more of the available tonal range.
Best Photoshop layers: 02 Curves
Curves is one of the most powerful adjustment layers. An S-shaped curve brightens the highlights and darkens the shadows, resulting in extra contrast.
Create a Curves adjustment layer and click the middle of the diagonal line to add a central control point.
Drag down on the lower part of the line and drag up on the upper part of the line to improve image contrast.
Best Photoshop layers: 03 Hue/Saturation
This adjustment layer is best used for altering the intensity and brightness of individual colour channels in an image – greens and blues in landscapes, for instance.
Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, click the Master menu and choose the colour channel you’d like to adjust.
Small changes are usually the most effective.
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