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16 October 2014


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does this photoshop stuff never end? - lesson three

this lesson may not appear all that dissimilar to lesson two - and in fact it's really not. but it is a much more powerful and flexible way of enhancing an image, particularly if you might want to come back and adjust it later.

our opening image is that of the old pagodas at the former port ellen distillery, taken from inside the top floor of port ellen maltings. because it was taken from indoors through not particularly clear glass, it has resulted in a tonally flat image.


first move is to open the layers palette from the palette well, top left of your screen. if the screen resolution makes this difficult, go to the 'window' menu and select 'layers', which will result in a small palette similar to that shown below.


it is common practice to duplicate this background layer so that you are never actually working on the original image (ie, if you foul up you can always delete the duplicate layer, leaving you with the original image to start again). however, in order to maintain a degree of visual simplicity, i have foregone this step.

what we are going to do is add an 'adjustment layer' from the adjustment layer selection button (circled in red). and adjustment layer can be thought of as an additional layer above the image that displays any alterations made, but without ever touching the original layer below. what is referred to as non-destructive editing.

clicking this button results in a flyout menu as shown below.


in order to carry out the same enhancement as in lesson two, we will select the levels adjustment layer as highlighted in red (above). doing so presents us with the now familiar levels dialogue box with the shadows and highlight points circled in red (below).


notice that, again, the image is displaying clipping in the shadows and highlights. by moving the sliders in to that shown immediately below, we can accomplish this very simple enhancement, shown in the final image below that.



when the levels dialogue box is dismissed by clicking 'ok', it's time to look at our layers palette. notice now, that there is a layer sitting above our image with a small icon (circled in green) and a white rectangle to the right. just make a mental note of the rectangular square because in the next lesson this will assume a greater degree of importance.

layers_palette _final

meanwhile, if you wish to compare the original image with the enhancement we have just carried out, you can click the eye icon (circled in red) which switches the layer's visibility on and off. double clicking the small icon (green circle) will display the levels dialogue box again, and further enhancements can be made at any time. if you save the file as a tiff or photoshop file (.psd) then you can open up the same file years later and still have the ability to adjust the levels of the image.

it is possible to have more than one adjustment layer per image but that's perhaps something for another day.

Posted on brian at 19:11


You sure do know your stuff :)

Andy from Islay

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