I think I am missing something here so thought I would bring it here for discussion.
I am learning to do Adjustment Layers and when I do an adjustment layer of levels and then another of hue/saturation it has no way of confirming my choices. If then want to do Shadows/Highlights it will not work change anything and I think it is because I have not confirmed the adjustment layer. What do I need to do after doing the adjustment layer to go ahead and do something else no as an adjustment layer on the photo OR is that impossible. How to make this work????
Assuming that you have an open photofile, you can open, for example,
1. A levels adjustment layer above the background, and drag the sliders below the histogram. You should see changes on screen
2. Open a brightness/ contrast adjustment layer above the levels layer, work the sliders, and again you should see changes
3. To see changes with the Shadows/highlights function, be sure that the background layer is active in this example. It won't work in an adjustment layer.
4. #1 &2 don't have an ok button.
When you create an Adjustment Layer, the settings are dynamic, you never have to confirm them. The changes are live and you can move to another task without having to Click OK or anything of that sort. But when you apply an Adjustment Layer, no settings are applied, you have to choose what you are going to do with that Levels layer: darken? lighten? increase contrast? adjust gamma? There is no set task, so when you first apply the Adjustment Layer not changes are made, you have to change the settings to get an effect.
SO, when you do adjustment layer for layers and another for hue/saturation, then highlight the base photo (not the adjustment layers, and do the other things you want to do like Shadows or clone tool etc. Then do you combine it all or just save with all the layers and such and print if that is what you want to do etc.? OK will try that. It has been making me crazy.
The advantage of using Adjustment layers is that you can always go back at a later date and tweak their adjustments. So, saving your image as a PSD file (PSE's native file format) will preserve all your layers. When you want to print, there's no need to "combine it all", since priinting will automatically combine everything for the print job without affecting your original image layers, etc.
An Adjustment layer effects all visible pixles in the layers below itself. So if you have a Levels Adjustment Layer and the Background layer below, the entire Background layer is affected. If you have another layer above the Background that is not an Adjustment Layer but only covers have the entire image space, the Levels Adjustment will effect the additional layer and the visible parts of the Background layer. If you add a second Adjustment layer, the effects stack. The lower of the Adjustments is applied first, the second is applied afterward, moving upward.
The Adjustment Layers themselves are transparent, they are a bit like a lens filter on your camera. Just like looking through a pair of sunglasses causes the world to appear darker, an a Levels Adjustment Layer can make the layers beneath it appear darker (or lighter, as dictated by the settings). But as Ken mentions, the strenght of using an Adjustment Layer, as opposed to using an Adjustment, is that you can always come back and change the settings later.
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