Photoshop CS2: Levels and Curves

Photoshop CS2: Adjustment Layers, Levels, and Curves

In this tutorial, Linda explains why Photoshop CS2’s adjustment layers are important to use when altering images, and she begins to illustrate how these layers work with the use of the levels and curves. These two tools can help you to adjust tonal ranges and colour balances within your images manually so that you maintain more control over the outcome rather than using the “automatic” levels and curves adjustments.

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Adjustment Layers: A Foolproof Way to Edit Images

You may already be familiar with Photoshop’s adjustment layers, as the CS2 version carries many of the same features as its ancestors, CS1 and Photoshop 7. If so, then you know that the use of adjustment layers is a foolproof means to edit images. If you’re unfamiliar with adjustment layers, you’ll learn quickly why they’re important: They help you to save the pixels within the original image while you muck around with alterations.

The most important reason to use adjustment layers rather than mess with the original image is to avoid loss of image data during alterations. The next most important reason to use adjustment layers is that you can hide, delete, and modify those layers as you move along to your final results. Adjustment layers also allow you to alter portions of your images through masks and, finally, you can copy and paste those layers onto other images to save time with multiple edits.

The adjustment layers icon is located in your layers panel (or choose Layer > New Adjustment Layer >). When you click on that icon, a drop-down menu will appear that offers alteration choices. Your choices include solid colour, gradient, and pattern fill layers along with the adjustment layers. The latter choices which are located beneath the three fill layer options.

While adjustment layers will increase your file size, the objective is to find the choices you need and then merge the adjustment layers together or with the original image.


Linda Goin

Linda GoinLinda Goin carries an A.A. in graphic design, a B.F.A. in visual communications with a minor in business and marketing and an M.A. in American History with a minor in the Reformation. While the latter degree doesn't seem to fit with the first two educational experiences, Linda used her 25-year design expertise on archaeological digs and in the study of material culture. Now she uses her education and experiences in social media experiments.

Accolades for her work include fifteen first-place Colorado Press Association awards, numerous fine art and graphic design awards, and interviews about content development with The Wall St. Journal, Chicago Tribune, Psychology Today, and L.A. Times.

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