Learn Photoshop's 19 Adjustment Layers in 30 Minutes

Photoshop’s adjustment layers are some of the most powerful tools available for post-processing photographs. With the ever-increasing number of sliders available in Lightroom and Camera Raw, the adjustment layers in Photoshop seem to get less visibility, which is a mistake.

If you’re new to Photoshop, adjustment layers can be overwhelming at first, especially a few of the adjustment layers that are not as intuitive as the black and white adjustment layer. For example, what in the world does the channel mixer adjustment layer do? Is it something the local club DJ uses? Of course not, but it isn’t easy to understand from the name of the adjustment layer. So if you are new to Photoshop or even if you aren’t, this video by Dansky is terrific. It provides a quick discussion and provides examples of each of the 19 adjustment layers that exist in Photoshop.

My post-processing of my editorial work occurs in Camera Raw, where the sliders provide plenty of control and provide for quick post-processing. However, when I need more control or perhaps more creativity, I’ll jump back to Photoshop and use the various adjustment layers that are available. After watching the video, I started thinking of how I could use a couple of the adjustment layers that I haven’t used lately. 

Beside levels and curves, are there any particular adjustment layers that you use routinely? If so, how do you incorporate them into your images? Share some of your work and tell us how you used an adjustment layer to add to the image.

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wesjones's picture

Great video. Most of those I have never used before.

Richard Downs's picture

99% of Photoshop users would say the same thing!

Taras Onyshchuk's picture

Alright, but he doesn't explain why and when to use them...

Douglas Turney's picture

But that is up to you. Try them, play with them, and see what happens. Create!! Monet didn't have someone tell him how to use the paints.