Manipulating Color: An Overview of Photoshop’s Adjustment Layers

One of the negatives of owning software as abundant as Photoshop is that the majority of the tools that it offers go unused. Here is a rundown of the multiple options for adjusting color in Photoshop.

Every photographer I’ve talked to has a different method for adjusting colors and white balance in Photoshop. While most of these techniques perform a similar function, there are unique benefits to each one. So how do you know which one is best to use? The tutorial above covers each of the major ones and will help you understand why you should know them all.

In this video, Nathaniel Dodson of Tutvid covers how he uses the hue/saturation, curves, levels, and selective color adjustment layers. Not only is this a great illustration of what situations you would use each adjustment in, but it also provides a helpful explanation on understanding color. If you are a beginner, one tip I have is to learn how to use a curves layer first. This will help you to understand basic color theory and give you a foundation for recognizing what colors make up the highlights and shadows of an image.

If you want a more in-depth lesson on the tone curve, take a look at this recent video. If you want to learn more about all of the different tools that Photoshop offers to help you manipulate color, take a look at the video above.

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