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Adobe Photoshop Tips: January 31: New Years Resolution: Resolve to Edit Nondestructively
When you are making adjustments to photos, digital papers and elements, it’s easy to develop the bad habit of editing the layer directly.
For example, if you are making a color adjustment it’s quick and easy to press Ctrl + U to open the Hue/Saturation dialog box. When you make your adjustments this way, you are editing the file directly. Let’s say you continue working on your page and after completing 35 more steps, you decide you want to revert back to the original color. This is where you run into problems. To get the original color, you’ll need to revert back in the file History, causing you to lose any work completed after the color adjustment or you will have to open the original file and drag it onto the layout again. If you’ve edited or cropped the file, you’ll have to redo all of those steps.
A better habit is to use Adjustment Layers to edit your files. This is called nondestructive editing because an adjustment layer can be altered or deleted if you later decide you want to change your edits. Begin by clicking on the layer you want to alter.
In Photoshop, locate the Create a New Fill or Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette.
In PSE, the Create a New Adjustment Layer can be found at the top of the Layers Palette.
From here, you can alter Color, Brightness, Contrast, Levels and more then click OK.
The software creates a new layer with two boxes above the layer you are editing. To finish, click on the adjustment layer in the Layers Palette.
In Photoshop, press Alt + Ctrl + G (Mac: Opt + Cmd + G) to create a clipping mask so that the adjustment layer will affect ONLY the layer you are altering.
In PSE, press Ctrl + G (Mac: Cmd + G) to group the adjustment layer so that it will affect only the layer you are editing.
You can make changes to the Adjustment Layer at any time by double-clicking the box on the left side of the Adjustment Layer in the Layers Palette. This activates the dialog box, allowing you to alter your adjustment as many times as you like. You can also delete or hide the adjustment layer to revert to the original layer.
As you begin a new year and make your Photoshop resolutions, consider getting in the habit of looking for nondestructive methods of editing your files. You’ll save yourself time and a headache or two.
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