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Making Adjustments in Photoshop CS4

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Ben Wilmore covers Adjustment Layers, including the Adjustments Panel, Vibrance Adjustment, and the Targeted Adjustment icon.
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

THE OVERALL ADJUSTMENT INTERFACE IN Photoshop CS4 is a radical departure from earlier versions. If you’re willing to work with Adjustment Layers (and if you’re not, shame on you), your world will be forever changed as you find yourself liberated from the modal hell that has imprisoned Photoshop users for over a decade.

Below is an overview of what we’ll be covering in this chapter:

  • Adjustments Panel: For those of you using Adjustment Layers, this new panel is command central for your adjustment activity. Unlike the traditional Adjustment Layer interface, this panel is not modal (a dialog box that pops up and while open prevents you from accessing any other operation inside the application). This means that all of Photoshop’s features are now at your disposal even while you’re in the middle of adjusting your images. All I can say is....free at last!.

  • Vibrance Adjustment: Snagged from Camera Raw, this adjustment makes its debut in Photoshop CS4. It’s especially useful for boosting skin tone without over-saturating.

  • Targeted Adjustment Icon: A new icon has been added to some adjustments that allows you to click and drag on your image to quickly isolate and adjust an area.

  • Misc. Changes: We’ll look at the less obvious changes hidden within the CS4 upgrade such as the new pop-up menu shortcuts and additional adjustment presets.

Where’s My Stuff?

The world of adjustments has largely been turned on its head. Here’s what’s happened to many of the features you’ve depended on for years:

  • Auto Levels: The Auto Levels adjustment has been renamed Auto Tone and has been moved to the Image menu.

  • Automated Adjustments: If you’re searching for any of the automated adjustments such as Auto Tone, Auto Contrast and Auto Color, you’ll have to look in the main Image menu without going to the Adjustments submenu.

  • Adjustment Layers: You’re going to be in a foreign land when you go to use Adjustment Layers in CS4. The adjustment dialog boxes have been replaced with the new Adjustments panel. Make sure to read this chapter to get acclimated to the new environment.

  • Levels Options: If you’re looking for the Options button in a Levels Adjustment Layer, you’ll now find it—renamed Auto Options—in the side menu of the Adjustments panel.

  • Curves Options: For Adjustment Layers, the choices that were accessed from Curve Display Options near the bottom of the Curves dialog box are now found in the side menu of the Curves adjustment panel, as are the Auto Color Correction Options that were accessed by clicking the Options button located on the right side of the Curves dialog box. The standard Curves dialog box (non-adjustment layer) remains unchanged.

  • Channel Shortcuts: Holding Command (Mac), or Ctrl (Win) and typing number keys will no longer switch the channel you’re editing in Levels, Curves or other adjustments. You will have to instead hold the Option key (Mac), or Alt key (Win) and type a number, but the number will be two higher than you’re used to. So, if you used to type Command-1 to get to the Red channel, you’ll now have to type Option-3 to do the same thing.

  • Tabbing Through Curves Points: In Photoshop CS3, you could type Control-Tab (Mac or Win) to cycle through points on a curve. You now have to press the Plus or Minus keys (without Shift being held down) to do the same in CS4.

  • Tint in Black & White: The Hue and Saturation sliders that were found in the Black & White adjustment dialog box have been replaced by a color swatch which produces the Color Picker. You can still enter Hue and Saturation values, or you can choose a hue from the vertical bar and then drag horizontally within the large color field to change the Saturation setting.

  • Presets Pop-Up Menu: The icon found next to the presets pop-up menu that used to be found at the top of many adjustment dialog boxes has been replaced by choices that are now found on the side menu of the new Adjustments panel.

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