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The Nondestructive Workflow

At this point in the book, you’ve probably noticed that we are the kind of people who like to work nondestructively whenever possible, using tools like adjustment layers and masks to keep our options open as long as possible. With Smart Filters and the enhancements to Smart Objects, particularly when it comes to raw camera images, Photoshop makes it possible to keep a wide range of edits in a reversible state, so that you can back out of them at any time. We’ve alluded to bits and pieces of this workflow in various parts of the book, but we thought we should put it all together here for you. Here are all of the typical image-editing steps using the nondestructive editing features in Photoshop CS4 (see Figure 11-32).

11fig32.jpg

Figure 11-32 A Photoshop document built nondestructively

Using these techniques, you can always strip away every last edit and return to the original base image, or adjust the intensity of any edit whenever you like. It’s an astounding degree of flexibility, but again, pushing nondestructive editing this far can eat up your hard drive space and RAM in a hurry. To mitigate this, you can head for a middle ground by rasterizing some layers into pixels when you’re happy with them.

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