How to Edit and Isolate Adjustment Layers in Photoshop CS6 - dummies

How to Edit and Isolate Adjustment Layers in Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

Adjustment layers can come in handy when using Photoshop CS6. Once you have created the adjustment layer, you have the option of editing and isolating the adjustment layer.

How to edit adjustment layers

After you create an adjustment layer, you can easily edit it. Simply click the adjustment layer icon in the Layers panel. In the Properties panel, make your desired edits. The only adjustment layer that you can’t edit is the Invert adjustment. It’s either on or off.

How to isolate your adjustments

If you don’t use an adjustment layer when you make color corrections, the correction you apply affects only the active layer (the layer highlighted in the Layers panel). However, you can also isolate your adjustment layer to a single layer or a portion of a single layer.

Here are some tips for using and isolating adjustment layers:

  • Correct part (but not all) of a layer. To enable the adjustment layer to correct only a portion of a layer, make a selection before you create the adjustment layer. The adjustment affects only the pixels within the selection outline.

    The adjustment affects the pixels within the selection outline on each layer that resides below the adjustment layer. In addition to selecting a part of a layer, you can also create and select a closed path.

    Another way to correct part of a layer is to paint on the adjustment layer mask. Painting with black hides the adjustment, painting with various levels of gray partially hides the adjustment.

  • Clip to the layer. By default, when you apply a new adjustment layer, that adjustment affects all underlying layers. If you click the clip icon (square with down-pointing arrow), the adjustment layer will affect only that underlying layer. You can change the default setting to clip to the layer from the Adjustment panel menu.

  • Create a layer group. You can create a layer group and place the layers you want adjusted in that group. Then, make sure that the blending mode is set to any mode except Pass Through.