Adjustment Layers are one of the most essential tools in Adobe Photoshop CC. Understanding what Adjustment Layers can do for you in Adobe Photoshop is a vital photo editing skill that you will need to master before can you move on to any of our more advanced tutorials.
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Now there are lots of different types of Layers inside of Adobe Photoshop. Adjustment Layers are not like pixel bearing layers or your Background Layer. Adjustment Layers do not contain pixels, meaning dots of color, at all. Instead, Adjustment Layers allow us to improve the appearance of the pixel bearing layers that are further down in your Layer stack.
We can use Adjustment Layers to change the Tone (Brightness), the Color (White Balance), or the Intensity (Saturation) of our image. Adobe Photoshop offers a wide variety of Adjustment Layers so that you can pick the best option for the type of change that you are trying to create. To change the brightness in your image, for example, you could use either a Brightness / Contrast Layer, a Levels Layer, a Curves Layer, or an Exposure Adjustment Layer.
The best part of Adjustment Layers is that they remain flexible and they are completely non-destructive. Working with Adjustment Layers is a great way to protect your Background Layer. In addition, Adjustment Layers remain editable from one Adobe Photoshop editing session to the next as long as you save your work using either the .tif or .psd file formats.