Using the Old Style Photo Adjustments in Photoshop

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Did you know that you don't have to use adjustment layers in Adobe Photoshop to make non-destructive adjustments? Yes, it's true. We can now make adjustments the way we used to by using the Image > Adjustments menu item. And the best part is, Adobe recently gave us a way out and is now allowing us to make these type of edits in a non-destructive fashion. I actually just wrote an entire post that goes over the process in detail, but thought I'd give a recap here. It's a remarkably simple process.

Basically, in the old days, before adjustment layers were introduced, we were forced to make adjustments such as Vibrance, Hue/Saturation, Color Balance and the rest in a way that permanently etched the changes into the photo forever. This means that any change we made, we could never change again. Once it was done, it was done. Obviously, this wasn't a good situation, so Adobe came up with the brilliant idea of adjustment layers and since it did, things have been great. I'm not sure why they decided to give us even more options, but they did. Perhaps it's because editors still prefer the old style palettes and dialog boxes; I'm not sure. Whatever the reason, we can now make non-destructive edits via both the Adjustments panel and via the Image menu item.

There's a difference between the two approaches though. When you use the Adjustments panel to add an adjustment, you're essentially adding an overlay that sits on top of the image layer you're affecting. When you use the Image menu item, you're applying the effect to the Smart Object that's wrapped around the layer. In the most simple terms, now, the old style layer adjustments are treated as filters. They're added to a Smart Filter layer. Here are the instructions for how to take advantage of this feature.

- Open an image into Adobe Photoshop.

- Right-click on the image layer in the Layers panel.

- When the menu appears, select, Convert to Smart Object.

- Once the layer is a Smart Object, go up to the Image > Adjustments menu item and choose your adjustment.

- The related adjustment dialog box will open up. Make your edits there and click on the OK button.

- Once this is done, you'll notice a new Smart Filters layer appear in the Layers panel with your adjustment right below it.

- If you double-click on the specific adjustment below the Smart Filters mask layer, you'll see the adjustment dialog box open up again. You may re-edit your adjustment and then click the OK button again.

- Enjoy the beauty of non-destructive editing!

Do you have anything to add to this? Have you used this approach? If so, what are your thoughts?
Using the Old Style Photo Adjustments in Photoshop was posted on 10-21-2018 by JGaulard in the Post-Processing Technique forum.