How To Use Adjustment Layers - The Basics

by Steve Tolley

This tutorial explains what an “Adjustment Layer” is and also the benefits of using one instead of just adjusting it normally, and how to best use it so that you get the desired effect that you want.

First of all what is an adjustment layer?

Well an adjustment layer is a layer that you create in Photoshop where you can apply any adjustments (e.g. Hue/Saturation, Levels etc…) to the image that you want to manipulate.

What are the benefits of an adjustment layer?

An adjustment layer gives one main benefit when creating your image; say for instance that you wanted to change the colour of this IPod and you were going to use the Hue/Saturation adjustment then you would go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation and set it to colorize and then play around till you have the colour that you want like below:


Adjustment Menu:


But the problem is that when you get later into your project and you then may decide you don’t like the colour that you set, there is no way in changing it again if you have run out of undo’s, whereas with an Adjustment layer you can do the same Hue/Saturation on a separate layer so it can be deleted later like below, to make an adjustment layer click the black and white circle under the layers window and choose from the options also shown below:

Adjustment Layer Menu:

Adjustment Layer:

As can be seen the adjustment is on a separate layer so therefore can be deleted or hidden if you decide you want to change the colour again later on in the project or if you want to go back to the original.

If you have had any problems with this tutorial and would like some help then don’t hesitate to contact me either by leaving a comment below or e-mailing me at:

How To Round The Corners of A Shape Using Levels

by Steve Tolley

This tutorial shows you how to simply and easily round of the corners of any shape, using layer masks and levels…

Step 1: Create a new document (the size doesn’t matter, but for this I used 500 x 500), when the document is ready make sure that you have the default colours set (although this is not essential it helps with this tutorial) and create the shape that you want to smooth the edges of (make sure that you right click and choose rasterize layer)

Step 2: Now hold CTRL and click on the layer in the layers tab where a preview of the layer is shown (the little box where the shape can be seen, next to the layer name) and this should select the whole of the shape, this can be seen by what look like little ants crawling around the edge:

Crawling Ants:

Step 3: Now go to the layers window and click the “Add Vector Mask” button as shown below:

Step 4: With this layer mask selected go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set it to a desired pixel amount (the higher the blur the bigger the curves radius, here I have used 20px)

Step 5: Finally go to Image > Adjustments > Levels and play around the triangles so that you get a nice curve on the shape, try to get them all in the middle as this gives the best results, and when you are happy with the curve then press “Ok” (alternatively use the Level settings as shown below), to finish right click on the layer mask and choose “Apply Layer Mask”

Final Image:

If you have had any problems with this tutorial and would like some help then don’t hesitate to contact me either by leaving a comment below or e-mailing me at: