Use this trick to help make your colour adjustments blend unlike ever before!

Apply Image

Apply image is a fantastic tool in Photoshop that allows you to paste images, and/or layers, onto another layer. This can be applied directly onto the layer itself, or in this case, onto out layer mask.

By applying this onto our layer masks it converts our photos into a black and white copy that can be understood as a layer mask. When is comes to layer masks, we know BLACK is 100% invisible while WHITE is 100% visible. See below for an example of what a layer mask looks like after using apply image:

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A view of my layer mask after Apply Image. Remember black is 100% invisible, white is 100% visible.

All the areas that are WHITE will be fully effected by our specific colour adjustment, while the BLACK areas will not be effected at all. All the varying shades of grey will be effected more or less depending on where they sit between black and white on the colour palette.

By having our adjustment layer effect our highlights and shadows in different ways, it helps to blend the colour adjustments in a much more realistic way.

To see examples of apply image at work and how you can use this trick for yourself, see the video below:

 

Here’s a quick re-cap on the steps to use APPLY IMAGE:

Select An Adjustment Layer:

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Apply image can be applied to any layer mask or adjustment layer. Since we are talking about colour today, I circled the two adjustments I outline in the video: Colour Balance and Selective Colour.

Apply Image:

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To use apply image, go to the top menu bar, select IMAGE > APPLY IMAGE.

Confirm Apply Image Settings:

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A window will appear showing these options. For colour adjustments, make sure your layer is set to MERGED and your blending mode is set to NORMAL.

Confirm Apply Image On Layer Mask:

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Once you have pressed ok, go to your layers panel and confirm the image has been applied to the layer mask. Above shows what my layer mask looks like after apply image.

Do Your Adjustments:

That’s it! Now you can go ahead and start making your colour adjustments!


Final Thoughts:

I find myself using this technique nearly every time I edit. I find it really helps to blend in the colours, specifically in the shadows and highlights. The only potential con to this technique is you have to really crank up the adjustments to make things appear noticeable. Just a little bit of extra slider-ing is all! If you even want to consider that a con…

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Happy Editing!

-Brendan