Changing the color balance

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Now you'll use an adjustment layer to adjust the color balance on the leaves image. ImageReady has many of the same color-correction features as Photoshop, but they cannot be applied to adjustment layers or channels because you cannot create or edit adjustment layers or channels in ImageReady.

Altering the color for a channel or a regular layer permanently changes the pixels on that layer. However, with an adjustment layer, your color and tonal changes reside only within the adjustment layer and do not alter any pixels in the layers beneath it. The effect is as if you were viewing the visible layers through the adjustment layer above them. By using adjustment layers, you can try out color and tonal adjustments without permanently changing pixels in the image. You can also use adjustment layers to affect multiple layers at once.

1 In the Layers palette, select the layer containing the leaves (in the upper right quadrant of the montage).

In our example this is Layer 2, but it may be on another layer in your file if you originally placed the images in a different sequence.

2 Choose Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Color Balance.

3 In the New Layer dialog box, select the Group With Previous Layer check box, and then click OK. This ensures that your adjustment layer will affect only the leaves image, not the other three sections of the montage.

The Color Balance dialog box opens, where you can change the mixture of colors in a color image and make general color corrections. When you adjust the color balance, you can keep the same tonal balance, as you'll do here. You can also focus changes on the shadows, midtones, or highlights.

4 Move the dialog box so that you can see the leaves in the image window and make sure that the Preview check box is selected.

5 In the Color Balance dialog box, experiment with different Color Levels for the image. (The example uses +10, -20, and -20.)

6 When you are happy with the result, click OK, and then save your work.

Adjustment layers act as layer masks, which can be edited repeatedly without permanently affecting the underlying image. You can double-click an adjustment layer to display the last settings used and adjust them as many times as you want. You can delete an adjustment layer by dragging it to the Trash button at the bottom of the Layers palette.

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