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As an example, suppose I open this image (from a simple PNG or JPG file):

enter image description here

I convert its only layer to a smart object so I can non-destructively make adjustments, apply filters, etc.

I create a new layer and make some edits with the spot healing brush on that layer (so it's non-destructive as well).

enter image description here

Then I make some adjustment such as brightness.

enter image description here

The adjustment is applied to the base image (the smart object) but not to the edits that I made with the healing brush.

What am I doing wrong and how should I do it so that overall changes like brightness apply to edits made with the healing brush, while keeping everything editable and non-destructive?

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  • Add an adjustment layer above both the smart object layer and the edited layer.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Sep 12, 2023 at 17:02

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Most often to work non-destructively, one needs to make global adjustments first, then any more targets corrections.

The healing tools merely gather what is visible and try to match surrounding pixels. So, you don't want to alter surrounding pixels after anything such as healing. You'll want to treat the SO and healing layer more as a Group.

You could merely use an Adjustment Layer above the SO and healing layer(s) to alter the brightness. Then adjustments would alter all underlying pixels, not just the SO.

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