I came across an interesting article that, towards the end, states that in order to get more dark detail out of a faded photo, all you need to do is add a Levels adjustment layer, without changing any of the values, and then simply changing the blend mode to Multiply.

I'm wondering how this has any effect at all on the resulting image considering none of the values of the adjustment layer were changed.

  • Think what happens if you multiply an image with it self? – joojaa Apr 15 '17 at 8:10

It works because Photoshop's adjustment layers are in essence a non destructive copy of the layers below. Then by changing the layer mode to multiply, you are basically multiplying the image with itself. It's quite a neat trick especially if you want to employ a non-destructive work flow.

This also works with other adjustment layers where you make no layer adjustment at all, such as curves, vibrance, exposure, etc.

The same would happen if you made an ordinary duplicate of the layer, however the copy would be fixed at the time you duplicated it, not non-destructive.

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    You would get the same result from duplicating the layer and setting it's blend mode to multiply. However using an adjustment layer will result in a smaller file size that simply duplicating the layer since you are not creating an additional layer of pixels. – Evan Oswald Apr 15 '17 at 14:31
  • @EvanOswald Smaller and would update with changes. – joojaa Apr 15 '17 at 15:18
  • @EvanOswald absolutely. – Billy Kerr Apr 15 '17 at 17:14

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