Photoshop: Adjustment Panel Fly-out menu options.

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  • Updated 3 years ago
  • (Edited)
The Adjustment Panel was added to Photoshop in CS4 and two of its Fly-out Menu options seem to be more a problem then useful.

These options are:
"Add Mask by Default" Adobe checked this option by default
"Clip to Layer" Adobe un-checks this option by default

The Adobe sets theirs defaults so that the current version of Photoshop will work the way all versions of Photoshop prior to CS4 behaved. When Adjustments Layers are added to a document they are added with layer mask. Additionally adjustment layers were added un-clipped by default but the user had an option to clip the adjustment layer being added in the new adjustment layer dialog. There was no way for users to change Photoshop default behavior prior to CS4.

The biggest problem is these options do not work as advertised, as stated.

For example if I un-check "Add Mask by Default" and I add and adjustment layer when there is no active selection the adjustment layer is added without an layer mask. However there is an active selection the Adjustment Layer is addled with a layer mask. When Action that contain make adjustment layer steps are played the Make Adjustment Layer steps work the same way. The is no indicator in the action steps that there should be or should not be a layer mask. So when there is no active selection all make adjustment layer steps will play the way the panel option is set, when there is a active selection a layer mask will be added to the adjustment layer no matter how the option "Add Mask by Default" is set.

For example if I check "Clip to Layer" and I add a adjustment layer it will be clipped to the layer. If I play action the have make adjustment layer the will all be clipped. However if I un-check "Clip to Layer" and play actions that contain make adjustment layer step some of the adjustment layer will be clipped for some make adjustment layer action steps have an indicator that the layer should be clipped.

I do not know if a solution can be found for these problems. Action should play like they are recorded. While there is and indicator that indicate that the adjustment layer should or should not be clipped in the make adjustment layer it is not always followed when the option "Clip to Layer" is checked or not checked. There is also no indicator in make adjustment layer action steps that there should or should not be a layer mask. No matter how the option "Add Mask by Default" is set if there is an active selection a layer mask will be included.

It has also been pointed out by an Adobe employee that most users do not know these option exist or if they do know these exist don't use them. Who can blame them for all these options seem to do is cause problems.

Perhaps its time to remover these to options and go back in time before CS4, CS5 and CS6 where all add adjustments layers were added with layer mask by default. A time where users had no problem adding and record adding adjustment layers un-clipped or clipped. Back to a time when Photoshop worked correctly.

here is a link to a simple silly little action open an image and run it with the options set the Adobe default way. Then change one or both of the options and run it again
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John McAssey

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Posted 6 years ago

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John McAssey

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I have been trying the get this bug fixed for over three years now and have open more the one bug report some were closed over my objection one withdrawn by Adobe. I have been contacted and recorded by Adobe support. Adobe has acknowledged there a problem.

Sometimes the way Photoshop creates an Adjustment layer is effected by these options. However these options can not be set by Actions scripts and plug-ins and these options did not exist before CS4. So now Action, scripts and plug-in that add adjustment layers may not work like they should from CS4 on.

After two and a half years I received e-mail from Adobe programmer Thomas Ruark that the problem was on his plate. That was a half a year ago.


Thanks for all your feedback. Let me assure you we are listening even when it does not appear so. I want to focus on the “clip layer” problem first then we can address your other concerns.

I see it as we have three options:

The old way, ignoring the global for recording and playing back actions. (Seems like this is your request)

The current way, “current” refers to the “CS6” way.

The proposed way outlined below.

Remember that we are talking about two things, how does it get recorded and how does it playback.

The old way will cause confusion for users that set the global to “clip” and play an action that has no preference. “Why did my layer not get the global clip setting?”

The proposed way will only break old actions when the action has no preference. Seems like the lowest impact and solves the issue with the old way. Rerecording old actions with the option on/off/undefined to force the option or look to the global during playback. Proposed way will allow you to record it in three ways and play it back using the action setting or the global setting.

I’m going to chat more with my colleagues here. Seems like we need to fix the current way and either go with proposed way or old way.

I believe that the proposed way is our best option and will solve all of our problems. Yes, it will require rerecording actions. Unfortunately, breaking actions happens sometimes when adding features to the application.

-Tom Ruark

From: John J McAssey
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 5:24 AM
To: Thomas Ruark
Subject: Re: Use Clipping

Now comment on what you purpose

On 9/10/2012 6:22 PM, Thomas Ruark wrote:


2 1⁄2 years later this problem ends up on my plate to fix! I don’t want to be labeled a “junior programmer” so I thought I would run my solution by you. I chatted with Mike Shaw about the issue and we came up with the following:

To refresh your memory:

When playing back a recording this is what should happen. Two states for the global and three states for an action equals 6 options. By “not defined” I mean the action does not specify on or off.

Global:Yes + Action:Yes = Clip it

Global:Yes + Action:No = Don't Clip it --------- Bogus the requires all ald actions evere recored add a adjustment layer to be edited fot this is new

Global:Yes + Action:Not defined = Clip it ------ bogus this will brakes all esisting actions it should play the old default way without clipping

Global:No + Action:Yes = Clip it --------- Bogus the requires all ald actions evere recored add a adjustment layer to be edited fot this is new

Global:No + Action:No = Don't Clip it

Global:No + Action:Not defined = Don't Clip it

When recording you have these options for how the action gets recorded:

Global:Yes + User:Yes = Clip it and don't record setting of clipping ----------------- why would anyone want this actions should play the way the are

recorded not recording they want it clipped is asking for problems

Global:Yes + User:No = Don't Clip it and record setting of clipping ------------- Why that asking for problem

Global:No + User:Yes = Clip it and record setting of clipping

Global:No + User:No = Don't Clip it and Don't record setting of clipping

Get rid of the concept of global panel setting. If you want the options in the Panel make it a local setting not a global. If the user is manually using Photoshop and the user uses the panel to add and adjustment layer use the Panels setting. If they are also recording an action record with clipping if that is the state of the option. Do not record with clipping if the panel setting is not with clipping. That way all existing actions will work as recorded. For if with clipping is there the layer will be clipped if not there the layer will not be clipped.

As I wrote the problem in not confined to that setting its also a Problem with the other option setting "Add Mask by default" Actions should Play as the are recorded. However adjustment layers were always added with layer mask and the layer mask became the current Photoshop target. There may be Actions and Scripts out there the rely on this. There is no indication in current Actions and Scripts that a Layer Mask should or should not be added. For Photoshop added layer Mask with adjustment layers Adobe documented it as a freebee and desirable feature. Many will agree and if not desired they deleted them. Changing Photoshop behavior is very risky. The expected target will not be the target for it will not exist. You can not use it so if a stroke path is used the wrong target get it and you can not delete the current layer's layer mask if it doesn't exits. You can not use logic in an action if Photoshop does not always operate a known way how can one record an action if it may not play back the way it was recorded? In my opinion Actions should always add layer mask. Actions should playback the way they were recorded.

I also documented that the option does not work for if it is not check one would think a layer mask should not be added. However if there is a an active selection manually using the adjustment panel to add a adjustment layer and playing and action step make adjustment layer both will add the active selection in a layer mask to the added adjustment layer. So the option only works sometimes not all the time.

Adobe added these options to a new panel the Adjustment Panel in CS4. I would love to see Adobe remove them from the panel in CS6. One Adobe employee stated that most do not know they exist. That nobody uses them. That is good for all they do is break things and they only work sometimes. I would rather see Photoshop working correctly always.

Also we will try to record the changing of the global setting. NOTE: You can use insert menu item to change this but 'toggling' is pretty lame, we would like to add finer control of the global setting. Maybe even adding in getting the state of that global setting.

I do not want lame I want a good old reliable Photoshop. I do want new good features like the improvements in ACR. When it comes down to it I can do without content aware distortion. Give me good stuff. Not Lame stuff like a not well design allow tool recording that is disable when one installs the scriptlisener make thing compatible and useable.. We got along without being able to record tool usage. We can wait for a good designed and well implemented tool recording feature. Give us good stuff not Lame


-Tom Ruark
Photoshop Engineering
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John McAssey

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Please remove the two bad options from the Adjustment Panel fly-out menu so Photoshop operates in a consistent proper maner
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John McAssey

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Still a Problem