I make a duplicate layer; highlight one part of the image to edit; create an adjustment layer with mask for Levels; make adjustments; then how do I do edits for Brightness/Contrast and Hue/Saturation to that same highlighted area? If I go the duplicate layer again and go to adjustment layer for Hue/Saturation, the mask is for the whole image; same thing if I click on the Levels layer mask and then adjustment layer for Hue and Saturation, I just get a mask for the whole image. It seems like it should be so simple to make multiple adjustments to just one part of the imge.
1. Open your image
2. Use one of the selection tools to select the object that you wish to make an adjustment to, and place this on its own layer (press CTR+J)
3. Open a Levels adjustment layer at the top, and press CTRL+G to group the top two layers.
4.. Use the sliders to best advantage for your purpose.
5. If another object needs enhancements, repeat steps 2-4, e.g. with a brightness/contrast adjustment layer
6. In a complex picture file requiring multiple areas that one has to work on, this generates a lot of layers. That is ok. I find it useful to combine all the layers into a "stamp visible layer." To do that, open a blank layer at the top of the stack of layers, and press CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E. This does not flatten the layers but combines them for further work, if needed. This step is optional. of course.
I'm still confused. I opened an image of a single flower with a blurred background. I highlighted the flower and then did CTRL J to make it on its own layer; I opened a Levels adjustment layer and did CTRL G to group; used the sliders to make changes. If I now want to continue to make changes to just the flower with Hue and Saturation and Brightness/Contrast, do I have to highlight the flower all over again for each adjustment as described in steps 2-4? It seems there has to be a way of not having to highlight the same object over and over every time I want to make an adjustment. Sometimes highlighting a complex object is the longest part of the whole process.
1. I don't know what you mean by highlight the flower. The drill is to select the flower - - -you can use the lasso tool or the selection brush. Once the selection is complete, you should see an outline ("marching ants") surrounding it.
2. Press CTR+J to place the flower on its own layer
3. Open the levels adjustment layer and press CTR+G
4. If you wish to manipulate with a brightness/contrast adjustment layer as well, open it above the levels adj.layer, and press CTRL+G
5.Stacking adjustment layers reaches a point of dimishing return. It is for this reason that in my work-flow I frequently create the stamp visible layer and proceed on from there - perhaps to sharpen or blur something, to remove an object which detracts, e.g. a fire hydranrt in the scene in front of flowers, etc.
You're welcome. Glad it worked out for you.
You could add a New Layer Group (Layer>Group Layers), add a Layer Mask of you selection to the Group, then put your adjustment layers inside the group without the need add a selection mask to each adjustment layer.
The green bow on the hat is the target of the adjustment layers in this example.