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How To Get Dodge And Burn Effects Using Layer Masks And Blending Modes In Photoshop CS4
This Photoshop CS4 tutorial, Photoshop Fundamentals: The Right Way To Dodge And Burn, is adapted from The Photoshop Darkroom: Creative Digital Post-Processing by Harold Davis and Phyllis Davis (Focal Press).
In the chemical darkroom, one of the most fun parts of making a print was bringing out details by burning and dodging. Burning used an enlarger to expose a specific area of a print through a hole of some kind in black cardboard, constantly kept in motion so its edge did not show. The result was a darkened area.
Dodging was the opposite: while the enlarger was exposing, a black cardboard disk on some kind of stick (often a wire coat hanger!) was continually waved above an area that needed lightening.
Coming to Photoshop with fond memories of jiggling coat hangers in the darkroom, I naturally turned to the Burn Tool and the Dodge Tool when I needed to do the digital analog of chemical darkroom burning and dodging. But today, I do not use the Burn or Dodge Tools. Once you know how to use blending modes and layer masks, you’ll find that they are a more powerful and flexible way to get the results you want. Unlike the Burn and Dodge Tools, using blending modes and layer masks to lighten and darken specific areas within an image is non-destructive. It’s also great that you can easily modify your burn or dodge if you decide that you have gone a bit too far.
Once you try burning and dodging the masking and blending mode way, I bet that you won’t go back to the “old fashioned” Burn and Dodge Tools.
I photographed this columbine outdoors in a garden hanging from its own stem. With light behind, the petals were in shadow. The shadowed areas of the petals needed some selective and careful brightening.
This columbine is a bit dark on the lower inner petals and the stamens.
Duplicate the background layer, change the blending mode to Screen, and add a Hide All layer mask.
Use the Brush Tool and gently paint on the layer mask to lighten the petals and stamens.
The white efflorescence within this balloon flower is a tiny flower within a flower. An overall exposure for the flower made the efflorescence too bright and caused a loss of detail. To adjust this issue, I needed to “burn” the inner flower.
The tiny flower in the center of this balloon flower is too light and lacks detail.
Duplicate the Background layer, change the blending mode to Multiply, and add a Hide All layer mask
Use the Brush Tool to darken the center by painting on the layer mask.
What Size Brush Tool Should You Use?
I usually burn and dodge with a 0% Hardness setting. To find the size brush you should use, look at the area you need to burn or dodge. You really need to be able to see what you’re going to work on, which means you’ll probably want to magnify the area. Choose a brush size that is proportional to the area you want to burn or dodge. If your brush is too big, you’ll change areas you don’t want to touch. And if your brush is too small, you risk creating lines in your photo.
Printed with permission from Focal Press, a division of Elsevier. Copyright 2009.
The Photoshop Darkroom: Creative Digital Post-Processing
A Letter from Harold and Phyllis Davis, authors of The Photoshop Darkroom: We believe we can promise you a Photoshop experience unlike any other. Our ideas--and many years of relevant experience--came together when we created The Photoshop Darkroom. We can promise you a very practical learning experience.
Unlike the authors of many other Photoshop books, we are first and foremost photographers, creators, and experimenters. We do not care about the software bells and whistles that Photoshop provides unless these features are useful in the day-by-day tasks of image creation and photo enhancement. We are eager to share the techniques we've developed over the years, and have designed our book to be your guide in your own creative journey with Photoshop. With the step-by-step directions in The Photoshop Darkroom, you can extend the dynamic range of your photos, selectively sharpen, paint with LAB colors, and much more.
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Adjusting Exposure in Adobe Camera Raw CS3
Photoshop CS3 Tutorial High Dynamic Range
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