Dodge and Burn in Adobe Photoshop

Two of the most popular methods are known as dodging and burning. Dodging refers to lightening an area of the photo, while burning is used to darken an area. These techniques can be used to make very subtle changes that can have a big impact on the overall look of your image. There are multiple methods to dodge and burn in Photoshop, and the method you use will depend on the effect you want to achieve.

Gizmo Panel provides four methods for Dodging and Burning: Curves, Color, 50% Gray and Soft Light.

The Curves method

In this method, two Curves adjustment layers are created – one lighter and one darker. A mask is applied to each layer, and the masks are inverted. The Brush tool is then used to reveal the Curves adjustments through the image.

One of the advantages of the dodge and burn curves method is that they are highly precise. Not only can you adjust the Brush settings, you can also change the opacity settings of the layer and even adjust the Curves settings after you’ve created it.


The Color method

This is the same method as curves, the only difference that Hue/Saturation layer added to help with color shifts. 

50% Gray method

In this method will be using a layer that is filled with 50% gray. By setting the layer's blending mode to Soft Light, we can use a white or black brush to dodge and burn the image as desired. This method is versatile and non-destructive, making it a popular choice among Photoshop users. 

Soft Light method

In this method the new layer is created with the blend mode set to the Soft Light. By using the Brush tool in white or black, paint over the area you want to dodge or burn respectively.

The Gizmo panel provides two help layers to ease the process of Dodging and Burning.

The first layer converts your image to black and white, providing you with a better view of areas that need attention. The black and white effect also makes it easier to see contrast and tonal values, allowing you to make more informed decisions about how to improve your photo.

Second visual aid layer will blur your image and eliminate unwanted textures and details and allow you to better focus on your image.

When done well, dodging and burning can give an image greater depth and a sense of three dimensionality. It can also be used to create dramatic lighting effects, or to draw attention to certain elements within the frame. While these techniques may take some practice to master, the rewards are well worth the effort. So if you're looking to take your photography to the next level, be sure to give dodging and burning a try.

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