Photoshop tutorial: Pro techniques for Dodge and Burn in Photoshop

In this tutorial, professional photographer Tigz Rice reveals advanced techniques for Dodge and Burn in Photoshop – which use Curves adjustment layers rather than the built-in tools so you can fine tune the results afterwards for even better results.

Intro


In this tutorial, professional photographer Tigz Rice reveals advanced techniques for Dodge and Burn in Photoshop – which use Curves adjustment layers rather than the built-in tools so you can fine tune the results afterwards for even better results.

See also: 86 Best Photoshop tutorials

Dodge (lighten) and Burn (darken) are techniques that date back to the era of film photography, and were used in the darkroom to create more contrast in the final image than was available in the original negative.

If you’ve played around with the Dodge and Burn tools in Photoshop, you may have noticed that not only do they create a permanent effect on the layer, they can also be quite damaging to the colours in the image. Here, Tigz looks at a great non-destructive technique for bringing in areas of added contrast, without compromising the original image.

Step 1

STEP 1

Open your chosen image in Photoshop. In the Adjustments panel, click on the Create New Curves Adjustment Layer button.

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In the Layers panel, rename the layer to ‘Dodge’.


Step 2

STEP 2

In the Properties panel, click on the hand icon just below the word Preset. Find the lightest spot on your photo. Now click on the lightest part of the skin and drag up with your cursor to brighten the image like this.

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Step 3

STEP 3

As we want to use Dodge and Burn on just the areas we need - rather than apply the effect to the entire image - we’ll need to hide this effect for now with a negative layer mask.

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To do this, click on the white rectangle in the Dodge layer and then press Cmd/Ctrl + I to invert it to black.


Step 4

STEP 4

Now let’s do the same for the areas of the image we want to darken. Create a second Curves adjustment layer as we did in step one and rename the layer to ‘Burn’.

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Step 5

STEP 5

In the Properties panel, click on the hand icon just below the word Preset again. This time, find the darkest area of the skin, and drag down with your cursor to darken the image like this.

See also: 86 Best Photoshop tutorials

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Step 6

STEP 6

Again, we need these effects to be hidden for now, so click on the white rectangle in the Burn layer and then press Cmd/Ctrl + I to invert it to black.

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Step 7

STEP 7

Now that we’ve set up our Dodge and Burn layers, we can start blending in the areas of Dodge and Burn we want to enhance our original image with.

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To do this, first choose a large brush with 0% hardness and set the colour of the brush to white.


Step 8

STEP 8

Set your brush opacity to 10-20%. Select the Dodge layer in the Layers panel. Start with big sweeping strokes along the apples of the cheeks, the centre of the forehead and bridge of the nose.

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Build up a stronger effect by going back over the same areas as many times as required.

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Step 9

STEP 9

Next, switch to a smaller version of the same brush to bring in more definition in the eyes, any highlights in the lips and the filtrum (the ridges under the nose).

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Step 10

STEP 10

Now we’ll focus on burning in some of the shadows. Switch back to a larger version of the same brush and select the Burn layer in the Layers panel.

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Fill in the areas under the cheekbones - and around the edges of the hairline and jaw - to create more contrast.


Step 11

STEP 11

Then, with a smaller-sized brush, bring out the contrast details in the eyelashes, brows and the contours of the lips.

See also: 86 Best Photoshop tutorials

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Step 12

STEP 12

For a stronger Burn effect, you can also try changing the blending mode of the Burn layer to Multiply in the Layers panel.

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Step 13

STEP 13

Once you’ve made your adjustments, you can fine-tune the Dodge and Burn layers independently by using the opacity slider for each in the Layers panel.

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Step 14

STEP 14

Highlight both layers and Shift + click on the Add Group icon to add them into a group. Rename the group to ‘Dodge/Burn’ and continue editing as normal.

See also: 86 Best Photoshop tutorials

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