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Adjustment Layers in Adobe Photoshop

Lesson 7 of 8

Dodge and Burn Using Quick Mask Mode

Ben Willmore

Adjustment Layers in Adobe Photoshop

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

7. Dodge and Burn Using Quick Mask Mode


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1 Class Introduction Duration:05:29
4 Understanding Curves Duration:06:18
8 Editing with Blending Modes Duration:08:04

Lesson Info

Dodge and Burn Using Quick Mask Mode

Let's fix an issue with this picture. And I'll probably end up using Curves to do it 'cause it's just the thing that gives me the most control. It's a picture of a trailer and if I zoom up. You notice there's an area here that's bright that doesn't look like it belongs. That's a lens flare. It usually happens when whatever the light source is in your scene, you end up pointing your camera right at it. And the actual light source itself hits the front element of the lens that's there. That's why you have lens hoods on your camera lenses and they try to avoid that. But if you take your lens hood off, where you point your camera too much straight into a light source you'll get these to show up. And I want to see if I can reduce or eliminate it. Now so far what we've used Curves with adjustment layers. We ended up make the adjustment first and then afterwards we paint it with black or white to control where it is applied. Well now what I'd like to do is show ya how to choose where it's app...

lied first and then make your adjustment. Now you could do that with a selection. If you grab the lasso tool, the marquee tool, or any other selection tool you could make a selection and then if you end up applying an adjustment layer it would only affect the area that is selected. The problem is most selection tools are designed to create hard edged selections and they're designed to go around the edge of a relatively well defined object. What I have here is not a well defined object. It's not like the door way where you can see an exact end to it and it also has a soft edge. So let's figure out how to select it. If you have a selection, like this one. I just used the marquee tool. You can either type the letter Q or click this icon to get to Quick Mask mode. Which I just did. Quick Mask mode converts your selection into a red overlay. Where the red indicates what's not selected. Then you can grab your Paintbrush tool and you can modify your selection by just painting, like this. And if you do, when you turn Quick Mask off by typing Q you just changed the shape of that selection. I'll type Q once again. When you're using a brush you have a hardness setting, determines how hard the edge of your brush is. And if you bring it down you end up with a soft edge brush. If you use a soft edged brush here you get what's known as a Feathered Selection. Where it doesn't abruptly end. Instead it can softly fade out. When I type Q you can't tell that that's got a soft edge on it but it does. If I were to paint in it right now, you can see that part of it is hard edge at the top and part of it's soft edge. Choose Undo. Well when you use Quick Mask mode you don't have to start with a selection. That's just how I usually demo it. You can start with no selection whatsoever. So, I gonna come in here and type the letter Q. Then I'm just gonna paint with black. Right where the area is I wanna adjust. And I have to make sure my brush has just the right softness on it to match the softness of that edge that was there. The only problem is with painting like this, is in Quick Mask mode the red overlay usually indicates what's not selected. And right now that means that I've selected almost the entire picture except for that area. Well that's when I can come up here and use the same thing that we used on a layer mask, which is invert. Gives you the opposite. That should make the red switch where it shows up. So now, if red indicates not selected and the area that looks normal is selected. When I turn Quick Mask mode off by typing the letter Q. We should have a general selection of that area. So, that's how I end up selecting things before I go in and use Curves. I just type a letter Q for Quick Mask and if it's a large area that I wanna change, I just paint with black in the areas that I don't wanna change. If on the other hand it's a small area that I wanna change. I'll paint just where I want the change to happen and when I'm done I'll end up choosing Invert. Which switches where the red shows up. And that's what we have here. All right, let's go into Curves. In Curves I'm gonna just click on this area right here and I wanna dimmer switch for it. I wanna darken it. Anytime you just want to brighten or darken it's usually one dot. You just click and you don't have to move the dot up and down in Curves. Like in that little part of your screen. You can stay right on top of your picture. And if you just click the mouse, just keep the your mouse button held down and drag up if you want to brighten and down if you wanna darken. It'll move that dot for you. So, I'm just gonna move that down until it seems to be about the same brightness as it's surroundings. 'Bout there. And then the transition doesn't quite look right. So I just grab my Paintbrush tool. I probably didn't have a soft enough edge on my brush or I might not have painted far enough out. Well, white is what allows an adjustment to apply when you're working with a layer mask. So, I just need to make sure I'm painting with white. I can now extend how far out that goes. Seems to be going out all right but then I think the frame around the door is just a little bit too dark. Well, if it is different in brightness than the screen that we were attempting to adjust. Then we can adjust it separately. I just go into Curves and make sure the hand tool is turned on. I move my mouse on top of the frame for the door and if I look in Curves and the circle that appears is in an open area of the curve. An area where I haven't added a dot yet. That means it's different in brightness to the other areas I've adjusted. So, I can easily click and its just like having a dimmer switch in my hand. I'm just gonna bring it up until it's about the same brightness as the area above and below it. There we go. I'm not saying my adjustment is perfect here but if I turn this off and back on again. It ain't bad. Might need to make that area right here just the tinniest bit brighter, I think. There, but I think I'm doing all right with that adjustment. It's easy to see where you turn on and off. But if you've never seen it before I don't think you'd notice that area so much. But it's only with Curves that I'm able to do that. If I use Levels, it only has controls for working with the extremes of brightness. The brightest part of your image and the darkest. If I work with brightness and contrast. It's generically making bright things brighter and dark things darker when I do contrast. But here I can dial in exactly the brightness level I want to adjust. Therefore I can have precision.

Class Description


  • See how Adjustment Layers differ from direct adjustments
  • Optimize black & white images with Levels
  • Apply the Shadow/Highlight adjustment to reveal detail
  • Brighten and darken areas by painting on a Dodge & Burn layer
  • Utilize Histograms to help you determine if you’re over adjusting an image
  • Apply Blending Modes to prevent brightness or color shifts


  • Beginner, intermediate, and advanced users of Adobe Photoshop.
  • Those who want to gain confidence in Adobe Photoshop and learn new features to help edit photos.
  • Students who’d like to take ordinary images and make them look extraordinary with some image editing or Photoshop fixes.


Adobe Photoshop 2020 (V21)