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The Art & Business of High-End Retouching

Lesson 18 of 32

Retouching Workflow: Dodge and Burn


The Art & Business of High-End Retouching

Lesson 18 of 32

Retouching Workflow: Dodge and Burn


Lesson Info

Retouching Workflow: Dodge and Burn

Now I'm going to go into a lighting stage this's we're going to start evening out things and pieces of the puzzle start coming together and start making sense now let's go in on dh start by first collapsing or bring this folder back in I'm going to select a new folder here now under this folder I'm going to name this lighting or you gonna be dodging burn whatever you'd prefer actual let's do that let's him a document because we want to be super specific so people aren't asking what what is this called what's that step called okay dodging burn now the way this works I'm going to create two layers or two adjustment layers with my folder selected when it come down to my adjustment brush uh adjustment lier icon and scroll down till I find curves now with curves what this essentially does is I bring this out so you can cheat better is with curves what happens is when I bring this point up what it's doing is it's adjusting light just based on what the original exposure waas so for example wh...

en I bring this point up what it means is the gap between where the mid tones were ever so where they are now is very extensive however when you look up here the darkest and light is part of image didn't move so much right there's less of a gap what this means is more of the mid tones were exposed higher and changes weren't done across the board the whole image because if you lighting up the whole image so let's I bring the midterms up here I took my highlights and brought it equally distant and took my shadows and brought it here this would be something that flattens out language, right? That is why curtis so great because it keeps your points stuck and on lee increased exposure for the midterms, which is typically where all of our transitions are based off, where you see that when we even our skin is going to affect mostly just, uh the heirs of the blemish essentially and there's that's not always the case, but for the most part I feel that is so what what am I doing with this curve? Why is this important? Well, first and foremost I want to use this very selectively so as I mentioned, I'm going to be lightening of dark hairs of the skin, so it blends in better with the rest of the tonality. However, I don't want to apply to the whole image, right? I want apply selectively so first and foremost I'm going to raise my curve about right under the first little crosshatch right here, okay, so horizontal it's the first line vertically its middle line I'm right below that with my point typically people will say you know, bring the point here in the middle of the square or up I don't you know, I think it really matters that much maybe does a little bit, but for me I've always brought up here it's just I guess the main point is make a curve and raise it up she can don't get some part how technicalities as you can see I'm not a very second prison um how our now with this curve done, we're goingto click on her mask we're going to hit command I we're going make it black because why black heights? Yeah and white reveals so we want to selectively bring it back to different areas we want to light in the dark parts of the skin and this is very non destructive because we're not going to tampering with texture and it's very control it's very precise curves are very precise, so now we're going to actually do the same thing again. We're going to make a negative curve going downwards blue rename this to dodge because we're using to dodge or lighten and now we're going to go and do another one and go down right here and we're gonna invert this again and we're going to set this to burn I'll give you a visual example of what's going on here I think it's really important to physically be able to see what happens now I'm on my dodge layer with my mass elected again, make sure this adjustment layers not selected your mouse custody selected ok? Because the mask is we're going to are you work on? I have my brush, I have a white brush and we're using it on black let's say I do a stroke like this to see how it's adding luminosity to the image in the area that I'm brushing so your brush turns into like a light brush essentially is pretty awesome, but she had that in real life, you know, ships and we should definitely get on that right away so again and then the burn will do the opposite. It starts burning image making darker, but this is not what we're after, okay, I think people tuning in right now, but he's still confused, but we're going to use this to lighten specific areas of the image now before before we continue there's one more layer I'm going to add everything and that is going to be my black and white layer. I'll show you why see here so black and white and so it temporarily strips away the color of the image. The reason I wanted to strip away the color of the image is so that color to billy distracts you from working in the centre, you can see totality, you can see shadows highlights is effectively because color interferes with your perception of light and dark right when you take away the colors temporarily, khun cesaire is really clearly and that's exactly why we have this active temporarily to better aid in our vision to help us because again photo shop has so many ways that you can either help you or hurt you there's another way we can help you another typical process is people will add contrast so let's say they go into curves or something or brightness or contrast and increase the contrast or something they make the details really pronounced so that they can see it even more. The reason I don't do this is it typically tend to create more work for myself it typically makes me work a lot longer in areas that were less important and I think that the air is that I see once I turned to black and white are sufficient enough to work for the whole image, but if you're a stickler and you want to see more detail, this is the way to do it, adding contrast layer but I'm not going to because I don't want to work a little bit more than necessary and I think I've gone to a point where black white there's sufficient enough to see the things that I want to blend together we thought overdoing it no, this is where flo's gonna come in really handy because if you don't have your four sittings right, we're posse sittings rights to be a problem I'm gonna bring my flow back down, teo say one percent so I literally took my hand a powerful and dragged all way down, which in case anyone was wondering how fast how I did that so quickly I'm going to have a little bit and I'm going to start taking care of the areas that have really apparent to me for example, on the neck here I see some really dark patches when you're dodging things you have to focus on are really dark patches, but you want to focus on the fact that you're seeing, um, patterning going on typically areas to look for and I get us a lot where do I look for when I don't I don't know you should look for areas next to the note nose under the eye and also next aside or bottom of the mouth when you see dark areas here over here and on the neck you see patterning going on okay also sometimes in the chest you may see some patterning and those are chipping the most common areas and the eyeshadow evening that out what you can do through here as well this step is also great for adding contour if you like or adding light in areas for example increasing luminosity of eyes maybe or adding contour besides the nose or things making things more pronounced or darkening heirs of the eyebrow and things like that. Okay, now let's go and get started with that and again my brush is set to white and my flows at one percent, but I'm going to do and the reason why my flow sits one percent or my flow is said to one percent is because this allows me to give really precise control without having to guess because my flow is really high say nineteen percent or whatever it is it's really hard to control what I'm like any help and with one percent you concede start coming in as I'm working I think this is definitely step where my rotate function comes in really handy I could get precise strokes if you're using a mouse it's probably going to be really difficult for you right about now so if you have a tablet would be great to kind of bust it out and, uh play with it. What I like to do is as I'm lightening up areas it may not be so apparent to you it's enlightening them up I'm going to do it before after azzam working you can see how it is lightens up the really dark areas that are prominent so you you stay focused on the things that matter the most the face I'll do this for the side here and this is what we're gonna be doing for the next two days in a row you're like pale I'm leaving however I joke about it but it is quite common as many very touches know that if you're working for retouching house the rest of the process will typically contain a lot of dodging one work dodge and burn work that consists of hours of labor labor of love however, if you stay tuned I asked me it'll be better for you to take care of this and I say that because let's say that we finish, you know, dodging out the main areas that we see the main hard patches main lines when you zoom into an image you still see micro transitions like this area be darker than this area this area any darker than this area this air me this line maybe lighter than the one incited people typically go in and dodge and burn to that degree to get that perfect perfection without touching a texture before my christian micro transitions are typically fall back to the next step, which I think does on equivalent job but at a much more comfortable pace while saves time so don't leave case you're watching because I have something really fantastic now let's see I'm gonna go in and continue my process by keeping zoomed out this's again why I don't zoom in so much because I'm just focused on the main here is that I see from the outside that I can take care of right now um dodging nausea across the top of her forehead and do you remember that portion that we lightened up here because of our pact over call clone brush I'm gonna take my dodge I'm semi burn layer and I'm going to dark in those areas this a little bit and now what happened is they turned on enough it compensated for luminosity that we had lost previously so again that's why I was kind of sloppy about it because I wasn't too concerned that we were changing a few other values as long as a texture was replaced efficiently and we removed a lot of those stray hairs that was my intention so pretty when you're working with the temporary black and white layer you're not seeing the pitch to read when you're on your burn layer and trying pitch to yellow when you're working your dodge layer that's right? So you're going to separately comeback and correct hugh yes so I'm gonna use the next which is a color step to collective we fix that another thing I really love which I'm gonna get to is how effectively you can separate those two things without having to worry about what's happening when in stuff the thing that he was asking about by changing your curves layers to luminant that's exactly gonna get however we would also sometimes doesn't have a favorable look I have noticed that if you change that semi trance awful quick let's say I have any areas that change in color this image actually holds up okay however, sometimes if I do what I'm going to come here and do my blending mode said to luminosity and what it does is it doesn't take in account for any color shift have happened to the image which can easily compensate for any shifts that doesn't happen then I go there next up which is including the color portion something good question because red red definitely does shift a lot there working ready airs and skin that tends to shift quite a bit as you notices I'm working I've rarely ever looked at my keyboard I'm really lima hand I'm pretty stationery right? First because of my home you must be laid back on my desk and you know, watching tv and mindless going about it however this is also while of my shortcuts because I'm not continuously looking down my keyboard it keeps your frame of mind really focus on what you're doing every time you're looking down in a way you have to refocus again you lose your train of thought not maybe not consciously but subconsciously you lose that momentum right and that's what three about getting to the image of good momentum that's why when when you watch a game and other team calls halftime whatever time out it breaks the momentum and that's just because you know you're fluted he's gone really takes away from I wouldn't say the fun of retouching to spend on who you ask I think a lot of people hate retouching safe to say but for those that you really love it and get really immersed in creating beautiful work what happens is you get really sidetracked sometimes whenever you keep doing it really takes away from the fun of it so again I'm just taking away the dark patches much like him and you notice that I'm changing my brush size in increments and the reason I say increments is because as I'm brushing I'm changing at the same time sometimes there's every passively go to is a different size so it has to be something that you do have to do you can't stick toe one brush size and just because you're lazy use that for everything because you want to keep changing your size and it's so difficult this is why you have to give changing it onda again this life pressure's really hard to control because even if pressure changes size you don't know exactly what size it is when your pressure's enabled and that really to me off because every little past that you fix has to be that exact same site can be less or more because if it's more it's going to highlight around that patch making the bright areas even brighter I don't want that happen by changing the size of it you're changing your footprint exactly this footprint is perfect you can get away with murder without it's the exact size you need to make it look seamless I know everyone's wing that hospital is bothering me but don't worry about it we're going to take care of it soon so for take one thing that I don't know that you've talked about that a lot of people had some questions on was the, um the destructiveness of dodge in burning yeah do you want to talk a little bit about yes that I'm not like you I believe that dodging burn itself is quite non destructive in the sense where so people will be asking some viewers who don't have as much knowledge will ask what does it mean what's destructive nondestructive mean well, two things for me I think nondestructive means that when you working in progressing on an image did you destroy the texture of an image? What did you did you destroy the characters since we can't go back and kind of you know do what you did so dodging brings non destructive because it's not actually adjusting the texture it's just a just seeing the properties of the texture it's adjusting how light or dr textures it's not taking it away so for example you just how light and dark it is you're also just the color the texture but the fidelity of the skin is left intact, essentially that's what nondestructive retouching is to me because if you work on the background, you can't really go back, and if you start blowing an image, you've lost something that you wish you had retained now on the neck here, for example, um, you'll see a lot of blood shares this across the board, I think that's pretty common it's something that I think happens quite often. Now I'm going to finish this neck area off, not by going all the way here and dodging everything I wish you guys would get really bored. It would look beautiful, though, no doubt about it where you'd go in and the principals will still play let's say you love your touching, and I want to dodge and burn everything you can. You can go in, zoom in on the same principles, literally start lightening up every little dark area that you see, so what happens is you liked it up to match the rest of the image, it's not something that that I do for say because, again, I don't have that much time when I'm working or a lot of times the budgets aren't really there to qualify for me to expense that much time in this process after work very efficiently to pick my battles. I have to dodge what I think is really important right now the things that again their most important and blend in the transitions as cleanly as possible so let's see here and also I'll just make up this beautiful makeup you know it's also interesting to note that when you look at makeup on set things that really good right sometimes you just don't know that there's anything wrong but you notice when you go back home and look at the screen because the way the light interprets makeup is interesting whenever you have really harsh lights or really speculum lights the light tends to pierce makeup and the reflection that is captured is something that is much different than what we see under ambient light also I stage makeup sometimes much heavier then make up done you know elsewhere liken first ships and stuff that's also why we make up our supply makeup and they get their pictures back it doesn't look the same as when they took the photo which is also why I think it's great as a photographer to show yu make up artist but the makeup is reading on camera because then the makeup artists can overcompensated necessary to get the look that you want because always better to try and get his exact on set than it is to do it afterwards so same thing here with the make up I'm going to try and even other transitions as much as possible without going to in depth on a little bit more here on eye shadow. Sometimes it happens when I'm working a mask, my brushes also black, so I'm painting black on black and nothing's happening, but sometimes I think this looks really good. And then a minute later, I catch myself thinking nothing's happening idiot. Ok, so I tried it on and off. You see a few the transitions and the air that are really important to me. I'm gonna go in light up just a little bit as well just by taking care of the color of the eyes. I don't typically liketo white and light in the whites of the eyes. I think that it looks fine print out of the camera because when you adjust luminosity values for particular heirs of the image, it throws a view ofthe thinking that, you know, I think luminosity value should increase together across the whole image. So if eyes reading one thing, your mind knows that every other part of image have particular reading just by looking at somebody's very subliminal when you white in the eyes, baby, what happens? The rest of the face should also be writing accordingly to match if the eye is the brightest point of the image. Chances are something is done, and then you can tell father it's not to say that it's wrong again art is a very subjective thing that's just my take on it, but I would do the same way. I'll probably just dodged the eye and even other color work and things like that in case anyone was wondering why I'm just doing, you know, the color of the tie and again just a little bit too brings some added detail nothing crazy that would take me forever to do I think this, you know, getting to see the behind the scenes of home working is fun because you can see me talk out loud and see what areas that I focus on don't otherwise, when you watch tutorial, sometimes you don't necessarily get ah behind the scenes of you what the artist is thinking, you know what? They're what they want to talk first and why they take data really, folks on the technique itself on dh, not necessarily anything else, and this is great because you got to see the earlier portion where I talked about my settings and why that's relevant. So now you can see why implying through the image we thought asking yourself, what is it? What do you do or what? What shortcut was that? How did he get to that point really quick? Remember, I released the video ones just like a buying the scenes look at how is retouching without saying anything confused people so badly, so this is fantastic because it really puts two and two together retouching is all the psychology of it more so than just the techniques, because without understanding the principles, you kind of get lost, okay, so I essentially took out any of the areas that really, really dark and blend it, blended it and accordingly let me go a little bit on the neck area here and started doing these little patches here again, just the major ones I'm going to go in depth and sorry super precise, but I'm going to do quite a effective job, take it to the ex portion, all right? So we got here and you'll notice this area here is a lot of micro transition's going on here, a ton of them right? And this would take forever to even out. You literally have to go in there and lights of every little bit as I mentioned on dh do it accordingly. I'm not right now I'll show you why next so don't leave but it's also okay to go ahead and globally even you know, I just lightening of the area in general, so that's not as dark as a sounding bit even the hand some people want to increase the highlight of the arm for example that's totally fine too. You can go ahead and do so um and again you can either do this now or leave it to the end if you wanna control later if you just want to be focused on dodging burning totally fine definitely preference see what else? All right? Now um a couple of more things maybe a little bit a highlight on lip has to make up a bit and overall take a bigger brush maybe and handsome of the eyes a bit more on makeup side. Now I'm gonna switch order burning because it's a dodging I think I got to exactly where I wanna be before my next step is my intention was as you can see I wanted to even out more the transitions and the air's a stand out the most right and that's typically where it happens I don't want to go overboard with this because I do want to make her look a three d model okay, that can happen is well I want to still make her look natural but I do want to go extremely far now with my burning there's one problem here this is why the next time he also really cool is you can't burn hot spots very well it's a big problem if you try to burn a hot spot that's I try to burn this it's very weird it doesn't look so great right so that you can't burn which is again why the next isn't great but so I do save my burning for other areas that are to light for example over here on the top of the eye shadow I can darken bits that were too bright for instance those little speculative bits visiting here for a second or even here you see the makeup itself didn't fade off as it should be my flow is too high that's what was going on? I was like wow, I'm really terrible at this there we go it's amazing what a difference it makes me turn on and off you can see what I mean by fading things in together so the process would be the same across the board where you'd essentially just darken enlighten pixels to make it blend into each other more seamlessly you'll notice that I don't really burn as much as I dodge it's just because I typically think the areas that are darker stand out more and those are the ones I need to even up and the rest of it tends to be okay and again I can use the fill in eyebrows make that even you can even increase the depth of the makeup overall with the makeup is over here you increase the makeup of here if you like to spring how dense you'd like it you could even use dodging burning to decrease the appearance of actual lines like, for example, on the neck if you had a line and you used to want to remove it, you could just light it up and it happens the natural fold is still there, but it becomes less apparent now what I'm going to do is pretty much not stop but let's say that we have something that we're happy with at this moment. Granted, this is life I would actually encourage you to do a bit more if you still find areas that you want to take care of. However, I left a little bit extra behind to show you why my next step within the lighting umbrella is still gonna be powerful yet more efficient for these little areas that really hard to take care of, but traditionally you'd continue going in a pixel level and lightning in dark in years. Okay, all right, so that pretty much concludes my dodge and burnt portion at the moment. Um, there's going to be other dodge and burn sections with other images that tackle all the ways how to dodge in bern so don't think you've won anything yet regards the dodger burt, but so far, so good do you want to talk? Maybe a couple people are asking if you ever do the dungeon burn on a grey layer instead yeah, that's, something you gotta cover later, that's exactly what talking about? So they gotta wait to find out love if you have any questions from here in the room, on this subject, all right, let's say I have a lot of people who are just in love with this let's see, pog says, when adding a black and white adjustment layer for dodge and burn, you ever tweak the black and white settings depending on what you're working on skin versus clothing? Yeah, I will typically keep the black and white settings seem, and what he was referring to is that when you click on this black white adjustment lier, it brings up his little icons here that have the color distinctions and so let's say, I adjust my reds tio luca skin, for example, to make it look more apparent. The reason why this was bad was, if you notice now the skin actually was really good, but that's kind of false it's not really good, you're they're lying to you don't listen but what you want, you should go the other way. It enhances these flaws that makes it extremely difficult for someone who doesn't have the control to dodging burn precisely yet, so I recommend not to do it that way, because sometimes let's say a garment has read aniela and if you just increase the reds and the yellow sea the same, it gives you a false interpretation of what it looks like now, obviously, understand it's, actually pretty useful, sometimes, that maybe in garments and things. But I don't just because of it, but what I will do instead, let's, say you do use this to adjust luminosity, to see things better or whatever. Have you let's say that you want to see the dress better? Because it's too dark, you can add this another curve layer and brightened the image up temporarily so you can see the detail over here. And then you can get in there with your dodging berliners, and then you can delete that or whatever, have you? But I wouldn't adjust the individual color properties within the black and white layer for a personal preference.

Class Description

One of the biggest challenges a photographer faces is the amount of time spent on retouching images. Creating a beautiful high-end finished photo requires the right tools and techniques — but the process doesn’t need to dominate your workflow.

Join international retoucher Pratik Naik, owner of Solstice Retouch, as he shares his secrets for creating beautiful photos in less time. You will also learn the business and marketing side of retouching — everything from working with clients to creative branding opportunities.

During a live photo shoot, Pratik works with photographer Felix Kunze, demonstrating how photographers and retouchers can work together to craft a final product that exceeds the expectations of both parties. You’ll learn every single step of the retouching process by watching as Pratik turns Felix’s raw photos into high-quality images.

Whether you’re a photographer who wants to present high-end final images to your clients, or you want to break into the world of retouching, Pratik will provide you with the skills necessary to be the best at your craft.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 14.2, Adobe Lightroom 5



Really wonderful course, thanks. May I suggest a fantastic idea for maybe those who purchase the course? It would be extremely useful to be provided with a summary of the content of each video segment, perhaps a 30-60 second video with written 'dot-point' sheet at the end of each segment, to be reviewed at a later time. It just takes too long to replay each video to get the important messages. The notes provided by Pratik were a step in the right direction but they need more detail of what was presented, including tips and tricks, in each segment. In this way, once having watched the entire course, you could go back and review the nitty-gritty aspects of each segment quickly and efficiently. These quick 'summary' clips could make up a separate 15 minute video, recapping in detail the hard-core content of the course, without interruptions from questions. This would be extremely useful and hopefully not take the presenter too long to film. I feel this would be a wonderful 'added value' aspect of buying the course, as it would not be available for for free viewing. It would certainly encourage me to buy more of the available courses. Keep up the great work at Creative Live! I have stopped my Kelby subscription and just watch you guys now!! Well done!! Peter Bourne Australia


Pratik has been a revelation and a revolution at the same time, even kinda a benediction because of its huge generosity to show us such an efficient and powerful workflow. His genial approach turns impossible things into possible. What amazed me most, was Pratik ability to see further the shot and take the best of it to reach the perfection. The original photo is still there, very recognizable, but through a precise and meaningful workflow, it becomes eye-catching, high quality, high impact. Pratik is a wonderful person, very genuine, high talented, with a sophisticated sense of the aesthetics and arts. This course changed drastically my way to look at photoshop and at the retouching techniques. Thank you!!

user d3cdf7

I have been a retoucher since 1992 and a commercial photographer and I am amazed at the wealth of information Pratik is teaching us. Love his great sense of humor. Yes, retouching takes me way into the early part of the morning...up to 4 am. I've learned to listen to Books on DVD from the library which help my attitude much better. Several degrees behind me and I know I was meant to make a difference with portrait photography. NO ONE wants reality, especially at elder ages. So I continue to learn to retouch professionally and not use a quick retouch filter which renders a fake look. I may incorporate a light retouching filter, but I find I must always do some manual retouching first, in order to have the appearance look real. Which is the old first rule to retouching itself. In the film days, I use to make my own texture screens in order to create more beautiful faces. My photographer friends would ask for my help in using them, when they had blurred an important celebrity shot. The texture screen would help spread the dots and give the appearance of your digital noise now. The results were the image looked more focused Thank you Pratik Naik, for being so generous with your techniques. I am interested in how to price out retouching jobs, as I have been told I give my retouching away with my photography. Thanks,, Jeri Goodwin-Akari cherished moments photography in walla walla, WA