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Local Dodging and Burning for Beauty Retouching

Lesson 7 of 11

Live Demo: Local Dodge and Burn

Chris Knight

Local Dodging and Burning for Beauty Retouching

Chris Knight

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Lesson Info

7. Live Demo: Local Dodge and Burn

Lesson Info

Live Demo: Local Dodge and Burn

We're gonna be creating two curve adjustment layers. So there's the first one, I'm just gonna make a second one. And I'm gonna make one that darkens it a bit, and I'm gonna make one that brightens it a bit. And this is gonna be my dodge, and this is gonna be my burn. And each mask is a hide-all mask. So that basically means that when I paint white on my brush, I can lighten and darken. Okay, very, very straightforward. Simple lighten and darken adjustment. The next thing we're gonna do is create that visualization in black and white. And you may, if you've explored this concept a little bit, you've seen different things like channel mixers, and everything else, to create that very high contrast black and white. The reason I like to do a 50 percent gray layer set to color, is because it keeps the relative color, the colors relative to each other in that translation. For example, if I were to do a black and white adjustment layer, even though I'm able to bring out texture, I'm not keepin...

g the relationships between the colors consistent. And so the changes that I make when I turn this off are gonna be different, and that doesn't help me. So it's not just about creating a black and white adjustment layer, it's about doing a true one-to-one conversion of the color. And so you can either do a solid color set to 50 percent, or you can create a new layer and fill it with 50 percent gray, it doesn't actually matter. It can actually just be gray, any degree of gray, but I just, I like the 50 percent gray because I'm a creature of habit. So you have a gray, and I change the blend mode of this to color, which means it's applying the saturation level. And as I said, like it doesn't actually matter where your brightness is, as long as the saturation is zero. So it's applying the hue and the saturation of this layer to everything else, which leaves tone only. Okay, and so this is my true one-to-one black and white conversion. The problem with this, is again it doesn't help me visualize things really well. So I create a curve adjustment layer. And I usually start by darkening it. Sometimes I will also increase the contrast. It depends on the image. And the nice thing about doing it this way is let's say I want to come over to this side, which is now very, very dark and tough for me to read, I can always adjust it later. And it allows you to create a more targeted adjustment based on the area you're working on. Once I have this in place, all of my changes are exaggerated underneath the curve. So it's gonna give me the correct visualization. So I've just selected the dodge, just to kind of illustrate a point. And you can definitely see it, it's balancing it out, yadda yadda yadda, right. But when I turn these off, the change is correct.

Class Description

Chris Knight demystifies local dodging and burning to show you one of the most effective ways to make skin look amazing in your images! He'll show you how to use one of the most powerful tools in a retoucher’s arsenal. Chris will walk through this non-destructive technique that speeds up your workflow while softening the transitions between skin tones without losing the details you want to keep. Get an in-depth look at skin retouching and take your portraits to the next level.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2017.1.1

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Andreas Böhrnsen

Great course on dodging and burning and beauty retouching in general. Think he went through all the steps very thoroughly. Well explained and overall a good course. Would highly recommend it to anyone into portrait and beauty photography.

Bjorn Carlen

A highly recommended class! Chris Knight is super efficient and tremendously clear an instructor. He manages to sqeeze so much useful information and tips into this hour, that I have to go back and revisit several times before i get it all. That may say something anout me myself, but I think also about the efficiency of the instructor. Very good!


I have viewed many Creative Live classes and rank this one among the best. Chris very effectively organized his class to impart knowledge. He Starts with an overview and summary level walk thru of the process and then goes into details and does an actual retouch. He concludes with a lesson on what can go wrong and provides practice images. I highly recommend this class to anyone seeking to learn Dodge and Burn. Thank-you Chris for a great educational experience!