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Dodge And Burn

Lesson 24 from: Practical Adobe Photoshop Basics

Khara Plicanic

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Lesson Info

24. Dodge And Burn


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Tips for Success


How To Undo Mistakes


Adobe Workspace


Using The Brush Tool


Using The Zoom Tool


Adobe Preferences


Correcting Exposure


Lesson Info

Dodge And Burn

we are going to now move into retouching, which also includes brushes. Um, maybe not Citrus or bird brushes, but brushes. So we'll go in here and I'll just select a few of these to show you and some of these air repetitive. So we may just kind of skip around a little bit. Um, I was going to start by explaining, and I have to change my cursor because that is so annoying. So I'll switch to move toe. Um, one of the things that when we talk about retouching or images, what does that mean? That can mean everything from whitening teeth too bright ning dodging and burning parts of the image to smoothing out wrinkles to removing like light switches from walls. I mean, there's it could be anywhere. It could be anything. It's just basically editing an image. So I'm going to start by showing you a few techniques for dodging and burning. Um, they all do the same thing, but I'm gonna show you a couple different ways of doing it so you can understand how the tools work and how you can use what you'v...

e learned about layers on blend modes and all of those things to give yourself more flexibility. So that said, Let's talk about dodging and burning. Dodging and burning simply means Bright ning or Dark ning Parts of your image and, um, dodging and burning has been around since way before Photo Shop since sent the longest photography before, people were dodging a burning in front of shop. We actually did it in the dark room, and that's where these tools the icons for them come from. So the family is, Oh, here, and we're just gonna talk about these two tools. The Dodge Tool in the burn tool. The Dodge Tool looks like a lollipop, and not because in the dark room, that's what it actually was. It was like a little dowel and then, like black construction paper, was very high tech. But this tool just lightens parts of an image so we can control. The range is the tonal ranges that were targeting so shadows. Mid tones are highlights again. Usually you're probably in the mid tones for doing a lot of this stuff, but you can change that. The exposure determines how intense the adjustments going to be. You generally want that very low for most cases so, like 10% 15% ish. So then you just come with your brush. But I mean, it's a brush tool and you just kind of click and and pain you give it like little kisses. Basically little butterfly kisses. Um, and you're probably I don't know that you're seeing much happening cause it's very subtle, and that's good. But let's compare so we can just see. I'll go back up in my history and now you can see the difference that it's made so far. So it adds up, is the message there. Okay, so it's always a good idea to keep this exposure low and kind of work on it. You don't just like if I blast this to 100% and come in here, I mean, what is that? That's not not going to be good. Okay, so dodging brightens things the opposite of that is then burning. So that's this tool with the little hand, which I can only imagine comes from in the dark room. You would use your hands, I guess, to like, block everything else except the area you're trying to burn. Um, so just like when you burn your toast. When you burn things and footage up, they get darker. Same things. You can target shadows, mid tones, air highlights and you can adjust the exposure and it just darkens. Thinks so. I'm gonna lower this to, like, 10%. Make my brush tinier. Maybe you want to burn in this building a little bit. I don't necessarily think this image needs a lot of dodging burning, so it's very subjective. But just to sort of show, You said, I'm darkening in this area and if we go back to our history and try and undo all of that, you can see it has made a difference. OK, so that's one way that's a totally non flexible, non non destructive, like that's a destructive thing. What we've just done, we just dodged and burned directly on our image on the background. So an alternative to that it was a couple of different ways you can do this. One technique that a lot of people like to use is this. You create a new blank layer. You fill it with a magical color called 50% gray, so the keyboard shortcut to get their um, is going to be shift delete. This brings up the fill command where you can choose ah, color or a thing. So shift, delete or edit Phil, Same thing. Or apparently it's also shift F five. How's that for options? Right. Although now my function keys on my Mac with the touch bar thing, they're not that it's now it's a whole other thing. So I prefer the shift delete command that brings up this pill box and you can then choose contents. So what are we gonna fill with? We're gonna fill with this magical color called 50% gray and I actually, when I had my studio, it was painted 50% gray because I took the great card into the paint shop and was like, Make me this. And I can't tell you how many compliments I got on the color so funny. So maybe if you're redecorating your house, 50% graze good color anyway. So what is happening? We created a new blank layer. We filled it with 50% gray. Know we have this. Well, we need to change the blend mode and in the blend mode instead of normal. If we choose overlay what the magical combination of 50% gray and overlay makes things disappear. So in overly blend mode, anything on a layer that's set to overly blend mode anything on that layer that is 50% great just vanishes. It's just the way the blend mode works. And so what we're going to do now is dodge and burn instead of the background, weaken dodge and burn this layer and what that does. If I want O Brighton, this area of her face, I'll get the Dodge Tool and I'll not be it 100% exposure so late there. And now if I paint here, you can see it's brightening her face ever so gently, and it's not touching the background so I can turn this layer on and off. I could fade it if I'm like, Oh, I went overboard. I could reduce the opacity, too, faded away a little bit. And the benefit is if we switch here and I put it in normal mode so you can see what's happening, and I put it back 100%. There we go. So it's just a gray layer, and by dodging and burning on that 50% gray were either lightning. It or dark me it. And because of the overlay blend mode, when we put it in overlay blood moon, it is now either darkening or lightening the underlying image. It's just the way that that blend mode operates, so it's a safe, more flexible way to dodge and burn your images. Okay, so again, that was just a new layer. 50% gray done. Let's look at one other option, which is my personal favorite, and that's adjustment layers. So what we're going to do is create to adjustment layers. One will darken the image. One will brighten the image, and then we'll mask them so we'll hide them completely. And then you can just paint them in where you want to see them. Okay, so step one, create the adjustment layer. So from the little union, we'll just do levels, because that's my favorite. But you could use curves of your curves person. You could use brightness or contrast if you prefer, but I'm gonna go with levels, and I'm going to create an adjustment that will darken the image not like super dark, but just darker. So I'm gonna grab the mid tone slider and just drag it to the right a bit. Maybe there. Oops. Okay. And that's pretty good. Now I'll hide this adjustment by filling the mask with black, right? So basically, we made this adjustment, but we don't want to see it. We want it there, but we don't want to see it right now. So the mask that's in the layers panel needs to be black to hide it. So we'll do that by making sure we have black over here and we'll just fill it so you can do the keyboard shortcut, which is alter option delete. Or we can choose at it, Phil. And this time, instead of 50% gray will choose black, and we see that it filled the layer mask with black. And now when we toggle this on and off, nothing happens. So he made an adjustment, and then we hit it and we're going to do it again. So I'll click to make another adjustment layer. Another levels adjustment. But this time I'm gonna brighten the image. So we'll grab the mid tone slider and drag it to the left and again will hide it the keyboard shortcut to fill your layer or your selection with the current foreground color is alter or option delete. So now it looks like we've done a whole lot of nothing. These layers air not having any impact whatsoever. We created to adjustment layers, one to darken. So I'll rename this. This is the darkened and this is lighten and they're not doing anything because they're completely hidden with the layer mask. Why would we do that? Because now we can get our brush, not a Citrus fresh. Let's change that. Let's go back to just a soft round brush. So now we're not using the Dodge and Burn brush tool. We're just using the regular brush, and we're gonna paint on this layer with white paint. So I'll press X to flip flop my colors and then I'll lower my opacity because I don't want to blast this at 100%. So I'm gonna lower it to, like, 20 or something. And now any areas that I want to dark in, maybe like her face a little bit, maybe I'll lower it even lower. I don't want to darken it too much. So, like 10%. I'll just pink and I can darken with white paint. I can darken these areas of her face. And the more I paint, the darker it will get because what I'm doing Excuse me. There we go. Is I'm just painting this mask. I'm removing the mask and painting it to allow that adjustment to show time. If you want to see the masked by itself, you just hold down all tore option and click on the mask and then you'll see that. Alright. So I could any areas that I want to darken. I just now paint with White to reveal the adjustment. So if I wanted to darken her face, that's good. Now, if I want a lighten areas like maybe down here, I would just target the adjustment that was lightning the image and I will reveal it wherever I want to see that adjustment. Maybe all up the opacity a little bit, and then I can paint over here, or maybe her shoulders or something. So if I turn these layers off, that's what we started with. And that's what we have. So you can. I mean, I was just kind of messing around, so I don't know that this is what I would maybe choose of how I'd want to do this, but, um, you can use your brush with black or white paint to then show or hide these to a different adjustments. So it's like the ultimate dodging and burning because there's no damage done to your background and you have total control over how extremely adjustments are because you can even come in here in, adjust the levels, adjustment yourself. So there's a lot of flexibility there, so they're three different techniques to achieve the same thing, but I think they're all are useful.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts
Photoshop Resource Guide
Practical Photoshop Basics (PS action file)
Word Art
Course Files

Ratings and Reviews

Kim Williams

I tuned into this class hoping to glean what I cold since it was free. I ended up purchasing the class because it is FILLED with so much great information in a fun and easy to understand format. Khara is an amazing instructor - I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. Worth EVERY penny. Thank you Creative Live for offering such great material, at even more amazing prices.


What an unbelievable teacher Khara is. I have wanted to learn photoshop forever but was intimidated, overwhelmed, then I watched this course. OMG I learnt so much, more then I imagined. I am so excited now to start using Photoshop, I can't wait to try out everything she taught us. With the skills we learnt over these two days I think this course provides everything I need to know to feel and more. She was outstanding, the absolute perfect teacher for someone who has never ever used Photoshop. Also great moderation by Kenna. Thank you for this awesome, amazing, wonderful course. I am sure anyone who watches this course will agree it is incredible. I couldn't recommend it more. This course was just Smurfy!

Roz Fruchtman

I would highly recommend Khara Plicanic's Practical Adobe Photoshop Basics. The name of the class, implies that the class is for beginners, but that's not exactly true. Most of us learn Photoshop by the features we need to know at any given time. As many will agree, there are a number of ways to get to the same end. I can only speak for myself, but... I would bet that many of us don't know all the strategies that are taught in this class! Check it out, I doubt you'd be disappointed! Khara brings a fun and relatable approach to everything she does. She is very entertaining, while being a superb instructor. Last, but not least... This class brings with it a ton of useful bonuses. Warm Regards, Roz Fruchtman aka @RozSpirations

Student Work