Events Directions Contact
drum scan pricing
About Us
Info Base

Tip Library

Speed Up Editng With Function Keys
When there's too much to clone
Create a Mask with a Channel

Straightening Horizons
Cloning Layers
Realtime Feathering
Dodge/Burn Layer
Controlling Shadows/Highlights
When Cloning Isn't Enough

The Dodge/Burn Layer

Many photographic and Giclee prints need to be selectively lightened or darkened - a task commonly known in the darkroom as dodging and burning (lightening and darkening respectively). Photoshop comes with a dodge and a burn tool, but we rarely use them. They require a "bit" or content layer, such as the background, to work on and we don't ever like to touch the background layer. We also prefer a technique that is much more subtle and controllable than the dodge and burn tools.

Our strategy is to create a dodge and burn layer and to make all our such corrections to that layer. Here's how, step by step:

Create a new "bit" layer (Cmd/Cntrl-Shift-N) this layer must remain the top layer in your file
Fill that layer with 50% Gray by selecting Edit->Fill and choose 50% Gray from the "Use"
drop down menu
Go back to your new layer and change it's blending mode to "Soft Light" (look for the drop down menu in the upper left corner of the layers palette)
To darken the image, make your foreground color black, select the paintbrush tool with a soft edge and lower the opacity of the brush to somewhere around 10% (you will have to adjust this amount depending on your needs) - as you paint over the image with the black paintbrush, the image will become darker
To lighten the image, duplicate the previous step with a white paintbrush

You can now paint back and forth with a black and white paintbrush set to different opacities to lighten and darken your images with great control and subtlety. And you are not doing anything permanent to the underlying content in the background layer, so it's all completely reversible.