Friday, November 7, 2008

Dodging & Burning Tutorial

Ever take a really great photo, except for the part that is either too dark, or blown out... like this:

This is my friend Cassie's photo of her son. I'm sure a lot of beach photos turn out like this because of the sun. Cassie ran some actions on this to spruce up the color, but wasn't happy with the harsh shadow cast on his shirt. Cassie had asked if anyone had any ideas for fixing this. Some had suggested using the clone tool, which technically could work, but might take forever and a day.

There is an under used tool in photoshop called the “dodge and burn” tool. Works great for over exposed and blown out areas.

When I took photography back in art school BC (before computers), when you wanted to dodge and burn a photo, you did it the old fashioned way while you were "burning" the photo into the photopaper. You would insert your negative into the enlarger, turn the light on, figure out the placement and the size you want to print (any cropping happened here as well). You would then turn the light off, place your piece of photopaper in the holder, turn the light on and expose your negative to the paper. The light would "burn" the image into the paper. If you saw any areas that were too dark, you would hold your hand over the paper to block the light or “dodge” it, or cover up areas and let the light be exposed more to “burn” and make other areas darker.

The dodge and burn tool in photoshop simulates this.

Using the photo above, I found it easier to dodge rather than burn. The burn was making things too dark. Select your dodge tool:

Select a rather large brush size:

You may also want to play with the exposure a bit:
Now, just take the tool, hover over the area where you want to dodge, and click. That's it, it's that simple. Just click and adjust the tools as you go. You may need to make the brush slightly larger or smaller.

Here is the end result... pretty nifty, eh?

Here's a side by side comparison.

This took me about 5 minutes. If you spend a little more time, you could retain the detail in the shirt.

Just wanted to mention that I have a new blog header.... isn't it cute? My hubby drew the owl and trees, and I placed it all together in illustrator. I have one all ready to go for winter, too. I'm a happy girl!!

Have a happy weekend!!


Sandy/tx-nana-scraps said...

Love your new header, so cute!
Wow, thanks for the tutorial using the dodge and burn tools. That sounds easy. I'll have to try it myself. Thanks!

angie worthington said...

awesome blog header!...

noel joy said...

great tutorial chris. :D

PattiM said...

Thanks for the tutorial, Chris. Never used that tool... Will be great to use. Love your header. It's really cute. Can't wait to see the winter one...


(Pattie's passion)

I Scrap So All Moments ARe Remembered!!!

Debbie Gaydos said...

Thanks for the great tutorial! I've never quite completely understood how to use the dodge and burn tools, but I'll definitely give it a try now!

Veronica said...

Thanks Chris! Starting to use more and more tools to better my pictures! I used to just "accept" my shots.

Amy L said...

I love this tool! And the connection to film photography is awesome. Thanks Chris!

Kate said...

thanks that was helpful!

Colleen said...

Fantastic tutorial. Thanks!

sssalad said...

I enjoy your PS tutorials - thanks for sharing them with us! Oh - and your blog header is pretty cute!
Now - off to Michaels to check out those punches. (thanks a lot!!! LOL)

inara said...

that is a pretty cool trick!!!

value homes said...

Thanks for the tutorial...!!!!This article will be very much helpfull for the upcoming photographers.