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In Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training, Jan Kabili highlights the key features of this comprehensive image organization and photo enhancement application. She shows how to correct and enhance photographs, and how to organize a growing collection of digital photos. The course also explains how to use photos in creative projects like photo books, calendars, and greeting cards, and how to share work online and in print. Exercise files accompany the course.
There is a trio of darkroom tools at the bottom of the toolbar in the Full Edit workspace. These tools are the Sponge tool, the Dodge tool and the Burn tool. The Sponge tool is used to desaturate or to saturate small areas of a photo. By default, the Sponge tool is set to Desaturate. So if what you want to do is intensify color, be sure to check the options bar for this tool before you use it. I'll leave it set to Desaturate for now and I'll move into the image and I'm going to click and drag over this area of the image and you can see that the color becomes just a little bit less saturated.
This tool works cumulatively. So each time that I click and drag, I remove a little more color. If I switch the tool from the Desaturate mode to the Saturate mode and then I come into another part of the image and drag, the color under my cursor gets a little more intense. Back in the toolbar, I'm going to switch to the Dodge tool. This tool can be used to lighten parts of an image. Before I use the tool, I'll visit the options bar. Here I can set the Range of tones that will be affected by the Dodge tool, Midtones, Highlights or Shadows.
I'll leave this set to Midtones. I can also vary the strength of the tool here from the Exposure option. I'll leave this at its default of 50% and then I'll move into the image and maybe I'll lighten the tip of this leaf by clicking and dragging over it. I'll make my brush tip smaller by pressing the Left Bracket key on the keyboard and I'll come right out to the tip of the leaf. Now if I go too far, like this, my only recourse is really to undo. So I'll press Ctrl+Z on the PC or Command+Z on the Mac to undo the last stroke.
Back in the toolbar, there is one more tool in this trio and that's the Burn tool. I can use the Burn tool to darken small areas of a photo. As with the Dodge tool, I can set the Range for the darken tool choosing between Shadows, Midtones and Highlights and I can set the Exposure too. I'll leave all that at its defaults and I'll move into the image and maybe I'll darken this leaf by clicking and dragging over it. Again, this tool is cumulative, so if I release my mouse and drag some more, I end up darkening it a bit more and if I don't like the results, again, I press Ctrl+Z on the PC or Command+Z on the Mac.
So when you want to tweak the color or the lighting of just small areas of a photo, consider using the Sponge tool, the Dodge tool or the Burn tool.
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