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As I mentioned previously, burning and dodging is about brightening or darkening different aspects of our image. A lot of times when we burn and dodge, what we are doing is affecting the overall image density as well as the image contrast. But what I want to do in this movie is give you a little bit of a bonus tip for a way that you can extend what you know about burning and dodging into another area of contrast. And this particular technique, while it isn't pure burn and dodge, what it is is taking a look at how we can apply the same type of burn and dodge thinking to contrast in order to make some really strong and good improvements to our photographs.
Well again, I want to work on a color in a black-and-white image so that we can see how this works in both contexts. Let's start out by working on this photograph over here and let's zoom in on the image a little bit, then first what I want to do is take a look at how we can gain contrasts with a blend mode, and it won't work very well, and then we'll take a look at how we can make it even better. Well let's copy the Background layer and when we copy the Background layer, we'll now have another version of the image. If we change our blend mode to Soft Light by selecting that in the Blending Mode pulldown menu, we all of a sudden have an image with really deep blacks and really bright whites.
So the problem is it went a little bit too far. Look at our before and then our after. So of course the question is wouldn't it be nice if there would be a way to do this it would be a little bit more subtle? Well, let me show you how we can do it. Let's delete this layer. Next, what we are going to do is go into our Channels panel and we're actually going to activate the Red channel. We are going to load the luminance value of that channel. We can do so by pressing the Command key on a Mac, Ctrl key on a PC and then clicking on the Red channel.
Next, we'll go back to our Layers panel and here what we are going to do is copy all of the selected information to the layer. You can do that by pressing Command+J on a Mac or Ctrl+J on a PC. Now if I turn off the visibility of my Background layer what we are going to see is we just have this kind of outline of the image, just a little bit of the photograph. So what's interesting is we can take this little bit of the photograph and then use a blend mode, in this case of Soft Light, and here you can see what's happened is I was able to add contrast to my before, and now my after, to a very specific area of the image, and it didn't muck up my black so much.
So my blacks didn't become a big mess. And the nice thing about this of course is what we can do here is we can always lower our Opacity in order to find the sweet spot, and it's just a really nice and interesting way to add a subtle yet sometimes really helpful contrast boost for our photographs. Let's take a look at how this will work on the other image. If you go to your Window pulldown menu, you can select the other file so that we can focus in on this color image. Well once again, let's go to the Channels panel. Command+Click or Ctrl+Click on the Red channel. Go back to Layers.
Let's copy this information to a new layer, Command+J. So now that we have this new information we'll go to our pulldown menu here for our Bblending modes and choose Soft Light. And again, it's subtle. Let's zoomed in so you can see it, but it's really nice. Here we have our before and then our after. In contrast, had we simply copied the full Background layer and used the Soft Light blend mode, watch what would happen. Well, it's a little bit too intense. Well, that being said, sometimes what is nice to do is is to have one layer where you have this real nice subtle contrast and then perhaps another layer that's a little bit stronger, but here what you could do is lower the Opacity, so you could build up the contrast just as you wanted, using these two different layers in order to come up with just the right amount of contrast.
So keep in mind that while I share this technique, really it's just a starting point. It's kind of a recipe which you can follow, but then of course you can always experiment with and see how you can combine this technique with some of the other techniques that we know. In particular, this type of contrast works really well. If we are going to burn and dodge corners or edges, we can use this in combination with that in order to come up with some really stunning results.
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