In the next two movies, I want to take a look at a couple of unique techniques that we can use in order to improve these two photographs. I want to work on these two images, because one is in color and one is in black and white. Well, let's start off with the image on the left. Let's say that what I want to do is I want to darken the edge of my image in order to add a little bit of drama. In other words, I want to burn down some of the edge details here. Well, in order to do that, all that we need to do is to create a new layer. We can do so by clicking on the New Layer icon, or even faster, we can press Shift+Command+N on a Mac, Shift+Ctrl+N on a PC.
Name the layer, and then change its blend mode to Soft Light, and then go ahead and click OK. Well, now that we have this new layer, all that we need to do is to grab our Brush tool and what we're going to do is just start to paint around these edges here and you can see that I'm darkening these areas up here, just trying to create a little bit of a drama. I'll press the 3 key to go to 30%, because I want to darken this area up a little bit less in the road, a little bit less over there. All right, again, as always, a lot of times what you're going to want to do is you're going to want to have some brush strokes, and then soften those up a little bit.
You can do so by going to Filter > Blur and then Gaussian Blur. Again, I'm just going to add a little bit of softness to these brush strokes here. If I move this around, you can see how my brush strokes vary. In this case, let's try to find one that we can really see here. We can soften that out a bit by increasing that Radius amount. Click OK. All right. Well, we have here our before and then our after. Well, again, the nice thing about this is this is really flexible. We can lower the Opacity of this layer, or, if there's an area we darkened too much, like in my opinion this right side is too dark. Up top is too dark.
Well, no big deal. Simply click Add Layer Mask, go ahead, in this case we're going to paint with black, and I'll paint with a high amount of black there. I'm just going to limit that darkening effect to those areas, because I went too far. I was a little bit too, let's say, burn-happy there. All right. Well, now let's look at our before and after. Here we have that before and then after, really bringing the focus to the center of the frame. All right. Well, let's go over to this next image and do the same thing. Let's create a new layer by way of a shortcut. Shift+Command+N on a Mac.
That's Shift+Ctrl+N on a PC. Let's name this layer burn. Blend mode goes to Soft Light. What we're trying to do here is just bring focus to the subject or to a particular area of the image. So here, I'm going to grab my brush, paint with black.a this time, I'm going to go to lower Opacity. I'll press 5 to go to 50%. I'm just going to start to paint over a few areas in the image and it's not just the edges, of course, but I'm going to really target those, just trying to bring down some of these different details here.
Bring a little bit more into the subject. Make my way through the frame here. You can see I'm being a little bit more generous on this image, really to bring the focus into the subject here. Let's click on the before and after. Here's before, and then here's after. We want to go to our Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. I always like to blur my brush strokes out, even when I'm using a Wacom tablet. I just like to have that little bit of extra blending or softness to the brush. I think it looks much better. All right. Well, in this case, you can see we've improved both of these images in really distinct and different ways.
We can see how this works on both color and black-and-white photographs. Now there may be times when you're going to want a more defined edge. Now, in those cases, what we can do is this. Let's try it on this image. Press Shift+Command+N on a Mac, Shift+Ctrl+N on a PC. Let's call this burn - edge. Here what I'm going to do is grab my Marquee tool. Make a marquee selection around the middle of the image. Next, right-click or Ctrl+Click, and add some feathering here.
We'll add, let's say, 5 pixels of feathering. Click OK. Now, what we want to do is invert the selection. We'll do so by going to Select and choosing Inverse. Now, let's fill this little edge or border with black. Edit > Fill and we'll choose Black and click OK. Well, now here we have this nice dark edge around our image. Let's go to Select and Deselect, so we can really see that. Next step, let's take this to our good, old blend mode of Soft Light.
We'll choose Soft Light. Here you can see I have this darkening effect around the perimeter of the image. Now, I can of course blend this out, right? I can soften it up a bit. We'll do so by going to Filter > Blur and Gaussian Blur. In Gaussian Blur, I can increase this however much I want, so that I have little bit more perhaps of kind of a vignetting effect, a little more subtle or a little less subtle depending on the amount. Here's our overall before and then after. I wanted to show this technique just to get you thinking about how you can use this in so many different ways. Hand-painting this in around the image, into particular areas of the photograph, or for that matter, combining a little bit of a darker edge around the entirety of the image, and also adding to that your other burning and dodging.
So you can stack these up, yet sometimes when you stack them up, you just want to be careful that you may need to lower your Opacity perhaps in order to build that effect up. But as you can see, you can start to add some interesting artistic effects to your photographs by using this burn and dodge technique.
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