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A portrait can be a cherished possession for a lifetime, and now making perfect portraits is just one Photoshop course away. Professional photographer and instructor Chris Orwig uses his vast knowledge of Photoshop to focus on the specific tools every photographer needs to adjust images and keep them looking genuine. Photoshop CS4 Portrait Retouching Essential Training explores this program's deep resources and inspires photographers to do their creative best with everything from blemishes to backdrops. Exercise files accompany the course.
In the previous movie, we looked at how we could use this particular technique in order to dodge or to brighten different aspects of our photograph. What I want to do here is take a look at how we can use the same technique in order to darken areas of our photograph. So I'm going to go ahead and zoom out so we can see the image in its entirety. What I want to do is create a new layer. Shift+Command+N on a Mac, Shift+Ctrl+N on a PC. We are going to name this layer Burn or Darken because that's really what burning does. It darkens the pixels. Next, we will change our blend mode to good old Soft Light and then click OK.
Now, at this juncture, what we are going to do is navigate to Edit and choose Fill, and then fill with Blacks. Let's select Black and click OK. Now, of course if you know a shortcut to fill your layer with black, that would help out as well. The shortcut to fill with your foreground or your background color is as follows. If you press the D key to take it to your default colors and then hit the X key to flip these two, let's say so that black is in the foreground color. Well, to fill with black, on a Mac, that would be Option+Delete, on a PC, that's Alt+Delete or Alt+Backspace, in order to fill with that color. Or either way, we want to create a new layer that's filled with black.
Next, what I'm going to do is just make sure I'm on that blend mode of Soft Light. Yes, I am. Then we are going to click on the Add Layer Mask icon. Well, currently this mask is white revealing all of this darkening. Well interesting. Well, what would happen then if I were to grab my brush, and I were to paint with black at 100% Opacity, and make my brush really big. So I'll press the right-bracket key or you can always right-click or Ctrl-click, and you can change the size of your brush that way. Great. What would happen if I were to paint with black in different areas of my photograph, and make my brush perhaps even a little bit smaller? I have a little bit more of an irregular shape.
Well, now what I have done is I have successfully darkened the edges or the corners of this photograph. Let's take a look. Here is my before and then after. What's happening is the mask is allowing the darkening through where it's white around the edges. So in this case, we have this before and after. Sometimes you want to have a real intense effect like that, other times real subtle. All that this is doing is redirecting where the viewer is looking. I'll crank this up a little bit, so you can see more of its intensity, and I'll press Command+J on a Mac, Ctrl+J on a PC to double the effect. Here is our before and after.
The only reason I'm doing that is just to highlight how this is actually working. Now, the nice thing about this is we have complete control especially because we are doing this with the mask. In this case, we can really control the mask. Now, I don't necessarily need these two layers, but it's kind of fun to be able to see how we can double that up and intensify the effect. We could of course lower the Opacity of one or both of those layers. Again, just so we are getting a little bit of that darkening effect and it kind of goes around the face, keeps our focus in the middle of the frame. Now, we can do things like this in regards to dodging as well. Now, remember when we did our dodging, it was in specific areas, and if we zoom-in, we're brightening up specific areas of the face.
Well, let's say that we just wanted to brighten up the face in general right in here. Well, let's try that. Shift+ Command+N on a Mac, Shift+Ctrl+N on a PC, Soft Light, we will do another dodge layer or brighten, and click OK. Then here I'm going to paint with white, real big brush at 100%. I'm just going to hit this a few times right on the face here. So just click a couple of times. Now, the color looks a little bit strange. It doesn't look very nice, but if I take this down let's say to 10% Opacity or something like that, here is my before and after. Again, I'm just illuminating that face a little bit. Here's our overall before and then our after.
A very different photograph, but we made some subtle adjustments. So as you can see, you can use this technique of creating the new layer, changing your blend mode to Soft Light, and then brightening or darkening your photograph in some real unique ways. The more that you can pick up in regards to burning and dodging or brightening and darkening tones, the better your overall retouching will be. Well, let's take one final look. Here is our overall before and then after. Nice work on that one. I'll catch you in the next movie.
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