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In Photoshop CS6 for Photographers, author, photographer, and teacher Chris Orwig explores Photoshop from the perspective of the photographer.
The course details the features and techniques behind enhancing and retouching photos, preparing them for print and online publishing, and much more. Chris demonstrates how to make basic edits in Camera Raw, develop and save color profiles, work with layers and selections, tone and sharpen, and retouch images while retaining their natural character.
Chris also shares some creative tips and project ideas, such as converting a photo to black-and-white and enhancing a portrait with hand-painted masks. The course also covers workflow details, such as organizing images in Bridge and Mini Bridge, optimizing Photoshop preferences, and calibrating your monitor.
So far in this chapter, I've shared with you a few techniques that you can use for burning and dodging, or darkening and brightening. And primarily, we've worked on photographs of people. Yet here what I want to do is turn our attention to working on a landscape photograph; in this case, a black and white picture, and I want to share with you an extension of a technique that we've already learned so that you can kind of have the best of both worlds or the best of two different techniques. So this particular technique starts off with a shortcut. You'll want to write this shortcut down because it's important.
It's Shift+Command+N on a Mac or Shift+Ctrl+N on Windows. This allows you to create a new layer. Let's name this new layer burn and dodge. What we'll do here is change the Blending mode to Soft Light. Now so far, this is nothing new; we've done this before, a new layer in Soft Light Blending mode. Yet what's new here is we're going to now fill this layer with a Soft-Light-neutral color which is 50% gray. Let's go ahead and click on that option and then click OK. Well, just for demo purposes in my Layers panel if I take this Blending mode back to Normal, you can see I just have a gray layer here.
Well, let's go back to Soft Light. Why are we doing this? Well, we're doing this so that we can use our Burn and Dodge tools on this layer. Let me show you what I mean. Well, here we'll navigate over to our Burn and Dodge tools and what I want to do is first start off with Dodge. I'll dodge Midtones, I want to decrease my Exposure here, something less than 50%, and I want to go ahead and decrease my Brush Size as well. Well, now that I've done that, I'm going to go ahead and paint over this path and I'll just do this multiple times here. And as I do this, you can see that I'm starting to brighten this up.
Well, how is this working? Well, this is working because we're painting on this Soft Light layer. And if you look at the Soft Light layer closely, what you'll see is these different brush strokes which I made. Let me go ahead and make a few more and then we'll take a look at it. Also, I'm going to increase my Exposure here a little bit by clicking over the name and using the scrubby sliders, and I'm going to do that just to add a little bit more of a brightening effect here or to make this happen a bit more quickly, so that you can really see how this can work and how we can start to build this up.
Now one of the things I'm thinking about as I'm making these adjustments is that I want to control the way someone views this picture. I want to add a little bit of drama and I want to do so by burning and dodging. So let me make just a few more brush strokes and then let's take a look at this layer. Well, here with this layer, if we take this back to that Blending mode of Normal, what we can now see is that we've made some areas which are brighter. And by having those areas here on Soft Light, what that's done for us is that's helped us to brighten up this path.
We can then use this technique on other areas of our photograph as well. Here I'll decrease the Exposure quite a bit, and then with the same tool and a little bit smaller brush size, I'm going to brighten up the hillside. Brighten up some of the highlights that I'm seeing in the photograph. I'm also going to try to create little bit of directional line here in a few places, so I'll go through both sides of the image looking for how I want to direct the viewer. Again, this image is really about trying to draw someone down that path, and so I'm trying to create some brightness values which will do that.
I'll go ahead and work on the hillsides as well here, just a touch. I'm also trying to increase a little bit or create a little bit of visual drama. Well, now that we've made these adjustments, the next thing I want to do is the opposite. Here we'll go to the Burn tool. With the Burn tool, I'm going to work on my Midtones, decrease my Exposure, and then start to paint over the areas that I want to darken; in this case, the center and the sides of the path. And you'll notice that really what I'm doing here is I'm just trying to look at how I can create some sort of shape with the image and just paint over this so that it's not just completely flat.
Well, what about the sky? What could we do there? Well, with the sky, if we zoom out for a minute, we can see it just looks kind of flat. Well, with this tool, we could change our Range to Shadows and here I'll press the Right Bracket key to make my brush bigger. I'm going to go ahead and paint over the sky. As I'm doing this, you can see it's darkening up a little bit. Let's increase the Exposure so that this is even more dramatic and so that we can see this more quickly. What I'm interested in doing in the sky is really just darkening this all up.
So I'm making really big brushstrokes, press the Right or Left Bracket key in order to change your brush size, and I'm looking to try to just add a ton of drama up there. So again, I'm just going through the image and painting over the sky here. Careful not to paint away any of my other adjustments and also to try to make these mostly smooth. So I'm trying to have these smooth, long brushstrokes over this area so it's really consistent. Well, by making these adjustments and these brushstrokes, you can see that we've really changed to overall image.
Here is our before, and now after. The one problem I have with my photograph is that my brushstrokes, they're a little bit too identifiable. To soften those up, we can do what we've done before. Go to the Filter pulldown menu, choose Blur, and Gaussian Blur, and what we're looking for here is a Gaussian Blur amount which just kind of hides the edges of those brushstrokes. You want to look at your preview of your before and after to make sure it's not softening things so much that it's ruining the effect that you created, but it's enhancing it.
So here it looks like just a couple of pixels works well. Then we'll click OK. Now let's say that we decided that we've made a mistake. Well, how can we erase something on a layer like this? Well, you can erase something by choosing your Brush tool. Then in your Color Picker, if you choose or enter a value of 50% for the Brightness, you can click OK. And then with this tool all the way up at 100% here, you can go ahead and paint over an area that you want to erase.
Let's say that I want to erase part of this hillside here, this brightening effect. Well, I can just paint over it and you can see how I can remove that. In my painting with 50% gray on a Soft Light layer, what that does is essentially remove any effect which we've added in. The other advantage of doing this is that we can now paint with also black or white. If I paint with black, and here let me decrease the Opacity a bit so it's not quite so harsh, you can see that what I'm doing is I'm darkening this area. Now again, that was a little bit too much, so I'll go back to my 50% Brightness value.
Here we'll click or enter 50. In the next, I'll increase the Opacity and then go ahead and make my brush bigger and you can see how I can remove that darkening effect. And so what we can do is we can either use our Burn or Dodge tools, or we can simply paint with black or white in order to darken or brighten our image. And here I'm just darkening this back up not using one of my tools, Burn or Dodge, but rather using that technique which we learned previously, painting with white or black.
Here we can also brighten up the path as well by painting with white in these areas. So in a sense, this particular technique, it gives us the best of both worlds. We're able to either use the tools or we're able to use this technique of painting with one of these tones. And here I'm just making a few final adjustments, I'm getting a little carried away just because this is really a lot of fun in regards to a change in the way someone looks at your photograph. Well, at this point, enough is enough. I'm going to decrease my Opacity just a touch here in order to soften that a little bit, and then let's evaluate.
Here we have that before and now after. And in looking at this there's one thing that's bothered me a little bit. What I'm going to do is go back to my 50% Brightness value here and I want to paint away some of this adjustment on this path. So I'll go ahead and just paint that back a little. I think that became too dark, too much of a defined line there. And when you're burning and dodging, it really is an art and craft. You're trying to control the drama, the interest, the brightness values of all of these different tones.
And enclosing by using some of these techniques and tools which we've learned in this chapter and by practicing a little bit with these, what you can do is come up with some really fascinating results as you can see here. All right! Well, let's take a look at this one more time. Here's our overall before, and now our after.
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