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Burning and dodging is all about brightening or darkening different areas of our photograph. There actually are a handful of different techniques that we can use to burn and dodge. What I want to do is show you here yet another technique, which can be really helpful, because it adds a little bit more flexibility to how we burn and dodge. Well, let's zoom in on the image a little bit and first let's deconstruct how this technique works. I'm going to go ahead and create a new layer. I'm going to name this layer burn and dodge. Next thing I'm going to do is I'm going to go ahead and grab my Brush tool.
Then I'm going to paint on this layer with black or white. Make my brush a little bit smaller here, but you'll notice as I paint with black we can see this black stripe, and then now I'll paint with white next to this and we'll have a white stripe. Now that we have these two areas on the image, let's take this to a blend mode of Soft Light. Now when we take to a blend mode of Soft Light, you can see that the black darkened and the white brightened, just like burning and dodging works. Well, the interesting this about this is that if we go back, let's say, to our Normal blend mode, if we add a little bit of a color shift either into the brightening, let's do that over here, or for that matter into the darkening effect, and this time we'll add perhaps a dark red over here, what we can do is we can actually burn and dodge, and have a little bit of a hue shift.
Let me show you what I mean. When I take this now to the blend mode of Soft Light, you can see here that while this is darkening, rather than darkening the black, it's darkening to this deep red. While this is brightening over here, rather than brightening to white, you can see it's brightening to a little bit of a red shift. Let me grab the Move tool and move these around a little bit, so you can see them in some different areas. Again, you can see how I'm either darkening over here or brightening over here with white or with this bright red, or with black, darkening, or with this other color.
Again, you can see how this is affecting different areas of the image in different ways. The interesting thing about that is what we can do is some pretty elaborate burning and dodging. All right. Well, how then can we begin to tap into the power of this technique? Let's go ahead and delete this layer and start over. The first thing we want to do is a new layer, and we'll name this new layer burn and dodge. Next, we want to take this to a blend mode of Soft Light, and then we want to target an area that we're going to work on.
In this case, I want to work on the eyes. I'll grab my Brush tool. What I'm going to do is simply paint with white. I want to lower the opacity, typically, you want a pretty low opacity, and make my brush a little bit smaller here. I'm just going to go ahead and start to paint over these shadow areas. I'm looking to try to make some subtle improvements. It's not going to be anything huge, but I just want to bring a little bit more light into this area of the face. You can see that as I paint more brush strokes, I can brighten this up more and more.
There are a lot of retouchers who actually retouch completely with this technique. This is how they'll remove wrinkles. This is how they'll do most of their work. All right. Well, so far so good. I'm simply brightening up these areas. It looks a little awkward, but let's look at our before and after. Here we have before and then after. It looks a little awkward, because my brush strokes aren't very good. So what I need to do is go to Filter > Blur and then choose Gaussian Blur. What Gaussian Blur will do for me as we can see here's my before and after.
Let me zoom in a little closer here, so you can see that. Here we have before and then after. It really just smoothes all of these brush strokes out. Let's click OK. Now, look at our before and after. Here we have before and then after. It's a little bit too high, so I'll lower my Opacity as well. Again, just bringing a little bit of light into that area of the image, it looks that much better. All right. Well, how else can we use this? Well, let's say that in another area of the photograph, we notice that this is a little bit too bright up here on the helmet. Well, I'll click on the Background layer, grab the Quick Select tool, and I'm going to simply paint over the white of the helmet.
Well, now that I have all of that selected, what I can do is create a new layer and this one, because I know I'm just going to be burning, I'll just name this burn. Then I'm going to grab my Brush tool and I'm going to paint with black. What I'm interested in doing is I'm going to paint with black over this area of the helmet, because I want to then darken this up. So I'm just going to paint this in here. You can see how I'm building that up a little bit. Next, I'm going to take this to a blend mode of Soft Light. All right.
Well, let's see how this looks. Let's go to Select and choose Deselect so we can actually see what's happened here. Well, if we look at the image, we can see here's our before. Let's zoom in again, and then once again here's our after. So, I was really able to successfully darken this helmet up without going too far. Now this image will print much better, because this white was too bright to really reproduce this. The nice thing about this is if ever there's too much of this layer, well, I can simply create a layer mask.
Grab my Brush tool, in this case paint with black, and I'll go ahead and increase the Opacity here so we can see how this works. I'm just going to remove the darkening effect from the lower area down here. I don't need that. Really just up top. So now, it's just darkening down these brighter tones that were a little too blown- out. All right. Well, let's zoom out and look at our overall before and after with this burn and dodge technique. We can look at the before and after by Option+Clicking or Alt+Clicking on the eye icon of the background layer. Here we have it, before and now after.
Now keep in mind that this technique is actually really quite powerful. So what you're going to want to do is start experimenting with it, and the best way to experiment is to simply create a new layer, change the blend mode to Soft Light, and then just to begin to paint with different colors and also with different shades of gray, or of course with black and white.
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