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The improved toning tools

From: Photoshop CS4 New Features

Video: The improved toning tools

Next on our list of enhancements to Photoshop CS4 are the dramatically improved toning tools, by which I mean, this trio right here, Dodge, Burn and Sponge. Sponge has just been slightly improved, but Dodge and Burn have been so thoroughly overhauled as to make them extraordinarily useful. I mean, really the old tools pale by comparison, and let me show you what I mean. I'm going to go ahead and select the Dodge tool, and I'm working inside of this image from photographer Dustin Stellar of iStockPhoto.com, and let's say that I want to go ahead and lighten up some of the shadow details here, almost as if we've had a reflector card, or some sort of alternative light source except for just the sun. This is this is completely sunlit. And in the old days this is how the tool would behave.

The improved toning tools

Next on our list of enhancements to Photoshop CS4 are the dramatically improved toning tools, by which I mean, this trio right here, Dodge, Burn and Sponge. Sponge has just been slightly improved, but Dodge and Burn have been so thoroughly overhauled as to make them extraordinarily useful. I mean, really the old tools pale by comparison, and let me show you what I mean. I'm going to go ahead and select the Dodge tool, and I'm working inside of this image from photographer Dustin Stellar of iStockPhoto.com, and let's say that I want to go ahead and lighten up some of the shadow details here, almost as if we've had a reflector card, or some sort of alternative light source except for just the sun. This is this is completely sunlit. And in the old days this is how the tool would behave.

If I turn off the Protect Tones check box, which you definitely do not want to turn off on a regular basis; it's just here to show you how bad the tool used to be, and then I increase the size of the brush a little bit by pressing the right bracket key and then I will drag over the shadows, and gosh! Looks like she got hit on her face with some chalk or something like that. Doesn't look like a natural lightening effect at all. I will go ahead and undo that modification. Now compare that to turning Protect Tones on, and I can drag over these details now. I'm enhancing the saturation as I drag over them, but this is looking nice. This is actually looking very, very nice.

And I'm doing this all with one continuous drag at the outset and then I can go back and follow up in some areas with additional drags. Now I never would have played with an image like this with the Dodge tool. I never would have hit it more than ten times like I'm doing right now, in the old days. Because you just would have damaged the image, but in this case, I'm probably going too far with it just to make my point, but we can get away with a relative amount of pixel murder here. I mean, my exposure is set to 50%. I never would have done that in the old days.

All right, now let's try out the Burn tool. I'm going to go ahead and switch over the Burn like so, and I will increase the size of my brush, once again by pressing the right square bracket key. And old days, turn off Protect Tones, drag over image. Oh my gosh. I used to joke that this was the George Hamilton tool for I think fairly obvious reasons. I will go ahead and undo that modification. Turn Protect Tones back on, and never turn it off again. I'm actually going to reduce the Exposure value to 30% by pressing the 3 key, just because Burn is a little more aggressive than Dodge is, and then I'm going to drag over some of these shadows. Now don't worry that the saturation may be diminished or may be changing on you in some way or the other, because we can always solve those kinds of problems using the Sponge tool. I'm going to go ahead and make my cursor much bigger, and drag over her arm, and then maybe drag over this region over the neck and down here. So I'm just hitting the highlights and then I'm going to go ahead and zoom out.

I'm going to raise the Exposure to 100% by pressing the zero key and I'm going to drag inside of the sky, like so. Actually you know what? That's not quite enough, I don't think. So I'm going to hit it a second time with a larger brush, and I will just drag over that sky again. So I wouldn't honestly work this dramatically on a regular basis, but I'm just trying to make the point that this tool, it's almost a no damage tool. It's just that you can't invoke the kind of damage that you could and almost always did in the old days.

All right, let's switch back to the Dodge tool here, so I can hit some of these details that I over-darkened. So here I'm really working sloppy, right? I'm dodging these areas that I just got through burning, how dangerous is that, and yet the image is holding up quite nicely, and then finally I will go ahead and grab this Sponge tool, so that I can address some of the saturation issues. Now by default, this tool is set up to Desaturate, of course, just like in the old days, and it has Vibrance turned on. So instead of working with Saturation as in Photoshop CS3 and earlier, it's working with Vibrance. So it's changing the saturation of the colors that need their saturation changed most, is basically what that comes down to you.

So I'm going to start by desaturating and now in the old days, you would desaturate the burned areas and you would saturate the dodged areas. That equation is completely backwards now. Now you desaturate your dodged areas, because they are the ones that are going to get overly saturated, but not that much. I will go ahead and undo that modification and reduce the Flow value to 10% by pressing the 1 key. So you desaturate your dodged areas. That's looking better. And then you will go ahead and increase the saturation of your burned areas. So just the opposite of the way it was in the past.

All right, so now I will go and switch over to Saturate, and then I will drag over this forehead, which had been diminished a little bit, and I will drag over the chin and so on, inside the image. Also these shoulders I think could use a little bit of extra saturation, and gosh, you know, as long as I'm at it, why don't I just really hit that sky. Let's restore the Flow value to 50% by hitting the 5 key and then I will really go for very blue sky. Completely over the top effect, but for a purpose. Now to get a sense of what we have accomplished here, I will press the F12 key in order to revert the image. So that's the before version of the image. That's the after version. It is as if we're crafting an HDR portrait. We can just bring out so much detail inside the image. Thanks to these dramatically improved toning tools.

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Photoshop CS4 New Features

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Deke McClelland
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