Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the new brushes in a photographic workflow, part of Photoshop and Bridge CS5 for Photographers New Features.
New to Photoshop CS5 is the ability to choose brushes which have completely different types of tips. Now these different brushes can be used for some real creative purposes, say to turn a photograph into a painting. Yet for photography for the most part, we're going to take advantage of these brushes when we're doing things like masking, or working on retouching, or burning, or dodging. So, let's take a look at how we can actually use these particular brushes in a little bit of a functional way. Well, for starters, I'm going to go ahead and press the B key or click on the Brush tool here in the Tools panel.
Next, I'll go to the Options bar. Here we can see that we have a whole new set of brushes. What we can do is click on one of these brushes, and then click out of this panel. You can see that this is showing me the angle of the brush and giving me a little bit of a preview of how this might look. Well, I can click on this top bar and reposition this, or I can move to an even smaller view if this gets distracting. I can also close this altogether by clicking on the X key. Well, let's make this a little bit bigger. What I want to do is have a few more controls with this brush here.
So, I'm going to go ahead and open up this panel here, which allows me to really dial into my different brush settings. Now as you can see here, there are a number of different types of brushes. As we click though these different brushes, we get a bit of a preview of these down below. We can change these settings in order to control how this brush will actually paint and how it will interact as we make different types of brush strokes. What I'm interested in doing is trying to find a brush that I think might work in regards to burning and dodging with this particular image.
So, I'm going to go ahead and look for a brush that might work, for example, like this Flat Angle Brush. In this case, what I'm going to try to do is reduce the Thickness there a little bit and also change the Angle just a touch. This brush has a nice fluidity to it. Let me show you what I mean. I'll go ahead and click on New layer icon, and simply make a few brush strokes here. Why don't I do this in the background over here, and you can kind of see how this travels there. It has just a nice kind of trail off and a little bit of a natural bend to it. That can work well when we're burning and dodging, because the brush isn't completely uniform or consistent.
Well, let's delete this layer. Now that we know how this brush works, let's say that what we want to do is we want to add a little bit of dimension to this photograph. Let's go ahead and close this panel, and then let's click on the Adjustment layer icon here and choose Curves. Now with Curves, what I'm going to do is go ahead and just darken this up a little bit and then invert my mask. I can do so by going to the Masks panel and clicking on Invert. Next, I'll make my brush smaller by pressing the left bracket key. All that I'm interested in doing is just starting to paint in a little bit of these shadows. Now I'm going to paint in these shadows in a way that's a little bit too dramatic here, but I'm going to do this to kind of exaggerate or show you how you could start to work with this tool in order to perhaps add a little bit of dimension to this photograph.
You can kind of see how I get these really nice, fluid brush strokes here. I'm going to go ahead and just make my way around the image, adding a few of these little brush strokes in a couple of different areas of the photograph, and just looking to try to bring out some of the shadows that are already there. All right. Well, now that I have that, what my next step, of course, is going to be to soften these brush strokes out quite a bit. I can do so by going to the Feather control on my Masks, and here all I'm going to do is simply increase this, so that these brush strokes become just really, really subtle.
Let's look at our before and after. Here is before and then after. All right. Well, that's our burning. What about dodging? We'll click on the Adjustment layer icon, choose Curves. Here we'll go ahead and brighten this up a little bit and also add a touch of Red here and then perhaps a little bit of Magenta and also a little bit of Yellow. So, this is really nice because you can control the tone or the color of how you're actually burning and dodging. In this case, I'm just going to try to find a nice sweet spot for this tone, and then invert my mask. Go to Masks and here choose Invert. All right.
Well, next, we'll go ahead and make sure we're painting with white. This time, all that we want to do is just paint over these highlight areas. We want to try to follow this the way that the light is traveling here. I'm going to go ahead and paint into these areas. As you know, what we're going to do eventually is really blur this out. So, why then use this type of the Brush? What this can do for us is give us from the get-go brush strokes that are a little bit more fluid. They're little bit more following the way light actually works and travels and whatnot. So, again, I'm just going to go ahead and make my way through here, working on highlights and bringing those out just a little bit here.
Next step, go to Feather this out and we'll increase this Feather amount. Now as we do that, that's looking really nice except the color isn't very good. Double-click the Curves Adjustment. Here what I'm going to do is go back to that Red channel, and I'm going to pull out some of that Red. I'm going to the Blue-Yellow channel and bring up some of the Yellow there. It'll make those a little bit more golden in this case. Let's just see if we can have a good, nice, golden point on those. Then, of course, the RGB Composite mode, and then we can brighten them up a bit more.
Here we have our before and then after, adding a bit of dimension to this photograph. Let's take a look at the overall before and after. We can do so by holding on the Option key, then clicking on Eye icon of our Background layer. Here we have before and then after. So, along the way, while we learned a little bit about these brushes, we also learned a nice trick about burning and dodging, which you can use. That is simply using a Curves adjustment and then creating a mask to bring tone into specific areas.
But most importantly, what I'm trying to do here is just show you one of many different ways, how these brushes can actually be relevant to photographers, in particular, how these brushes can help us make adjustments to specific areas of our photographs. All right. Well, let's go ahead and zoom in on this image all the way so we can actually see our before and after a little bit more clearly. Here we have it, the final before and then the after.
- Browsing and opening files from Mini Bridge
- Adding custom watermarks to photos
- Performing content-aware healing
- Sharpening, reducing noise, and adding film grain in Adobe Camera Raw
- Editing styles and effects on multiple layers at once
- Selecting with a smart radius
- Applying the HDR Toning adjustment
- Making lens corrections to adjust for distortion
- Auto straightening a photograph