Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Dodging and reducing shadows in a portrait, part of Photoshop CC for Photographers: Intermediate.
Let's continue to talk about how we can Burn and Dodge our photographs. And here, let's build upon what we have already discussed. How we can create a new layer and change that layer Blending Mode to Soft Light and then paint in order to brighten or darken our photograph. Well, in this movie, I want to really focus in on working with a color image. And I want to share with you a few techniques which are especially helpful when you have a color photograph. For this project, we'll be creating three different layers in order to work on it. Now, this is a picture that I captured in one of my other lynda.com training courses.
And this is how the image appeared right out of the camera. Yet, what I want to do is modify it a little bit. I'm interested in darkening the background and then brightening up this area of the picture. So, to do that, we'll create three different layers. Let's create the first layer by pressing Shift+Cmd+N on a Mac or Shift+Ctrl+N on Windows. And I'll name this new layer background, because this is going to be the layer which'll allow me to darken the background. Here we'll change our Blending Mode to Soft Light, then click OK. Now, when we start to work with color images, we can Burn or Dodge with black or white. Yet we can also Burn or Dodge with a color that we have in the photograph. Let me show you what I mean.
Here select your Brush tool, next rather than using black or white here what I want you to do is to position your cursor over an area, where you can sample a good color. Like I want to sample the color of the shadow up here. To do that, hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt on Windows and then click. Notice that, that allowed you to temporarily select the Eyedropper tool and then sample this color. If we click on the color chip now, we can see that we sampled a nice, dark brown. We can even darken that up a little bit more if we want to.
Now of course you could always select black, yet what I find is when you select black or white, it can change the color of the image a little bit. So, sometimes it's nice to Burn or Dodge with a dark color or with a bright color. In this case, obviously because I want to darken the background, I'll use a nice dark brown which sort of matches the color palette that we have here. Next click OK. Then of course we want to lower our opacity so, go ahead and decrease the opacity. I'll bring this down to about 30% or so, then I want to increase my brush size.
Here I'll press the right bracket key to do so. Then I'm just going to start to paint. And in painting over this area because I have the soft light blending mode turned on, it's allowing me to darken this up. I'll just go ahead and paint over on this side as well. We can even get away with painting up some other areas too. Make the brush a little bit smaller, as we get closer to the subject. So, I want to make sure that I don't darken up the subject at all. And again, just clicking and painting over all this. It's always kind of difficult to talk and to do this at the same time, because I'm trying to focus on the task at hand as well as explain what's happening.
But I think you get the gist of how we're doing this. Again, just painting across this area. If we click on this, you can see here is the before and then now here is the after. One of the problems with my brush strokes is that they are a little bit choppy. We can smooth that out by navigating to the Filter pull-down menu, then you choose Blur then select Gaussian Blur. Whenever you're painting brush strokes with a mouse like I'm doing here, this can really help out to sort of smooth those out. So, I'll just increase the radius a bit, which in turn will make all of my brush strokes much softer. Next click OK in order to apply that.
Well, I want to work on the background even a bit more. This time though, I'm going to use black to create a bit of a darker look and also, that will help me to sort of remove a little bit of the color. So, press Shift+Cmd+N on a Mac or Shift+Ctrl+N on Windows. We'll name this, Background-2. Here we'll use a Soft Light Blending Mode, click OK. This time, we're going to paint with black. And let's lower the opacity even further. I'll go down to about 15%. Make the brush bigger by pressing the right bracket key and I'm just going to click and paint over this.
And darken up some of these areas. What I'm trying to do here is build a little drama into this, so the focus is really this beautiful bride here, all dressed up for the big day. So, just painting with big, huge brushstrokes, a nice soft-edge brush, make sure there isn't any streaking or overly enhanced brush areas. Here we can see this adjustment, here's before and after. And really, it's these adjustments stacked up together, which allow us to come up with this result. Now, whenever you're working with color, let's say that like with this color here, and you realize, you know what? I actually don't like the Hue of that color. It's a little bit too red for me.
What you can do is something fascinating. You target the layer, so target this middle layer titled background then press Cmd+ U on a Mac or Ctrl+U on Windows. Next, you can change the Hue, let me exaggerate this for a moment. I'm going to over saturate it, notice how there's a lot of red in that? You can change this Hue, or change it to a different color using Hue Saturation here. And this can help us to match the color more effectively. Now, you wont want to over saturate that color if anything, you may want to desaturate it a little bit or just shift the color.
In my case, I want to make the color a bit more yellow, so I know if I bring the slider to the right there a little bit, that will help me do that. Alright again, just a subtle adjustment but it helps out when it comes to burning and dodging with color photographs. Already our photograph is looking a lot more interesting. Here's the before, and then now here's the after. Also, as you make these adjustments if you feel like, you know what, I went a little bit too far on this layer, just lower the opacity, just knock that back a little bit. And here we can click into these various layers and take this back, in order to have an image with a little bit less drama.
With this photograph, I think I like it a little bit darker there, so I'll increase this. It's important to know that you can use those sliders. Alright, well now that we've done all of this, this last thing I want to do is brighten up this area. To do that, lets create one more layer. You know how to do this already. It's Shift+Cmd+N on a Mac, Shift+Ctrl+N on windows, change the blending mode to Soft Light then we'll go ahead and name this one Face. Because more or less, we'll be working on that area of the photograph. Next, click OK. Now here, what I want to do is sample a really bright skin tone. So, hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt on Windows with your Brush tool selected and go ahead and click on on the skin.
Then, click on your color chip, that's the foreground color chip there, and what you want to do is just brighten this up a little bit more. And then click OK. Here we'll go ahead and just start to paint over this area of the image. And in doing this, we're just going to brighten up this part of the photograph. And brightening it up with a little bit of a color shift in there, in order to create this kind of nice, soft sort of pastel light glow. We can also paint in other areas of the picture too if we wanted to brighten up other parts of our photograph. Here's the before, and now here's the after. In this case, we also might need to change the color.
You can do that by pressing what's that shortcut? Do you remember it for Hue Saturation? Pressing Cmd+U on a Mac, Ctrl+U on Windows. Here we can desaturate that if we want to remove some of the color or we could also shift this. Again we could change the color Hue there or color tint to that and then click OK. And then the brightening effect that I have here for this photograph, I think it's nice but it's a little bit too soft or too pastely for my taste. So, I'll just scale this one back a little bit. This is a layer that I needed to do that. I just want a little kind of, bright snap of color in that area. Alright, well that looks pretty good.
Yet more importantly than how it looks is the technique. And this is the technique. You create a new layer, change that Blending Mode to Soft Light and then paint with a bright or dark tone. And that can be black or white or it can be a tone that has a little bit of color in it. With this image it helped us to create this particular look. Here's our before and then now here's our after. And what I like to do at the end of creating this or the end of my burning and dodging, is I like to organize my layers. So, you click in the top layer, hold down the Shift key, click in the bottom layer for our burning and dodging then press Cmd+G on a Mac or Ctrl+G on Windows.
We'll go ahead and name this Burn and Dodge. The advantage of grouping this together is, it helps you to sort of see the image in a finished state. Here I can see the before, now I can see the after. I might decide that I'll just scale this back a little bit, have a little bit less intensity of the overall effect. Again, you can dial this in so that it works well with your own vision. Most importantly, you want to use this technique in order to clarify your vision and your voice for your photographs. Keep in mind, the art and craft of burning and dodging, it's all about directing how the viewer experiences your photograph.
- Optimizing your workflow with Bridge
- Correcting color casts
- Becoming an expert with layers
- Improving the edges of the mask and using masking shortcuts
- Creating hand-painted masks
- Discovering the power of blending modes
- Replacing and changing color
- Burning and dodging
- Creating an HDR image
- Applying Smart Filters
- Using Camera Raw as a Smart Filter
- Working with the Blur Gallery of effects
- Correcting lens distortion and perspective problems
- Combing multiple images
- Editing video
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: This course was updated on 7/01/2014. What changed?
A: We added a brand-new chapter, "Applying Effects with the Blur Gallery," which covers the new blur filters added in the 2014 release of Photoshop CC. Check out the "What's new" video for more information.
Q: This course was updated on 10/15/2014. What changed?
A: We added one new movie, "Correcting distortion with Perspective Warp," which is a new feature introduced the 2014 release of Photoshop CC.