Advanced Dodging/Burning Technique


Well-Known Member
Jun 20, 2005
Midlands, UK
Caged Clio 182 Track Car
Ok, first tutorial. Im sure many of you have used the dodge or burn tools in photoshop before, this method has the same effect, but is much more flexable (and reversable :p)

Ok, so we start with an image: (this is just an example, I will probably over-do the porocessing just to show the effects)


Want you need to do now is create a new layer, and then immediately press shift + F5, which will give you this screen:


Set it to those options, then ok.

Now select the blend mode for that layer to 'Overlay', as shown below:


The tool you will be using now is the brush. Set it to about 10-15% opacity, and hit 'd' to set the colours to default (black and white)

So now, white will brighten the image (as dodge would have done) and black will darken it (as burn would have done)
TIP: Hit 'X' to quickly change between black and white colour.

On this particular picture, I would like to brighten the front bumper, and perhaps certain areas of the trees. I will also darken the sky as an example, I wouldnt do this otherwise as I think it is fine.

Ok, so after youve made your adjustments, we get to the really clever bit:

You'll notice that if you turn off the pictures visability, you can see the adjustments you've been making. The advantage of this is that you can see exactly what you've done, and the location. Plus, if you flick the top layers visability on and off, you can easily see the effect of the dodging/burning.

By selecting the colour 50% grey with the eyedropper, you can undo any areas which youve changed your mind about, by brushing over that area, so it goes back to 50% grey.

Well I hope this proved helpful to some people, any questions, feel free to ask! :D

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Where is the final result? :S
Where is the final result? :S

Well, for this photo, I'd already done most of the processing that I wanted to. This was just the easiest photo I could find to demonstrate the technique.
I wrote it more as a guide really 8) Plus with this technique, it's harder to see the immediate effects from the pic at the start (for this pic), if I could do one of those pics that change as you rollover with the mouse, then I'll update it, that would be better to show the effects :)
Thanks! I like the look that the overlay layer style gives. I've used this on the most photo that I'm going to go post in the Lens Flair thread now!
I was just trying this out and noticed that excessive burning brings out even the smallest dust/dirt particles that were on the lens when the picture was taken. The particles clearly seen in the photo below are not visible straight out of the camera. A careful eye can spot the larger ones but definately not the small ones. Another use for the burn technique :)