Photoshop Tutorial: Dodge and Burn

A free video tutorial from Gibson Smith
Adobe Certified Expert (Photoshop CC 2019)
Rating: 4.4 out of 5Instructor rating
1 course
51,895 students
Dodge and Burn

Learn more from the full course

The Everything Photoshop Masterclass

The World's #1 Photo Editing Program From Beginner to Expert

10:47:50 of on-demand video • Updated August 2018

Shoot professional photos optimized for Photoshop editing
Develop a unique photo-editing style to establish yourself as a professional
Create freely and artistically through a deep understanding of Photoshop's many features
In this video I'm going to show you a really cool and really important tip for high-end retouching so we've learned about dodging burn so I'll go over that real quick again if I select my Gibson layer I can go to the Dodge tool this will lighten anything that I click right oh I can't I can't adjust this directly because it's a smart layer so let's go within the smart object go to Gibson copy will show how this works in here so if I click here I can lighten up areas where I'm clicking and that's what the Dodge tool does now you see how it's not affecting the layer above whoa we'll talk about how you can fix that in a minute so I can target my mid-tones shadows or highlights this is what area or what tonal value I want to lighten so if I target my shadows it'll really focus on lightening all the shadows in my picture by target the highlights it'll lighten the highlights so let's go ahead and undo all of that because I'm going to show you a way better way to do this so we don't have to be within the smart object if I want to make adjustments here let's make sure I saved this so if I want to add a Dodge and burn effect but I don't want to have to go with in my smart object or I don't want to destructively edit my layer at all what I can do is I'll add a new layer above the area I want to effect and I can then go ahead and fill that layer with 50% gray so another way of doing this is I could go here and go to 50% gray I don't know the actual I think it's f e or 7 e I'm not exactly sure so I could fill my layer with 50% gray or I could click here when I click on new layer alt and click and then I get this new layer box and I can name my later I can add a color to the the layer icon down here or I can go mode and choose what blending mode I want that layer to be so this is just saving me steps in the future so I'll go to overlay and then I'll click on fill with overlay neutral color and this works with overlay or soft light so I'll go to over Lakes a little stronger and now you can see that this layer has been filled with 50% gray now what I can do is if I use my dodge tool on this layer it will make changes as if I was using the Dodge tool directly onto the Gibson layer that I want to affect now remember that overlay and soft light either make darks darker or lights lighter based off of 50% gray that's the neutral point okay so everything darker than 50% gray will become even darker with an overlay blend mode and same for 50% or lighter so right now if I turn off and on this 50% gray layer there are absolutely no changes to my composition even though this is a layer at full opacity if I change the blend mode of this layer to normal you would see that it's just filled with complete gray so I go to overlay absolutely no change whether it's on or off because it's a completely neutral color now what I'll do is I'll go ahead and make some adjustments on here so let's say I wanted to lighten up my eyes because we're working on gray I'll go to mid-tones I'll bring the exposure down significantly and then I'll bring my brush size down and I'll just like click here a few times to lighten up my eyes this is another thing where it's really easy to go overboard like I'm talking right now so I'm lightening up my eyes there you go it's as if I just added a Dodge effect onto the layer but I didn't I effected the layer above it so now I can turn that layer on and off and you can see that I have non-destructively made an edit to the Gibson layer by adding a layer above and using an overlay blend mode if I switch this blend mode back to normal you can see that I just added i ply end up these areas here and this is what the actual layer looks like then go back to overlay and I will add a few more adjustments like this so I'll go back to the Dodge tool lighten up the lips here I can do some overall lightening so if I wanted to like make sure the face was really the focus here do that and then I can use the Dodge tool and or the burn tool in the exact same way so with the burn tool I can go ahead and sort of like define the lips a little better and this is fun for adding contrast to your image I can go around and make it look like I was better at lighting this image than I actually was I can add sort of vignette this way as well okay and now let's turn on and off this entire dodge and burn layer you can see the changes that I've made so dodging and burning can be really useful for defining features so if I didn't want to make it look photoshopped right and I want it to be a more natural look to my edit I could go ahead and try to play with the lighting and then I'm not changing the shape of anything in the picture I'm adjusting what the lighting looks like but it can get a similar effect so if I wanted this nose to look a little more straight and a little more narrow it could use the Dodge tool to create shadows this would be the same thing as just lighting properly right but I can affect it in Photoshop later so if I have these shadows I'll do it more dramatically so it's really obvious and then turn that on and off you can see the changes to the nose specifically right there it's almost like I'm painting on makeup onto myself right there we go and now this these changes are a little bit too extreme so what I'll do is after I'm done making these changes I'll change it to a soft light blend mode can darken the eyebrows as well make them a little more defined you can even do this to give yourself like cheekbones so they like darkened down here again it's just like makeup okay and now this is too much so I'll go to a soft light blend mode because that's just a little bit weaker turn it on and off and you can see the changes I've made an out to my image it's added a lot of contrast it's really defined it and obviously in this whole project we're going extreme with all of these adjustments but in a real-life situation if you're working with a real client you don't want to be a little more subtle with these changes and now if I change this to a normal blend mode you can see this creepy looking face that I have right here these are the adjustments I've made - soft light there we go that's how you can dodge and burn non-destructively in Photoshop