A fast way to dodge & burn in Photoshop

Dec 5, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

A fast way to dodge & burn in Photoshop

Dec 5, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Dodging and burning has become as commonplace to Photoshop as it was in the darkroom with film. But in Photoshop it can be a tedious process (even more so than it was in the darkroom). This quick technique from Anti Karppinen shows a very fast way to achieve a similar result in Photoshop.

YouTube video

The basic process begins by duplicating your background layer. Then invert it and set the layer blending mode to vivid light. Then use your gaussian blur to adjust the strength of the effect. Add a black mask (alt+click on the new layer mask icon), and pain in white where you want the effect to be seen. You can use a more transparent effect to paint it on lightly in some areas.

It’s a simple technique, although may not be useful for everything. Antti does suggest that this may not be the best method to use on faces, for example. But for things like clothes, it can be a fantastic shortcut to give them some more depth quickly.

I’ve used a similar technique myself for a few years, and I find it works particularly well on hair (especially light coloured hair) quite often.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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2 responses to “A fast way to dodge & burn in Photoshop”

  1. bill bane Avatar
    bill bane

    Great!

  2. Fred Smith Avatar
    Fred Smith

    Thank you!