Adobe Photoshop is a very complex program that deals with many “tools”. If you understand how to use all, or at least most, of the tools in Photoshop, it will definitely make it easier to use the program as a whole, no matter what task you are trying to complete. In this tutorial and guide, you will learn two very opposite tools: the burn tool and the dodge tool. So open up Photoshop and get ready to learn!
The dodge tool:
The dodge tool’s purpose to brighten pixels, or certain areas, of an image. In addition, the dodge tool has the tendency to bring out detail as well. The dodge tool has different ranges and exposures that you can use. If you’re editing a photograph, you’ll most likely work in the midtones range. The exposure varies since some pixels may only need slight dodging, or extreme dodging. Of course the size of the brush only matters on how big of an area you’re working with, and the brush itself depends on the same too. I prefer to use a “fuzzy” brush, as I call it. A fuzzy brush will simply blend the dodging together better. A solid brush on the other hand will show exactly where you dodged, and not in an attractive way either. So to understand how to use this tool, we’re basically going to work with just some simple editing skills. As always, open up a picture, any picture. If you’re unfamiliar with Photoshop, the dodge tool is located on the free-floating vertical menu bar on the right-hand column on the seventh row. To get to the dodge tool, you might need to hold down the left click to make the dodge tool appear. As you can also see, the burn tool is conviently located here as well. The dodge tool looks somewhat similar to a microphone.
Now that you opened up the image you want to work with. Just for the sake of practice, we’re going to use a fuzzy brush, somewhere between 40 pixels and 60 pixels. Choose the midtones range, and exposure of 40%. Go over your entire image with the brush, if you’re image is rather large, choose a larger brush. Observe how the image becomes brighter and also how more detail shows. Usually an exposure of 40% is a lot of you’re going over the entire image. Now undo that step, and now focus and zoom in on one “dark” area of the picture. If it’s a landscape shot, try a tree, or if it’s a portrait, try the eyes. Choose a smaller brush and only go over the dark spot. Zoom back out and see the difference. This time you only changed the dark area that probably needed dodging. This is the whole logic behind the dodge tool. Since barely any picture needs editing, the dodge tool provides you with the ability to brighten up any dark area of a photo.
The burn tool:
The concept behind the burn tool is described within itself. It does exactly as its name states. It burns or darkens pixels that may be too bright or white. As stated before, the burn tool is also located at the same place as the dodge tool. The burn tool looks like hand.
For the burn tool, try the same practice as you did with the dodge tool. Instead of focusing on a spot that is too black, try on a spot that is too white, like a sky or skin. Observe how it darkens the pixels, doing the opposite of the dodge tool.
The whole concept behind both of these tools is just editing specific areas of photos or images. Practice more on some of your own photos, or if you have the concept down, start editing and creating in Photoshop!