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Dodge And Burn

Lesson 4 from: Advanced Photo Retouching Techniques

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

4. Dodge And Burn

Lesson Info

Dodge And Burn

Here's what we're gonna talk about. We're gonna talk about dodging and burning. Dodging and burning is, there are a variety of ways to use dodging and burning. There's global meaning, like, larger areas. So you can do contouring, which I love, and I will definitely spend time on before we wrap up here. For sure. It's my like favorite take away tip that I all want you to make sure you know. And then there's localized dodging and burning. Localized dodging and burning means if you zoom way in here, really, if you look at a lot of the unevenness in the skin, maybe through here for example, it's not, like, if this were a high end beauty image, it's not a color problem. Really. Because there's not a color shift. It's not like it's too red or, so that's not it. And it's not really that it's a bad texture. It actually has to do with lightness and darkness. Like in that select area, for example, this is a little too bright. And then this is a little too dark. And if you even the two out, you m...

ake the light part a little darker and the dark part a little lighter, it gets rid of that problem area but you still have your texture there. So, a high end retoucher will go in at pore level and even everything out. That is what high end retouching is. A majority of the time. Localized dodging and burning for hours. Which I personally like hate and would want to shoot myself if I had to do it all the time. That's why I don't. But, it, it, if you wanna see those images where you see, you see that gorgeous texture of the skin. You see it. It's, you, like, like you can feel it. You look at those pictures and it's, everything's perfect. But you just see this gorgeous texture. That's how they did it. Is they went in that close. Often retouching at 100% if it's going to be a beauty image. So, let me show you what that is. Basically it's a curves layer that's brighter. And a curves layer that's darker. And going in and working on everything. That's what it is. So I'll show you how to create that. And then also you can obviously do an action. So I'm going to go into my half moon cookie down here, my adjustment layers with layer mask, and I am going to grab my first curves. So what we're going to do is we are going to lighten. This is going to be the curve to dodge everything. To lighten things up. How much you want to lighten it up at this point is really a matter of how aggressively you want to lighten things. You could also use a preset of lighter to do so if you want to like have a standard. It kind of just depends. So let me just call this dodge. Okay. And I wanna hide this effect. So this isn't beginning. This is advanced. So I'm not going to explain adjustment layers and layer masks too in depth. If you don't know that definitely check out another tutorial on that. But I'm going to hit command I to hide that effect. So it filled in the mask. So I'm gonna be able to paint lighter later. Okay, so let's do another curves. And this one I'm going to darken. Or I could use a preset of darker. Okay. And I'm gonna call this burn. And we're gonna invert. So it's gonna hide that mask. So what you would do is you would go around, and you would say, okay, let's see, this area right here for example, that's not a texture problem, right? There's not, that's not really a bad texture. That's just a little bit too dark. So I wanna lighten it up. So I'm gonna grab my white brush. Low flow, I'm gonna go like 1 to 2%. And just kind of click around a few times. So watch how subtle that was. But how it got rid of the problem, right? That got rid of that little darker area. And I recommend doing this at a variety of different zoom levels. So maybe don't start at 100%. Where we're at now. Start further back and just see, okay, so where are some big problem areas that are, are darker. You know, maybe this, just this whole area needs to be just a little bit lighter in there. So right now I'm dodging. Lightening things up. So I'm looking for areas that are perhaps a little too dark. Like that's a little bit of a weird dark spot there. And, you constantly wanna vary the size of your brush to try to fit where the problem area is. So like see this, this, almost like this pock right there? Really how you would get rid of say this pock area which I'm saying this lightly, she has beautiful skin okay, this is, we're doing a beauty retouch here, is this little darker area, I would go in and just lighten it up a little bit. So watch. Just a little bit lighter. And that is what they do for high end beauty retouching. And so it's just going in, and see, it's a little darker here. And then conversely anyplace where it was a little bit lighter, burning. You wanna darken down. So let's see there's, it's a little bit too bright here. And this would be a step that, depending on what the end image is, you could spend hours and hours and hours and guess what? That's what I pay retouchers to do. Like when I, when I have an image that's going to take that much time. I think it's important to know how it's done. And I think it's important to be able to do these things yourself. But knowing when it's going to be taking that much time and when to outsource, or when you want the control. So it is just that back and forth. So it's, let's see if I can, show you down here. So like, see that down there? It's filling in some of those areas. Or let's look at some of the, on her cheek here. Some of those dark areas. And right now it's at a really low flow. If you wanted to speed up the process a little bit you either make your curves a little bit steeper or you increase your flow, the amount that you're doing it in. So, I'm gonna just do this for like, another minute or two. But this is where I would spend much more time. Okay. So let's increase my, so let's see here. Like if I wanted to get rid of this, this, this fine line here. That would be lightening it up a little bit. And coming around here. Lightening up. Just in that line. And watch. See how it softens it? That's really what it is. Okay. And over here. Let's lighten up some of these dark areas. And this is where I wanted to go ahead, I'm gonna come back, and revisit the woman with the defined lines. Let's see. So see how those get filled in by lightening it up. Same thing. Darken down any areas that are too bright. Okay. So, lots and lots and lots of that. And probably on the screen it's a little hard to see. But I just did a little work on the chin so you see the direction that it goes. For the woman with the more defined lines, let's just take a look at that. I have retouching actions created. So I go to actions. And I have contouring or burning and dodging. We're gonna talk about contouring in a minute. So basically I have my highlights and shadows. Or my burning and dodging. So if want things to be brighter, like filling in some of these wrinkle areas, what I could do is I could take my low flow maybe 2, 3% and come in and you just trace over some of these wrinkle areas. Let's make sure I'm on the right brush. Okay. And you would just trace over them to soften them a little bit. Let me think, I think I'm selected on something. And I'm gonna create actually my own so that it's a little bit faster. So let me just lighten this up. And call this dodge. Okay. Let's try that again. All right, so onto the wrinkle. Okay. Now I'm going more severe. But, so it's quick for you to see. And of course if you go too far you can always back it off. But this would be the way to soften those wrinkles and just cut their edge out without getting rid of them. And so when you see, there's different levels depending on publication. Some publications will get rid of the wrinkles. They dodge and burn everything. Frequency separation. Like super super smooth. And others will just more subtly back off some of these shadows. So let fill in just a couple more so you can see. And then I will move onto the next, and one of my favorite steps 'cause I don't want us to miss it. Let's do this. And then same thing for underneath her eyes. And so it's cutting the difference. And I would get in, right now I'm at 70%, I would get into 100% for here underneath her eye. Fill it in. So like, let's take a look up here. So kind of soften everything.

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Ratings and Reviews

CPR Photography

One of my favorite instructors. Lindsay Adler is an excellent instructor, great personality, incredibly talented. This edited-down video "Advanced Photo Retouching" (watched several times live and non-live), is great, because all the unnecessary pauses and down-time are edited out. Cutting down the time commitment to a more manageable block of time. It's hard to dedicate 9-5 online live classes without compromising your own work schedule. So, I appreciate very much being able to watch these edited videos. Thanks Lindsay and Creative Live!


This course has an abundance of extremely useful information. I learned so much. I do need to keep going over certain sections so it sinks in, but Lindsey does a wonderful job explaining in detail what all the important things are and leaves out what she knows just isn't necessary to get into. That leaves us with a very useful course that doesn't have drawn out parts that seem time wasting. Lindsey gets straight to the point. And I so appreciate that. She really is an amazing teacher.

Rachel Taylor

Well worth the price of the class! This course goes into more detail than her Advanced Beauty Retouching class. I would recommend a good working knowledge of layers & masks before doing this kind of retouching, but Lindsay makes it very easy to understand.

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