Smart Dodge & Burn
“Traditional” dodging and burning is the process of making areas of your photos lighter and darker to create depth and draw attention to areas of an image. This method requires a great deal of skill to improve a photo.
We developed “Smart” Dodging & Burning to make the process more accurate, less destructive and easier. This exclusive action set narrows down burning to just the shadows and dodging to just the highlights of an image, making the process of sculpting light simple.
How to dodge & burn to your photos
The Smart Dodge & Burn Action makes dodging and burning simple. Simply press “play” on one of fifteen included actions to lighten or darken your image.
After pressing play you will see on-screen instructions guiding you to paint white on the layer mask where you want the effect to appear. If you want the effect to disappear, paint black on the layer mask.
This process is simple and can be mastered in just a few minutes.
Quick Tip: Use multiple dodge and burn levels to add drama to your photos.
Tips & Tricks
Dodging & Burning is simply making areas of a photo either lighter or darker, the real magic is the technique of how dodging and burning is applied to a photo. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you get started.
Think Large and Small
Dodging and burning can be used in small detail areas like eyes, lips and skin to even light and dark spots and draw more attention to key features.
You can also use dodging and burning on a large scale to add highlights or shadows to an entire person or background.
Mix Up Brush Size & Flow
When working on small detailed areas, be sure to use a small soft-edged brush for accuracy. When working on larger areas, use a larger brush.
To make the application more subtle, try using a low flow with the brush tool. This will let you slowly build up an effect rather than applying the full strength in one click. We recommend a brush flow around 20%.
Mix & Match Layers
The Smart Dodge & Burn action creates new layers that are named with the strength of the effect, for instance “D&B Darken -0.50”
Use multiple layers to bring out more detail in your photo. In the included PSD files you can see how multiple layers are brought together to make the portrait stand out.
Change Opacity to Lower Effect
If you find that the lighten or darken effect is a bit too strong, don’t forget you can simply lower the opacity of the layer to make the changes more subtle.