Paint Shop Pro
Dodging and burning has a long history in the photographic arena.
It was generally used to
improve an area of an image that for some reason or other, was too dark
and/or too light.
burning are terms used in photography for a technique used
during the printing process to manipulate the exposure of a
selected area(s) on a photographic print deviating from the rest of the
Dodging decreases the exposure for areas of the print that
the photographer wishes to be lighter, while burning
increases the exposure to areas of the print that should be darker.
and burning to an art form. Many of his famous prints
were manipulated in the darkroom with these two techniques.
a comprehensive book on this very topic called "The Print."
(Source - Wikipedia)
Dodge and Burn to:
What this does is expand the dynamic range of a digital image.
The dynamic range is the amount of brightness between the
lightest and darkest area of a picture. In one respect it is
very similar to HDR (High
- Make a dark area
- Make a light area
- Remove small
- Remove bags under
- Eliminate skin
- Enhance small
details like eyelashes
- Tone down excessive
red on the nose or cheek or chin
- Control local
Back in the "wet" darkroom a burn tool was generally a ragged hole
punched in a
small piece of cardboard and a dodge tool was a round piece of
cardboard attached to a very thin wire. Both of these
tools were held between the light of the enlarger and the paper on the
It really was a hit and miss
could dodge like crazy, run the print through the chemicals only to
discover that not enough or too much dodging was done.
print went into the trash and the process was started all over again
either adding or subtracting from the dodging times.
With Paint Shop Pro in
digital darkroom you can do the same
thing with the Dodge and Burn Tools quickly and easily. They
work well and
there is a reasonable amount of adjustments available with these tools.
This technique is best completed with either a Wacom Bamboo
or a Wacom Intuos graphics tablet. The ability to
change pressure sensitivity on the fly and the precision of the pen and
tablet make the procedure so much easier and more efficient.
In Dodging and Burning Tools
The standard dodging and burning tools in Paint Shop Pro are designed
work directly on the image while the soft light technique works on
If you are 45 minutes into your work with the built in tools and you
make an error or mess up
directly on the image you will likely have to revert and start over -
When you are working on a layer (or multiple layers) and you mess up
badly just throw the layer in the trash and start over.
You can also lower the opacity of the layer if you go a bit too far and
you cannot do that directly on the image.
original picture I took was way too dark making it difficult to
distinguish any of the detail in this image - but the sky was not too
To fix the image I did a few simple things.
I duplicated the image, changed the blend mode and then
added a soft light layer.
At that point it was a simple mater to dodge and burn
parts of the image with my Intuos tablet to get the image the way I
wanted it to be.
Read on to find out exactly how to do the same things
You can pretty much use the soft light dodging and burning technique
it's really effective removing small imperfections in an otherwise
You will be working at a high zoom level with a portraits so
you can see individual pixels and you will be working with very low
opacity - in the range of 3% to 5%.
What this does is make it a rather slow technique but the end results
are well worth the effort.
you end up with is natural looking skin that looks - well - natural. It
differs from the end result of the skin smoothing technique.
smoothing you often end up with skin that is totally devoid of any
texture whatsoever and that, my friends, is just not natural.
We're humans - we have pores - we have small creases.
Dodging and Burning With A Soft
Adjusting the Dynamic Range
The dodge and burn techniques in this tutorial expands the dynamic range of an
The dynamic range is the range of brightness from the darkest area to
the lightest area on the image.
most cases the dyamic range of a scene can be easily captured by your
digital camera with no need to dodge and burn. In other
especially in landscape scenes, the dynamic range will exceed the
ability of your camera to record the full dynamic range resulting in
either blown out highlights or blocked shadows.
Open you image in Paint Shop Pro.
Add a new Raster Layer and then do some inspection of your
What needs removing?
Select a nice bright color from the Materials
Palette, get a small brush and circle the areas you want to modify on
the layer you just made. This is your guide (not necessary but useful).
In this image the areas that need dodging or burning are:
- Bags under the eyes
- Shiny red nose
- Two spots on the cheek
- The area under the lips
- Creases on the neck
- Select the Background and create a duplicate of it
safe keeping. Next add a second Raster Layer right above
the background and change the blend mode to Soft Light.
- Optional - create another Raster Layer above the Soft
Light Layer - this one will be a guide layer.
- The best approach is to create one soft light layer
for each area of
the image you are going to work on and name them to maintain some kind
You will now have the background, the Soft Light
Layers and the Guide
Layer (if you choose to have one).
Palette and Brush Variance Set Up
- Your Materials Palette should now be black and
white. If it's not then click on the little tiny black and
white box on the palette.
Select the Brush (B) and lower the opacity to around
5% and the brush
size to a few pixels (1 to 6 depending on the area should do just
fine). Lower the hardness to 1 so the brush has a nice soft
|Left Side of Toolbar
||Right Side of Toolbar
- Open the Brush
Variance palette and select pen
pressure for size. You
can do this technique with a mouse but you will not have the control
that a wise
Wacom Bamboo or Wacom Intuos user will have and your results may not be
The Soft Light Layer
- Make sure you have the Soft Light Layer for the
you are going to
work selected! If you do this on the Guide layer by mistake
you will be sending me harshly worded notes because the technique will
- Choose the area you want to work on and then zoom
in so you can see
the offending pixels of the blemish or mark you are going to remove.
Now start working on the area you want to
- In the
image above (the working area) the dark spot in the middle needs to be
Make sure that white is the foreground color and
than start painting over the blemish.
- Because of the very low brush opacity the blemish
will take some time
and work to lighten - keep at it. Zoom in and out to see how
it is coming along and when you are finished move on to the next area.
- It is likely that the majority of your time will be
spent paining white with your Wacom pen
to eliminate dark areas. There are, of course, some times
when you need to darken an area - in this case it is on the creases on
the neck ...
If you look closely at the creases you will notice
that one side of the
crease is dark and the other side is light so you will need to work
both parts at a very high zoom.
Creases after Dodge and Burn
The light areas will be painted with black (burning) and the
dark areas will be
painted with white (dodging) on the soft light layer.
That's pretty much it - dodging and burning with a soft
layer. The changes are small yet significant in the overall
appearance of the image.
With A Soft Light Layer
So now - go find yourself an image and have at it.
And Burning An Image
Rather Than Just Blemishes!
A soft light layer can be used in many different situations, not just
for fixing blemishes and creases.
Take the following image of my buddy Phil, for instance ...
I was in a rush to take a picture of Phil taking a picture of
me in Las Vegas and
didn't properly expose the shot with my trusty Olympus E300.
As a result, the foreground is way too dark and the background is way
|Original As shot
Soft Light Layer Adjustment
There was a lot of dodging to do in the foreground which brought out
the overexposed information quite nicely.
The burning was done on the casinos and sky in the background.
Once again the
steps are ...
- Create a Soft Light Layer.
- Set the Foreground and Background colors to Black
- Use a Wacom Bamboo or Wacom Intuos and set the
Tool to change opacity with pressure in
the Brush Variance Palette.
- Lighten the areas that are too dark and darken the
areas that are too light.
Have a successful time dodging and burning with a soft light layer - it
really is fabulous!
Black and White Images
This technique works beautifully with a black and white image and you
can learn all about it right here ... Grayscale Soft Light Layers.