Use the Dodge and Burn Tools to Adjust the Exposure of an Image

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If you've ever taken an over- or underexposed photograph and wished you could "fix" it, this technique is for you. Likewise, if you've ever simply wanted to adjust the exposure of an image in order to shift the viewer's attention, this technique is for you. Photoshop contains two tools—Dodge and Burn—that are replicas of tools photographers use in the darkroom to adjust the exposure of an image.

Compare Figures 8-20 and 8-21 to see how adjusting the exposure of an image can refine the viewer's focus to a specific area. In this case, I burned (darkened) the background and outer edges of my daughter's face to make it recede further into the background, while dodging (lightening) the highlights on her face to make them stand out in a more three-dimensional way.

TRY IT To use the Dodge and Burn tools to adjust the exposure within an image, first make sure you have the file you want to edit open in Photoshop. Open the Layers palette (choose Window | Layers) and select the layer containing the part you want to blur or sharpen. Then, select the appropriate tool (Dodge or Burn) from the toolbox.

Click the button to the far right of the QUICK TIP Options bar or choose Window | Brushes

- to access the Brushes palette, and select a

Select the Dodge tool to lighten areas. Select the good brush for the job. If you need to dodge Burn tool to darken areas. or burn a very small, specific area, then the harder-edge brushes are fine. However, if you want to dodge or burn a bit larger area and keep the edges feathered, I find the softer brushes work better.

QUICK TIP

Select the Dodge tool to lighten areas. Select the Burn tool to darken areas.

Figure 8-20 Untouched photo of my daughter

I burned (darkened) the background and outer edges of the face to make it recede further into the background.

I dodged (lightened) the foreground and the highlights on the face to make that area stand out in a more three-dimensional way.

Figure 8-21 Retouched photo of my daughter, in which the Dodge and Burn tools were used to adjust the exposure of the image

In the Options bar, select the range to specify which areas of the image the exposure affects:

• Highlights

Then specify the exposure level of each stroke.

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