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Video Tutorial: A better way to dodge and burn in Photoshop


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Here is a video on dodging and burning in a non-destructive manner using your brush tool instead of the built in dodge and burn tools.

These are a great way to give your photo a finished look after running one of the MCP Complete Workflow Actions.  This method works well on black and white conversions and well as color pop and vintage photos.


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  1. Heidi on September 20, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge! Can’t wait to try this technic.

  2. SandraC on September 21, 2008 at 12:13 am

    Thanks for this tip!

  3. Erin on September 21, 2008 at 3:18 am

    Awesome, video tutorials are soooooo helpful! Can’t thank you enough. I stayed up braving photoshop til 5am yesterday…you have inspired me, or at least sleep deprived me.THANKS!

  4. jodi on September 21, 2008 at 8:18 am

    another great tut! thanks so much.

  5. Pam Davis on September 21, 2008 at 9:39 am

    Great Tutorial, I really learn alot from watching how you work. Pam

  6. gina on September 21, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    soooooooooooo helpful, thank you…

  7. Casey Cooper on September 21, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    As usual, awesome job! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Pam on September 23, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    WOW! I had no idea that dodge/burn effected the pixels. Thanks for this great tutorial, Jodi. I have learned so much more from you in Photoshop than any other source.

  9. Barb on September 24, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    I love your tutorials, Jodi!Can you tell me… is this the same thing as your “touch of light, touch of darkness” action? If not, how are they different? I love using that action since I’ve finally read the instructions on using it. 😀

  10. admin on September 24, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    They work differently – but the results obtained can be the same.

  11. Tiffany on September 29, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    Great tutorial!! Thank you for sharing

  12. Dan on April 27, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Can you explain why you first fill the layer with 50% gray? I’ve been dodging and burning this way for a while now though I just do it on a new blank soft light layer. I’ve tried it with the gray and I can’t tell any difference. Just curious if I’m missing some reason I should do it that way. Thanks. I love all the great videos here.

  13. admin on April 27, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Just how I have always done it so you are working with neutral underneath. I will have to try your way too to see if there is a difference. I actually usually now prefer dodge and burn using my touch of light and darkness action – which is curves – that you actually paint on (light or dark). It is even more non destructive – but this can go deeper…

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