Better burn and dodge

Ken Rennie

Well-Known Member
I was going to call this "THE BEST BURN AND DODGE TECHNIQUE EVER!" but that would just be clock bait and not strictly true. There are many burn and dodge techniques but thet are mostly blunt tools that allow you to lighten and darken parts of your image, with a little change you can also change colours as well as lighten and darken parts but they change all tones, short of using luminosity masks you can't just alter the highlights or midtones, this technique allows you to do just that.

Unlike my other tips this one is destructive so you need to do it on a separate layer
After you have done whatever you need to do you need to either stamp a new a layer Ctrl Alt shift E or if you only have 1 layer duplicate it.
1.jpg

Open the History Window and click on the little box beside the last operation. This selects the source for the History Brush. In my cast it is stamp visible but yours may be duplicate layer.
2.jpg

Next select the history brush (keyboard shortcut Y)
3.jpg

Set the Opacity to approx 10%, once you have played with it you can alter this to refine the effect.

Now Alter the blend mode
Multiply = Darkens ( just plain Burn)
Screen = Lightens ( just plain Dodge)
Color Dodge = Lightens extreme highlights ( this is very useful for modelling flat landscapes as it brightens the already bright)
Color Burn = Darkens extreme shadows ( again another useful modelling effect )
Difference = Darkens extreme highlights ( a good hightlight recovery effect)
Soft Light = Increases contrast ( not quite though, anything brighter than 50% it makes brighter, anything darker than 50% it makes darker so if you apply it to a mostly bright object it just makes it brighter and vice versa)

It seems incredibly complex but once you have it set up it is just like painting with light and is very quick and intuitive,something that luminosity masks can never be accused of.
This is the original image. not brilliant but okay 'ish
_DSC2921-1 original.jpg

I look at it and think tht the log above the strem needs to be emphasised
History Brush blend mode set to Screen (normal burn ) and paint along the log

_DSC2921-1 brighter log with screen.jpg

The log is brighter but it has lost contrast and saturation, so step back in History and use color dodge to just brighten the highlights
_DSC2921-1 brighter log with color dodge.jpg

Now apply some color burn to darken extreme shadows
_DSC2921-1 more emphasis onlog with color dodge plus some color burn.jpg

I have now quickly dodged and burned around the entire image emphasising the glistening boulders and the moss, darkening the highlights behind so not just producing a gloomy mess ( I hope)

It has taken me far longer to write than the 2 to 3 minutes actually spent burning and dodging.
Final effort
_DSC2921-1 finished.jpg


and Original again. No saturation increase or colour changes of any sort. If I were really doing this I would apply some saturation and colour changes ( yellow highlights)
_DSC2921-1 original.jpg


I hope that you have found this useful, if not ignore it. If you want more information pease ask.

Soft landscape
SOOC
_DSC1718-1 sooc.jpg


after 90secs born and dodge
_DSC1718-1 1min burn and dodge.jpg

Ken
 
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Ben Egbert

Forum Helper
Staff member
Never knew of this possibility Ken, thanks for the write up and I will find a place to use it and try it out.
 

JimFox

Moderator
Staff member
This is a great way to do that Ken. The History Brush can be a powerful tool when we remember to use it. :)
 

Kyle Jones

Moderator
I'll have to give that a try. I'm so tied into luminance masks at this point that I can't see myself moving away from them. Never hurts to have more tools available though!
 

Ken Rennie

Well-Known Member
I'll have to give that a try. I'm so tied into luminance masks at this point that I can't see myself moving away from them. Never hurts to have more tools available though!
Kyle you can use this technique with luminosity masking and it becomes very powerful. Try this from Alister Benn he uses Tony Kuyper, I use Lumenzia but their is not a lot of difference apart from TK has better tools to refine the masks.
Ken
 

AlanLichty

Moderator
Interesting technique. I played around with it a bit just to see how it worked and can think of some applications for this. Thanks for the writeup.
 

Ben Egbert

Forum Helper
Staff member
I am trying this but when I attempt to use the history brush it says it only works in 8 bit mode. If I convert to 8 bit at this point, it says the history cannot be used because it was created in 16 bit. I will start over in 8 bit, but wanted to mention this.
 

AlanLichty

Moderator
I am trying this but when I attempt to use the history brush it says it only works in 8 bit mode. If I convert to 8 bit at this point, it says the history cannot be used because it was created in 16 bit. I will start over in 8 bit, but wanted to mention this.
I am using it in 16 bit mode and have not had an issue with this. Which version of Photoshop are you using? I am using 21.1.3.
 

Ben Egbert

Forum Helper
Staff member
I also have 21.1.3

I just tried 8 bit and got the same message, the layers don't match the current bit mode. Maybe this is because all but the most basic steps I use are Topaz. Other than setting white and black point all my steps are Topaz. I may try some stuff on layers, like saturation or so in and see it it works.

I never get the brush symbol when I clock on the history brush.
 

AlanLichty

Moderator
One of the quirks about the History Brush is that your current screen image cannot deviate from the canvas size of the most recent History Snapshot. If you crop an image then you have to create a new snapshot in order to be able to specify that as the source. The History Brush can't be used on the crop.

One thing to try is to create a new snapshot from your image in the History panel. Right click on the most recent edit in the History panel and then select New Snapshot. This will create a new entry at the top of the History Panel and you can select that new entry to set it as your History Brush source. I had to do that with my Panorama Point shot a few days ago since the canvas size of the entry at the top of the History Panel didn't match the canvas size of the merged panorama.
 

Ben Egbert

Forum Helper
Staff member
Ok, after some playing around, I may have stumbled onto my problem. It does work with Topaz (if it is working).

After I create a dupe layer and change the blend mode and opacity of that new layer, I only get the brush if I go to the layer below the new one. I expect the new layer to be an adjustment layer, but I cannot get any brush on the new layer, only one below it.
 

AlanLichty

Moderator
That could be it - the only tool I use from Topaz prior to touchups with the History Brush is AI Clear. I do almost all of my light and color balancing in Lightroom prior to importing it to PS and then immediately run AI Clear to clean everything up followed by making a new layer for the History Brush. If I do any further Topaz adjustments I create a new layer once I am done with History Brush.

Most of the Topaz tutorials that mention AI Clear recommend using Clear before any other adjustments in either PS or the Topaz tools.
 

Ken Rennie

Well-Known Member
The easiest way to stop problems like this is to ensure that in the history window you ensure that you select the source for your history brush at the latest major change ie stamp a new layer or crop or use Topaz or indeed change to 8 bit mode but I can't think why you would want to do it. I explain how to select the history brush source earlier in this post. Alister uses snapshots to choose his source but I find that can be confusing. Need any help just ask. I have just used Viveza and indeed it seems not to work but all I did was select the Viveza stage as my history brush source, I am asuming that Viveza does the same kind of thing as Topaz. Need any help, just ask. Ken
 

AlanLichty

Moderator
You do need to make a new snapshot when you have just created a stitched panorama if you use PS panorama stitching. PS has a quirk where it starts the history with the first image in the stitching sequence rather than the merged result. I do use the Stamp Visible to make a new layer out of the panorama layers but until I created a new snapshot from the Stamp Visible layer I couldn't use the History Brush.

I typically do my light and color balancing in Lightroom and then sync the images to be stitched in LR prior to selecting the images and then using Merge to Panorama in PS to initiate the stitching task.
 

Ken Rennie

Well-Known Member
Alan do you ever use reposition when stitching, if Lightroom had that stitching option I would do almost all of my stitching in lightroom as I find it easier to do the colour and luminosity after the stitch rather than before. Ken
 

AlanLichty

Moderator
I almost always use Reposition. Especially if I use my 24mm TS-E lens for the panorama frames. I am not a fan of how Lightroom does stitching and on TS-E shifted panoramas it isn't even close to being correct. I wish LR did give me options for the stitching technique.
 

Ben Egbert

Forum Helper
Staff member
I am not familiar with what a snapshot is or how to use it. I am selecting the history in the history window with my last change is that the only history I can use? I always use duplicate layer and don’t use shortcut keys



the questions I still have are
1 which layer do I change opacity and blend mode?
2 which layer do I select when applying the history brush?
3 is the history brush applying the effects of the history selected plus the blind mode?
 

Ken Rennie

Well-Known Member
I am not familiar with what a snapshot is or how to use it. I am selecting the history in the history window with my last change is that the only history I can use? I always use duplicate layer and don’t use shortcut keys



the questions I still have are
1 which layer do I change opacity and blend mode?
2 which layer do I select when applying the history brush?
3 is the history brush applying the effects of the history selected plus the blind mode?
Ben if I understand you correctly.
you will be in the top layer but you are changing the opacity and blend mode of the history brush
the history brush is applying the effect using whatever layer you have selected as a source ie open the history window and look and see where the history brush is selected.
I don't know what a blind mode is.
Alister Benn uses snapshots in a very strange way that I have never seen other experts use eg Tony Kuyper and Marc Adamus. I don't use snapshots probably because I don't really understand what they do that can't be done by other means but I have never tried to paint in different colour balances onto the same layer and I see that Alister Benn can do that. Does this help?
 

AlanLichty

Moderator
Ben - Best advice given where you are starting from is to watch the first 10 minutes of the embedded video in Ken's narrative above. It gives an excellent overview of the controls.
 

Ben Egbert

Forum Helper
Staff member
I meant blend mode, not blind mode. Now Alan answered an important question, I have never used history brushes before and did not know I could set blend mode and opacity there. Now I need to watch the video and try again. I am not as stupid as it must seem. I started using Photoshop around 2000 and have read dozens of books an learned many processes only to forget them because they did not work well for me.

I am afraid of local adjustments because it requires a very good eye to know when it is enough and/or because it leaves witnesses. Not to say I don't do a lot of brushes on a layer but still I tend to do most adjustments in ACR and then use global adjustments in Photoshop. This works most of the time and I never really learn more intricate levels of Photoshop.

But I really do want to learn this so I will watch the tutorial and learn how the controls work.
 
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