Burn and Dodge ‘Non-Destructively’ Tutorial

It has been some time since I posted any kind of tutorial.  I think it is time.  I’ve been using a technique. lately, that I learned recently.  It is a tutorial for using the ‘Dodge’ and ‘Burn’ tools easily and ‘non-destructively’.  The goal in Photoshop, ideally, is to effect ‘non-destructive’ editing.  That is when all of the filters and adjustments are on separate layers, thus, making the editing of those layers a snap.  This is so that one can save the .PSD file and come back to it at a later time and still be able to affect changes to it.  Clear as mud, right?  LOL 
When one uses the ‘Burn’ tool, it affects the actual layer.  It darkens, or ‘burns’, the image layer, so that, if you changed your mind later, you would have to re-upload that image and start over.  For this reason, I seldom used either of these tools.  Supposedly, if you add too much ‘Burn’, you can undo it by going over it with ‘Dodge’.  It never looks right, though!  It’s hard to ‘Dodge’ over the same exact spots as the ‘Burn’, as well.  
With this technique, all of your ‘Burn’ and ‘Dodge’ effects are on their own layer, not the image layer.  When you use either of these tools, you can’t get any results by applying them to the empty layer just above the desired layer.  Unless, that is, that layer is filled.  Fill it with ‘Edit’ > ‘Fill’ > ‘50% Grey’ and change the blending mode to ‘Overlay’.  It will be as good as invisible.  Yet, when you apply ‘Burn’ and/or ‘Dodge’ to it, they will show up just as if you applied them to the image layer itself.  Try it!
Here are a couple of screen shots to show what I mean.  I’m using some vintage frames from Star Sunflower Studios, “CU4CU Frames 5 Freebie”, available HERE.  For the purposes of this tutorial, I am going to ‘age’ one a little more with the ‘Burn’ tool.
Here is what I start out with:(I am using CS5 for this tutorial)

While the layer I want to ‘Burn’ is highlighted/selected, click on the ‘New Layer’ tab at the bottom of the Layers Palette.

Go to ‘Edit’ > ‘Fill’ > ‘50% Grey’.

When the box pops-up, select ‘50% Grey’.

You will see this:

This is when you need to change the blending mode to ‘Overlay’.

And, voila!  Good as invisible!

But, as you see, because the frame is transparent, the ‘Grey’ is showing in the blank spaces surrounding it.  We need to clip the Gray layer onto the frame with a ‘Clipping Mask’.  Right-click over the Gray layer and select ‘Create Clipping Mask’.

This is what you end up with:

It looks just like it did when we started!  Yet, look at the Layers Palette.  Now, we have an invisible Grey layer in there and that is where we are going to add the ‘Burn’ and ‘Dodge’.  After selecting the ‘Burn’ tool, go up to the Menu Bar and set the ‘Range’ to Mid-tones and the ‘Exposure’ to 10% to start out.  
With a soft brush around 200px, burn around the edges, or where ever you wish to add the burn.  Here is just a wee example:

This isn’t a real good example, but, you can see that the ‘Burn’ tool worked great on the Gray layer.  Zoom in on the above image and see how the Gray layer is ‘Burnt’.  I simply ran it around the edge.  If you don’t like the results, delete that layer and create a new Gray layer.  Easy-peasy!  The ‘Dodge’ tool works, as well, though, I only added a little bit right in the middle of the frame.  Give it a whirl and see what you think!  If you use these two tools to add shading and highlighting to an image, this will give you a little more leeway.  Try different blending modes on the Gray layer, or leave it on ‘Overlay’.  You could even duplicate the Gray layer several times to get a heavier effect.  This image is with the Gray layer duplicated only once:

The original ‘Frame’ layer is completely intact, too!  We haven’t touched it.  If you save this file, as is, with the layers not merged, in .PSD format, you can return to it at any time and change any part of it to adapt to your needs.  Change the color, using the ‘Adjustment Layer’ feature, also at the bottom of the Layers Palette.  Those adjustments go to their own layer right above where you need it.  Here, I added a violet color adjustment layer with an ‘Hue’ blending mode applied to it.

I got this:

Font:  KingThings – ‘Willow’

Cool, huh?  LOL  And, if I ever need a green label, it’s simple a matter of turning off the violet color layer and adding a new ‘Color Adjustment Layer’ for my choice of green.  I can change any part of it!  This will certainly be useful for photo-manipulations, particularly, if you are having problems getting the light right.  You can try it out on a Gray layer until you get the results you like. 
I know that there are other ways to go about every thing I have shown you here.  There are keystrokes that could be used and other ways to ‘Fill’ a layer.  But, to try to keep this short enough so as to prevent ‘Novel-length’ status, I leave them out, this time.  See what I made?  I needed one for my blog, anyway.  I moved all of my ‘blinkies’ to their very own page and need a new button to click on to get there.

I hope this is understandable.  If you have any questions, please, do not hesitate to ask in the comments below.  Be sure to stop by Star Sunflower Studios and get your own set of these frames.  By the way, there is a PS Shape in the file with the frames, too.  Say “Hi” to Sü for me!  LOL
FYICommon ‘Umlaut’ letters:Type ‘Alt’, then, the number combination.Alt + 129 = ü
Alt + 137 = ë
Alt + 148 = ö
Now, when ya’ll go see Sü, you can impress her by typing her name in the comments as she does!  LOL
I have a freebie in the works.  It will be up in a day or so.  Also, don’t forget Monday, Miss Edna and I come out with our February freebie.  It’s purdy!  LOL
Until then…
SU CheshireCat

2 thoughts on “Burn and Dodge ‘Non-Destructively’ Tutorial

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.