Tools for Burning and Dodging

The most commonly used tools for burning and dodging are the Brush tool and the Burn and Dodge tools. The Brush tool is, by this point, familiar from all the work you've done with masks. It is useful for burning and dodging broad areas within a photo. The Burn and Dodge tools are used similarly to the Brush tool; however, their effect on an image is quite different. They are better suited for very subtle burning and dodging changes to the photo.

The Burn and Dodge tools are located near the middle of the Toolbox below the Gradient and above the Pen tool.

Like the Brush tool, the Burn and Dodge tools have a Brush Preset picker in the Options bar for setting the Brush size and hardness. Unlike the Brush tool, the Burn and Dodge tools use an Exposure setting instead of Opacity and contain a Range pull-down menu that allows you to target your corrections to the shadows, midtones, or highlights. The Range setting is where the new, and greatly improved, Burn and Dodge tools in Photoshop CS4 really shine. By restricting your corrections to a specific tonal range, you have more control to lighten the contours of your subjects or subtly darken shadows to improve contrast.

Unfortunately, the Burn and Dodge tools are "destructive" tools, meaning their effects are immediately applied to the pixels in your image. Fortunately, by creating a specific burn and dodge layer, you can enjoy the flexibility of nondestructive editing used throughout this book.

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