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Best Brush Setting for Dodge and Burn

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  • Best Brush Setting for Dodge and Burn

    Just wanted to ask the pro retouchers here their preferred Brush settings using a Wacom Tablet to perform Dodge and Burn.

    Thanks in advance for your advice.

  • #2
    Re: Best Brush Setting for Dodge and Burn

    Hi Nicky:

    Qualifier: I'm not a "pro," but I do retouch.

    I seldom use the Dodge and Burn tools. They are "destructive," i.e., they modify layer pixels which generally speaking I prefer not to do.

    For more flexibility I use Levels or Curves adjustment layers set to Screen (for dodging) and Multiply (for burning) and invert the mask via Ctrl + I. With the "airbrush" option turned on I paint white on the adjustment layer mask using a size appropriate soft-edged brush at low pressure and flow settings (values in the 25%-40% range depending on what I'm working on). The dodge/burn effects can easily be modified by airbrushing more white on the mask to expand or intensify, black to subdue or undo, or tweaking layer opacity. Multiple adjustment layers can be used and the adjustment layer controls can also be used to further modify the effect intensity.

    Although I use a mouse, the concept would work with a stylus and tablet.


    • #3
      Re: Best Brush Setting for Dodge and Burn

      I'm painting on a gray layer now but wanted to know what others use for their brush settings. Thanks Danny for the reply.


      • #4
        Re: Best Brush Setting for Dodge and Burn

        OK... I don't use 50% gray layers for dodge, burn. Use them for "paint with light" method on occasion, but prefer adjustment layers for reasons noted previously.

        For the WACOM illiterate like me, for what specific settings are you seeking advice? What have you tried so far?


        • #5
          Re: Best Brush Setting for Dodge and Burn

          Soft brush, low opacity- 5%. I do it on duplicate of the image so it can be lowered in opacity or masked or tossed out.


          • #6
            Re: Best Brush Setting for Dodge and Burn

            This is my first post.. I really have enjoyed reading many threads on here and hope to contribute in a positive way..

            I used to think that dodge and burning was bad, until I worked with one of new york's best HIGH END retouchers. His worked has appeared on the cover of Vogue and other high end magazine that like realistic style retouching.

            The fact is that different methods have their own feel. In order to do high end retouching a tablet is a must.. I have retouched skin where i use 3 popular methods at the same time: 1) two adjustment layers, one for burning and one for dodging 2) grey overlay (or softlight) and 3) dodging and burning directly on the skin layer, duplicate of course..

            To answer your question about what settings, I find for dodging and burning I get good results with a soft brush set at 5 percent opacity.
            Last edited by rodsavant; 06-17-2007, 05:52 AM.


            • #7
              Re: Best Brush Setting for Dodge and Burn

              This is a interesting thread, as i have been trying to come to terms with dodging and burning, I have not tried Danny's way but will be trying it out. most that i have read use a soft brush at 3-5 % although i have read about using 100% opacity and FLOW set to 3-5% ( i have tried this and use it a fair bit on the grey overlay method ) hopefully there will be some more interesting tips to this thread.



              • #8
                Re: Best Brush Setting for Dodge and Burn

                I think my skills are above average with the Dodge and Burn but wanted to see what other settings the pros use. Using a low opacity is a given. I'm curious about the Wacom settings now--Other Dynamics on or off? What about Air Brush or Smoothing? Pen Pressure? etc etc.

                Hope others can chime in here.


                • #9
                  Re: Best Brush Setting for Dodge and Burn


                  I have one brush that I use only. And it is set with other dynamics on with opacity jitter set to pen pressure. The only other setting for my skin work is I click on Noise.
                  Hair is totally different.



                  • #10
                    Re: Best Brush Setting for Dodge and Burn

                    A big thanks Chris! Now that I've got you, can you give me a tip for hair?

                    FYI, saw an article about you on Digital Photographer UK and Advanced Photoshop. A good read!


                    • #11
                      Re: Best Brush Setting for Dodge and Burn

                      I was wondering if there was a video tutorial showing exactly how to retouch skin using the dodge and burn. to demonstrate it actually being done to make skin clear the 'natural' retouch way. Any one know of anything?


                      • #12
                        Re: Best Brush Setting for Dodge and Burn

                        Check your local library for Katrin Eismann's retouching DVD. On it she demonstrated many techniques. Good stuff.


                        • #13
                          Re: Best Brush Setting for Dodge and Burn

                          Danny - thanks for the tip on using a curves layer for dodging & burning. I gave it a quick tryout and can see the benefit of using it. I've been doing it with a softlight layer filled with 50% gray. Thanks again.


                          • #14
                            Re: Best Brush Setting for Dodge and Burn

                            Glad to have shared a method that has served me well for quite a while. In fact when this approach (painting black/white) on adjustment layers sunk in, it turned on the lightbulb (Ding!) on how Layer Masks work.

                            FYI: Instead of using Multiply or Screen for Dodge/Burn, one can also apply settings to Levels or Curves dialogs as normal (to darken, lighten), then invert the mask (ctrl + I), set the layer blend mode to "luminosity," then airbrush white to reveal the effect. You know Photoshop...Just another way to approach this kind of thing.

                            Finally, another fav. trick is to convert a color image to BW by adding a Hue/Sat adjustment layer (Saturation = -100) or Channel Mixer adjustment layer [(x) Monochrome. Other settings to taste], then paint black on the mask to selectively reveal color from the layer below.


                            • #15
                              Re: Best Brush Setting for Dodge and Burn

                              i firmly believe that its not much of what technique you use, but a matter of how well your eyes are trained ..


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