The Digital Photo Guy

Dodge, Burn and Sponge Tools

by on Oct.17, 2010, under Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing, Photoshop Elements

Easy-Peasy, Lemon Squeezy

Learning Phooshop and Photoshop Elements isn’t rocket science but it’s not quite like falling off a log either. There are definite steps you need to master before you can advance to more complex techniques. Today’s Video MMT tackles the Dodge, Burn and Sponge Tools, a trio of useful but klutzy tools that require a delicate touch. A lot of people say the Dodge and Burn Tools in PSE are lame but it’s really a matter of what you’re trying to do. The power of PS and PSE lies in the fact that there are many ways to do the same thing and which tool you use depends on the photo, what you’re trying to accomplish and your skill level.

Like many MMT and VMMT ideas, this was triggered by a student question after a recent Wild Animal Park Photoshoot Workshop. After the workshop, he e-mailed a photo (left, below) and asked for my critique.

I quickly hit it with Topaz Labs Adjust 3 (center, above) and explained how I toned down the bright highlights and pumped up the saturation of the meerkat to increase contrast from the background. He then wanted to know how to do the same in PSE so I edited the 3rd photo (right, above) using just tools in PSE. Today’s VMMT explains how I did that.

If this is how you like to learn, in an interactive process before, during and after the class, check out my hands-on workshops. Once you take my classes, you’re my student for life.

This video may take a few moments to load so be patient.

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Keep in mind that I spent a grand total of 5 minutes on this photo so it’s not as good as the Topaz Adjust version. This purpose of this video is to show you how to use the Dodge, Burn and Sponge Tools to create an effect.

By the way, Dodge and Burn are old chemical darkroom terms. When a photographer wanted to darken an area, he/she would “burn” the area by using their hand to create a circle that allowed more light to pass through, creating a darker area. When they wanted to lighten an area, they would use their hand to dodge the light, allowing less light to pass through. Often, cardboard with a hole cut into it was used to burn and a “lollipop” was used to dodge.

Topaz Adjust Webinar

In case you missed the announcement last week, Topaz Labs may present another free webinar in November. Keep checking this site for updates. After viewing this week’s VMMT and seeing the results, you’ll want to see how Topaz Labs can improve your photo editing, decrease your time in front of the PC and make you wealthy! (Well, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad)

Website Maintenance

This site may be down off-and-on during the day, Tuesday, October 19 for maintenance. I hired a smart guy who, I hope, is going to make my site secure so my readers can’t catch nasty viruses, spam, scams or become infested with Internet cockroaches. So far, for the last 3 years, I’ve managed to avoid them but I want to stay ahead of the vermin. Think of this as a visit from the exterminator.

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