Just three features ago, I demonstrated the Liquify filter, which I described as “one of Photoshop’s great destructive retouching tools” (see Feature #29: Liquify). The words one of implied that more were on the way, as they are, starting this week with two tools that recently rose like twin Pheonix from the ashes, dodge and burn.
Like Liquify, D&B permanently modify pixels in the interest of making those pixels look better than when they started. Both are brushes. The dodge tool brushes in brightness; the burn tool brushes in darkness.
The interesting thing about these tools is that they used to pretty well suck in Photoshop CS3 and earlier. Dodge acted a lot like painting white with the brush tool set to Overlay; burn acted a lot like painting black again set to Overlay. While the effects were not identical, they were so similar that many experts recommended you avoid D&B altogether and instead paint on an independent layer, set to Overlay, in the interest of working nondestructively.
In CS4, that changes. D&B are now much better at preserving native highlights and shadows. And both produce effects that are entirely unlike Overlay painting. Which is why they make the Photoshop Top 40 list today.
With their help, I was able to take this undeniably metrosexual but ultimately low-contrast dude (from SePp of microstock image vendor Folotlia):
And transform him into this deliciously Halloweeny cyborg:
Oh, sure, there’s a lot more going on here than dodging and burning. But D&B were the sturdy little rockets that got the effect off the ground.
(For a list of all Photoshop Top 40 videos thus far, click this link.)
In case you didn’t already know, Photoshop Top 40 is available as a downloadable podcast from iTunes. Click here to subscribe. dekePod subscribers get the videos automatically.