Using Adobe Photoshop 5 -- Ch 15 -- Adjusting Tone with Dodge, Burn, and Sponge
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Using Adobe Photoshop 5
- 15 -
Adjusting Tone with Dodge, Burn, and Sponge
Adjusting Tone with Dodge, Burn, and Sponge
The Photoshop manual devotes a whole two paragraphs to the toolset we look at in this chapter. The reason they can look at it in such brevity while we consider it in length is that the Dodge, Burn, and Saturation tools are very easy to use. A few paragraphs is all that is needed to understand the basics of how the tools work. Understanding when, where, and why to use them is a different story (see Figure 15.1).
FIGURE 15.1 The Dodge, Burn, and Sponge tools are located in a pop-out menu in the Toolbox.
The Dodge and Burn tools are based on the darkroom practice of dodging and burning photographs to control the amount of light, and hence the tonality of specific areas of an image. Although the enlarger allowed global changes to the entire image, photographers sometimes needed to lighten or darken specific areas or objects.
The same requirement exists in Photoshop, where it is sometimes necessary to modify an image locally rather than globally. The global commands such as Curves, Levels, or any other Adjust commands don't give the local control necessary in many instances. And although you can select an area and use something such as Curves, many find it to be a counter-intuitive approach.
The Dodge tool lightens an area as it is applied to a color image. In the darkroom, photographers would cut out a disk of cardboard and attach it to a stick or piece of stiff wire. When the enlarger was exposing the image, they would wave the tool over the area they wanted to lighten, restricting the light to the desired area. The reduced exposure resulted in a lighter image. The Dodge tool doesn't work in all modes
The Dodge tool does not work on Index color and Bitmap files. To use the tool on these file types, first convert them to RGB by selecting the Image menu and choosing Mode and RGB. After you finish with the tool, you can convert back to Index or Bitmap by selecting it in the Mode submenu. The Dodge tool offers a pair of tool controls in the Options dialog box, which is accessed by double-clicking the Dodge tool in the Toolbox. The Exposure control determines how quickly the area is affected. A higher setting lightens the area quickly, whereas a lower setting builds it up gradually. It is usually a better idea to start with a lower setting, which gives more control over the final result, as shown in Figure 15.2.
FIGURE 15.2 The Dodge tool Options palette.
In addition to the Exposure control, there is also a tonal range pop-up menu that offers a choice between Highlights, Midtones, and Shadows. This setting determines the tonal range in the image that is affected by the Dodge tool. Set it for shadows to lighten only the shadows, ignoring the highlights and midtones.
The step-by-step lessons that follow illustrate how you can use these tools.
Using the Dodge tool
- 1. Double-click the Dodge tool to select it and open the Options palette.
- 2. Select Highlights from the Options palette pop-up menu and set
the Exposure to 10.
- 3. With an appropriate sized brush selected, brush in circles over the light areas in the image, creating a bleached effect (see Figure 15.3).
FIGURE 15.3 Lighten the foreground of the image with the Dodge tool.
If the tool doesn't seem to be working... If using the Dodge or Burn tool seems to have no effect on your image, check the Exposure and tonal range settings in the Options dialog box. If the pop-up menu is set to Shadows and you're working on a light area, the tool will have no effect. In addition, if the Exposure setting is set very low, the effect could be very slight and gradual, giving the appearance of having no effect at all.
The Burn tool works in the opposite way of the Dodge tool, making the image darker rather than lighter. In the darkroom, photographers would take a piece of cardboard, poke a rough hole in it, and shine the light of the enlarger only on the areas that needed to be darkened. The Burn tool operates in the same way (minus the cardboard and the enlarger of course).
The Options palette for the Burn tool shows the same controls as the Dodge tool, offering the ability to control the Exposure and specify a tonal range to be effected.
Using the Burn tool
- 1. Select the Burn tool from the Dodge/Burn/Sponge pop-up menu
and double-click the Burn tool to open the Options palette.
- 2. Select Shadows from the Options palette pop-up menu, and set
the Exposure to 10.
- 3. With an appropriate sized brush selected, brush in circles over the dark areas in the image, toning down the shadows (see Figure 15.4).
FIGURE 15.4 Use the Burn tool to darken and saturate the shoes.
The Sponge tool breaks with the nice photography metaphor we've been using to this point. To my knowledge, photographers don't sit in the darkroom and dab sponges on their photos. They do however, use them in Photoshop.
Keep the tools moving
In the darkroom, photographers dodge and burn using a constant circular motion, keeping the tool moving the entire time. This is to avoid any sharp edges around the area being modified. The same is true for the Dodge and Burn tool in Photoshop. Use a feathered brush, a low exposure, and build up the effect with a repetitive circular motion. The Sponge tool controls the saturation in a color image and the contrast in a black-and-white image. Saturation refers to the intensity and purity of the color in an image. Scenes such as sunsets, bright summer days, and night photography tend to be overly saturated. When you modify saturation, you need to be careful, in that too much saturation can make an image look unnatural. In select spots, or for more of a graphic effect, saturation can be a powerful tool.
In the Sponge tool Options palette, the tonal range pop-up menu has been replaced by the Saturate/Desaturate pop-up menu (Figure 15.5). Select one or the other to increase or decrease the color intensity. Although the name on the other control has been changed from Exposure to Opacity, the result is still the same; increase the value and the effect is applied faster.
FIGURE 15.5 The Sponge tool Options palette.
Using the Saturation tool
- 1. Select the Sponge tool from the Dodge/Burn/Sponge pop-out menu,
and double-click the Sponge tool to launch the Options palette.
- 2. Select Desaturate from the Options palette pop-up menu and set
the Opacity to 20.
- 3. With an appropriate-sized brush selected, brush in circles over the midtone areas in the image to soften and tone down the color values (Figure 15.6).
FIGURE 15.6 Desaturate the background to emphasize the subject matter.
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