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  • Article: Dodging & Burning for Digital Enhancement


    Hi All!

    It's been a while since I've posted up my articles. Well, I've managed to get some good rest from work this CNY holidays and it has also given me some time to explore the hobby I love, photography and anything to do with it!

    Well, this time around I'll be describing a digital photo editing effects, one which is not new to some of our professional photographers but is nevertheless a contemporary and interesting effect to be applied for those adventurous one.

    I am talking about digital Dodging and Burning.

    Dodging and burning are two simple techniques which you can use to enhance to dynamic level of your digital photographs further. Although dodging and burning is not a new technique and has been practiced by film photographers manually in the past, it has been revived in a new style of digital photo editing - to stretch & compress the dynamic level of digital images.

    Simply put, you are not just adjusting brightness, saturation and contrast, you can also edit parts of your photos independantly to create a kind of hyper-realistic image.

    HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography has its roots in this, but I'd look at this two effects differently. Where HDR is more of a automated or technical effect, manual dodging and burning is more of a subjective effect as intepreted by the photographer.

    The Photography

    The effect works best with shots that have been taken with "planned" lighting. You can see example of these with works by Jill Greenberg and Dave Hill the combination of soft frontal lighting, side highlights and several spots for selected background.

    These are the "base" for this sort of editing effects, because you will be dodging the highlights created by the lights and burning the original shadows. In this manner you are not creating something fake but rather enhancing what is already created in your photography.

    Of course, you can still get good lighting with basic equipment and you can still apply some of these effects with just a camera's on-board flash or a speelight, but the effects are not as obvious.

    I'll cut the explanations short and explain with these pics as I go along.

    The Examples

    Here is a before & after picture set that highlight the difference between a non-edited picture and one that has been dodged and burnt.

    [ATTACH]53041[/ATTACH] [ATTACH]53042[/ATTACH]

    Here is an explanation of what was done to this picture

    [ATTACH]53043[/ATTACH]

    Here is another two example:

    [ATTACH]53044[/ATTACH] [ATTACH]53045[/ATTACH]
    See the difference between the two?

    The first is a good picture but the colour level throughout the picture
    is constant and the model blends in with the background. In the
    second picture, the skin of the model has been enhanced with highlights
    and well-placed shadows and the background has been burnt to darken
    the otherwise distracting elements.

    The Techniques

    It's quite simple to start the process.
    1. You should begin with a well exposed image of your subject.
    2. To lighten parts of your image, use the dodge function and burn to darken.
    3. Set the "exposure" (or opacity) level of the brush to about 10%. You can adjust this figure but for me, this is best to make fine d&b adjustments to my picture.
    4. Use and a suitably sized brush. Remember, you will need to constantly resize your brush throughout the process of dodging and burning.
    5. You should be dodging and burning with a few passes. The more passes you make, the more the effects will be applied.
    6. Apply a high contrast setting for your picture to further make your picture "pop".
    7. Once you are satisfied with the adjustments, you can either finish it off like that or apply further enhancements with saturation and sharpness.


    [ATTACH]53046[/ATTACH]

    The effects doesn't have to be as overwhelming as some of the effects you may have seen but even a slight application of the technique can help to create a stronger impact.

    [ATTACH]53047[/ATTACH] [ATTACH]53048[/ATTACH]

    [ATTACH]53049[/ATTACH]

    You can see some more example of these effect as well as some HDR examples here : CLICK HERE
    Last edited by sharpshooter; 12-10-2009, 02:17 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Article: Dodging & Burning for Digital Enhancement

    Good one.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Article: Dodging & Burning for Digital Enhancement

      Thanks for sharing .......Sifu

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Article: Dodging & Burning for Digital Enhancement

        u get my respect to share this info that i wish to learn.
        Thanks for such a good info sharing

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Article: Dodging & Burning for Digital Enhancement

          Thank you for sharing, kenji.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Article: Dodging & Burning for Digital Enhancement

            As always Ken, excellent article. You've been very kind to share your knowledge.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Article: Dodging & Burning for Digital Enhancement

              First class article!
              Dr Koh Kho King
              Wise men still seek Him!
              www.shashinki.com - Malaysia's First & Largest Online Camera Shop!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Article: Dodging & Burning for Digital Enhancement

                thanks for sharing SS
                Flash light diffuser here

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Article: Dodging & Burning for Digital Enhancement

                  Thanks. I'm glad it has helped. Like I mentioned, it's a contemporary editing style and I am sure many of you have been wondering how the effect is created.

                  Have fun trying it out.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Article: Dodging & Burning for Digital Enhancement

                    very informative! TQ!!!
                    Your 1st 10,000 shots are your worst - H.C. Besson; thank god for memory cards.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Article: Dodging & Burning for Digital Enhancement

                      thanks .... now is time to try it...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Article: Dodging & Burning for Digital Enhancement

                        Still couldn't able to get the results you get .
                        I'm quite blur on how to use it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Article: Dodging & Burning for Digital Enhancement

                          Perhaps if you'd like to post your trial here, I can help you out.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Article: Dodging & Burning for Digital Enhancement

                            cool. so this is where the effects are from.. thank you for sharing..

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Article: Dodging & Burning for Digital Enhancement

                              Oh and just in case you guys were wondering, this effect doesn't only work with beautiful girls only.

                              These are NOT HDR images... They are simply a single JPG that has been dodged and burnt (saturated & sharpened) as per my tutorial above.

                              Here is before:
                              [ATTACH]53174[/ATTACH]

                              Here is after:
                              [ATTACH]53175[/ATTACH]

                              Here is it in B&W:
                              [ATTACH]53176[/ATTACH]

                              Comment

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