Dodging And Burning

Before we start, it's a good idea to make a duplicate layer to work on. That way you can quickly compare your progress to the starting image by turning layer visibility on and off. It also means that if it all goes horribly wrong you can just delete the layer and start again. In the layer palette, right-click on the background layer and select Duplicate Layer from the context menu.

For our example image, we'll start off with the Dodge tool using a medium-sized brush, about 170 pixels wide. Remember that you can quickly increase or decrease the size of the brush by using the square bracket ("{" and "}") keys. Set the range selector to mid-tones first, and the exposure intensity to 20 percent. Using smooth, short strokes with your mouse, brush over the lighter areas of the waterfall. The effect will be subtle, so you'll have to use a lot of strokes, but that will also produce a more natural effect.

When you've gone over the whole area of the waterfall and lightened it a little, change the range selector to highlights and reduce the brush size somewhat. Now go over the brightest areas again, intensifying the effect. Try not to overdo it though, because it's easy to burn out all your highlights to a plain white. A couple of which highlights are okay, but too many will spoil the picture. For work like this a graphics tablet and pen is an invaluable tool, since it allows much more precise control, and can also be set up so that pen pressure changes the intensity of the effect, making it easy to draw in fine highlight details.


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