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How To Dodge And Burn Using Curves

Last Updated on November 1, 2020 by Devaun Lennox

In today’s video I’m gonna show you guys how to do dodging inverting but instead of doing it this time with brushes we’re actually gonna be using curves here in affinity photo which is a different kind of way to do it it may be a little bit easier I personally do it this way as opposed to using the brushes that I showcased in a previous video

but nonetheless I’m gonna show you guys how to do it in this way as well so on screen you’ll see right here an image that I shot last month is their model sierra shot out here in Las Vegas with my creative team we are using iPad 10.5 inch the iPad pro Apple pencil we’re using the latest version of affinity photo which is version 1.4.7 I believe and lo just loaded the image in as a tiff file record the previous video on how to do that so check that out and yeah we’ll kind of just get started so we’re kinda already loaded up so I’m gonna show you guys in before and

after so you can kind of see what we’re gonna be out what we’re gonna be really doing here so it’s in this group and I’ll show you the before and after so before after or after and then I’ll also adjust the opacity on the group let’s see yes so you can see the subtle adjustments well it’s not a really subtle texture pretty big but nonetheless that’s we’re going to be doing using curves this time so the actual dodge and burn brushes that are already here in affinity photo which are specifically meant to do this so I’m gonna I’m gonna just disable this for the time being so

we have the default layer I did kind of work on this image using frequency separation that is not applicable to actually working on this technique I suppose for all intensive purposes we can totally just merge all these layers down and we can totally do the same thing it’s completely fine we can just merge all of these down and it’ll be the same exact thing so it’s just one layer I’m gonna show that’s important that I kind of highlight the fact that this is all you can do this through frequency separation or you can do this which is one layer and just using the main

image it works exactly the same way you’ll notice that I even though this is just one layer below the the technique that I’m showing you guys right now is also gonna be applicable so let me show you guys how to set this up so what we’re gonna be doing we’re gonna be going over into the filters tab or sorry the adjustment tab and we’re gonna hit curves and we’re gonna come down here into spline and what we’re gonna do is to setup the dodging layer so dodging is basically lifting up shadows it’s also going to be increasing highlights which could be used for

contouring but dodging to set that up we’re gonna actually go to the middle of the this curves and we’re gonna boost that up to the actual amount doesn’t really matter quite that much I just usually do somewhere in the middle of the square so something like that and then what we’re gonna do is go back to our layers panel we’re gonna hit the plus button and we’re gonna hit empty math layer so that it’s not visible alright so this is going to be our dot or yeah or dodging layer and we’re gonna hit up here and I’m going to rename that so it’s easier so I’m gonna

name this Dodge so that’s nice and easy so we know exactly we’re working on all right and then to set up our burning layer we’re gonna do the same exact thing we’re gonna go back into adjustments curves spline and we’re gonna bring it down into this block right here I’m sorry it didn’t actually make a new it didn’t make a new one so I actually hit your low-frequency layer and then go into curves then do this then spline it and then boom in the middle of this block alright boom and then same thing we’re gonna go hit the plus MT math layer and we’re gonna go

right here and rename this to burn and cool so we have those set up already so we have the Dodge and the burden layer so my practice when it comes to dodging and burning especially when using this technique I always do dodging first so that can bring up the shadows and I can get the exposure of the face or the or the chest and the rest of the body or the garments and the overall exposure of the entire image to where I want it to be and then I can just drop down the highlights using the burn and then from that standpoint using the mixture both of them to

contour that’s just kind of my workflow I don’t know if that would be your workflow but that’s just kind of what I what I do so that’s what I’m gonna show you guys how to do so we’re gonna go into the dodging adjustment layer first we’re gonna go down here then mask we’re gonna go over here to our paint brush tool and we’re gonna set the color to white hundred-percent and the only thing that we’re gonna do on both of these layers before we get started because it’s gonna be ridiculously applied it’s gonna be applied ridiculously heavy is we’re gonna drop

the opacity to both of them to 50% we’re just gonna boom hit 50% and we’re gonna go down here and at 50% so that the opacity for both little layers is at 50% and that’s for the actual curve for not for the mast layer we’re leaving the mastic at 100% opacity just want to make sure you guys are following along on that then we’re gonna go to our mass layer and paintbrush and we’re gonna basically leave this opacity here at 25 percent and then justice as needed this effect is very strong so you will definitely have to play around with the opacity you could just

kind of change the curves that are in these two these two adjustment layers you can make the curves not as strong if you want and then go harder with the opacity here in the brush settings I mean they do the same thing it doesn’t really matter you have to play around with it passed it one way or another so let’s kind of get started here I’m gonna come just work on the areas that are gonna need to be fixed and as always I kind of zoom a little bit further out when I’m doing dodging and burning so I can see what it’s doing from a greater a greater pitcher but we’re

gonna hit that mask and we’re gonna just start oh that’s yeah that’s that’s fun it did I set it up the wrong way but should be this guy oh no oh yeah right okay let me fix this real quick sorry guys he fix this rule real quick it’s not supposed to be doing that they actually changed this to the wrong thing let me sure this one’s set up to the right okay good I don’t know why I did that but okay let’s go back to where we were at excuse me for that it wasn’t doing whatever what it’s supposed to be set up did you okay so you kind of just see me as I kind of go around

starting to open up shadows there’s not a lot of shadows that need to be opened up on this image it may be kind of hard for you to follow all of what I’m doing but the main thing that I’m doing is I’m evening out exposure right now between the face the neck and the chest that’s literally all I’m doing and I’m using the dodge curves right here using that that mask and just painting on that mask with white so that it becomes transparent and I’m fixing the overall exposure of the image that’s all I’m doing I’m not really doing anything crazy quite yet we’re just

gonna be fixing the exposure of the neck and just some of these areas down here and then somewhere some of these shadows are on the face just so that we have a good foundation to then contour on top of okay so now that we have that I’m gonna go down here to the burn tool or the burn curves curves mask same thing as before oh I I didn’t talk about something make sure when you’re doing this that you have your width for both tools set up between 200 to 300 pixels your pasty at 25 percent flow 100% hardness zero so it’s soft and then you don’t need

a touch the rest of these settings protect alpha the force pressure wet edges you don’t need to touch any of those settings but make sure you have at least those and then you can adjust the size of it as needed you can just the size of the the brush with as needed and then you can also adjust the opacity if you need to as well but those are my standard settings when I’m doing this technique now we’re in the the burn the burn curves adjustment we’re now going to start the foundations of contour so I’m gonna just hit up here on the forehead a little bit I’m gonna

hit this section of the cheek there’s section of the cheek right here I’m gonna make the opacity a little bit smaller I mean the with a little bit smaller I’m gonna contour the lip these little lip lines right here I’m gonna do the bridge of the nose I’m gonna come around and I’m gonna just do the eyes I’m gonna do the eyebrows so I’m do the eyes do the eyebrows okay I’m gonna come back out I’m gonna make it bigger and we’re gonna just kind of do the hair a little bit add a little bit more move to the air here a little bit more contrast we’re going to do a little bit these

flowers up here to add a little bit more depth to the flowers okay now we’re going to come down into the rest of the body and we’re gonna hit the clavicles collarbones and this this neck this neck section right here and maybe just like do a very large stroke and just kind of well actually no I didn’t like that it was a little bit too heavy maybe just down here all right so let’s showcase where we’ve gotten so far Amanda merged these into a separate earth into a group and group those together and I’ll show you guys before and after okay I don’t know what what

it did right there I was really weird oh okay my bad let me redo that merge into a group okay there you go so before and after so before after or after okay that right there was just fixing the overall exposure now we’re gonna really go ham and we’re gonna start contouring and then from there we’ll be good so just on the burn mask we’re gonna just really start hitting it in some of these areas that we really want to really want to contour it and then from there we’ll pretty much be good so we’re gonna just really start smacking it does you really start smacking it

really start smacking it hitting the hard hitting it hard right now and it real hard that’s amore I mean dimension and then we’re gonna go back onto that the Dodge tool we’re gonna really bring out those highlights smack those highlights man we’re smacking them smoke them hmm and do some bring out the eyes a little bit as well hit that a little bit and then we’ll do a little bit on the neck too and then now let’s see the before and after oh dang son Laurie okay now there you are now if you think as I kind of went through that if that was like oh my god that’s like

way too much hey you know what you grab the group make sure it’s weird when it does these selections make sure the group is selected and then you can just adjust the opacity I normally go really ham on the actual individual layers and then just adjust the entire group for me 50% would be enough I wouldn’t really go to a hundred percent I thought that was way too much but that that right there is kind of what we’re able to do and you know a couple of minutes boom just the whole purpose of this technique really is to add more contouring and it’s also to fix

improper lighting technique which is you know my it’s my own fault I did shoot this image with a beauty dish and it has natural fall off from where its position which was on the face in this image it’s gonna have a natural fall off from there and the reflector may or may not have been positioned properly so but we use this technique to fixed improper lighting techniques if it’s because it’s not always perfect and then from there we use it to contour the images in contour to the faces to make the structure and make sure their bone structures just that much better

man so that’s that right there is how you use dodging or you do dodging burning using curves and affinity photo that’s gonna kind of wrap up today’s video as always hit that subscribe button down below you know while you’re down there mouse over and hit that Bell button as well so you’ll be notified when we do future videos and stay tuned and locked in on our channel has McGraw pin fresh hot content as always if you have any comments questions concerns you’d like to see us do a future video that we have the capability or skill set to do here at photo px

by all means reach out to us leave us a comment a review every single comment so hit us up man if you want to see something that we have the you will happily do a video for you and put it on the radar and get that mapped out for you and the outside of that if you want to reach out to us hit us up on social media always available on that if you have any questions your concerns and that wraps up today’s video guys until next time my friends peace out

Photo of author

Devaun Lennox

I'm a fashion, beauty, and commercial photographer turned impromptu photojournalist. Based in Las Vegas, my images are graphic, bold, and full-on contrast.