This is a very common task when retouching - brightening or darkening a specific area of an image. I wonder if people can share the differences between these methods, and what to use when.
Method 1 - The Dodge/Burn Tool
The thing that confuses me about this is the highlight/shadow/midtone option with this tool. First of all, I’m never quite sure exactly where the defining line between midtones and the other tones is.
If I just want an area to be generally brighter, do I need to dodge all three tonal ranges in separate passes?
Method 2 - Painting Black or White an a separate layer. Mode: Overlay
This seems to be the easiest that I have found. I make a separate transparent top layer, set mode to “overlay” then paint with a soft brush or airbrush white or black where I want to lighten/darken it. What are advantages/disadvantages to this versus using the dodge/burn tool?
Method 3 - Gray layer set to grain merge + dodge/burn tool
This one I picked up from a youtube tutorial on retouching people’s eyes. Part of the tutorial was:
- Make new layer
- Fill layer with middle gray (#808080)
- Set layer mode to grain merge
- Dodge tool on highlights where you want to brighten
- Burn tool on shadows where you want to darken
- Dodging and burning is done on the gray “grain merge” layer
I am not sure where this method is superior or inferior to the other two, but the results look pretty good when I use them on people’s eyes.
Can anyone say what technique to use when, or what’s going on behind the scenes with these different methods?