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Photoshop Elements 6: The Missing Manual by Barbara Brundage

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Dodging and Burning

Like Unsharp Mask, dodging and burning are old darkroom techniques to enhance photos and emphasize particular areas. Dodging lightens and brings out the hidden details in the range you specify (midtones, shadows, or highlights), and burning darkens and brings out details (you have the same range choices as for dodging). Both tools live with the Sponge tool in the Toolbox, so you may have run into them while you were using the Sponge.

You may think that since you have the Shadows/Highlights command, you don't have any need for these tools. But they still serve a useful purpose because they let you make selective changes, rather than affecting the entire image or requiring tedious selections, the way Shadows/Highlights does. When you dodge or burn, you just paint your changes. Figure 12-13 gives an example of when you might need to work on a particular area. Of course, you can also make a selection (see Chapter 5) and then use Shadows/Highlights just on that area, which is another technique that you may want to try as well as dodging and burning.

Skillful use of dodging and burning can greatly improve your photo, although it helps to have an artistic eye to spot what you want to emphasize and what you want to downplay. When you use the black-and-white conversion feature (Method One: Making Color Photos Black and White), use the Dodge and Burn tools to emphasize certain areas of your photos. The real masters of black-and-white photography, like Ansel Adams, relied ...

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