Tag Archives: selection tool
If you spend time editing in Photohsop and just love to torture those pixels, especially dodging and burning, then I have some great news for you, which may cut your workflow down dramatically. A custom control panel created by Piet Van Den Eynde is available for download and what a nice little tool it is. As a rule I do not go crazy with post processing as mentioned in a recent post (LINK), but I am in the process of starting a couple of personal projects whereby I will need to go into editing mode a bit deeper and more frequently. I was not really looking forward to the prospect of that, but then after watching a Webinar by Piet, I was introduced to his control panel.
The control panel comes with a set of actions and a PDF file, which explains how to install both the actions and the control panel, the whole process takes a few minutes. As well as enabling you to dodge and burn with ease it also includes a clarity/sharpening section, Photoshop CS5 has NO clarity slider; this panel will adjust clarity for you at a press of a button. Maybe Adobe will consider including a clarity slider in one of their next updates? Lightroom has one, so why not Photoshop?
Here is how it works: -
The top two controls allow you to manually dodge and burn, either on single or separate layers.
Single and separate layer dodging and burning
Clicking this will add a new layer called ‘D & B: Paint with white to Lighten – black to Darken’ (If your Layers palette isn’t visible, choose Window > Layers to make it visible).Piet thought it would be helpful to add the basic instructions in the layer’s name. This layer is filled with 50% grey, but as it’s set to the Soft Light Blending Mode, you don’t see that grey. In order to lighten a part of a your picture, just select a brush, set white as your foreground color and paint on the layer. It’s usually best to keep the brush opacity and flow (controlled in the brush options) relatively low, use a feathered brush and build up the effect gradually. The action will display a reminder of that. Just click continue to start painting: the brush tool is already selected. If you want to darken a part, just choose black as your foreground color, and paint with that on the layer. To lighten parts, paint with white on that same layer. Hitting the X-key will allow you to toggle between black and white paint.Toggling the little eyeball layer in front of the ‘D & B’ layer will give you a before and after view. Even without seeing the full resolution picture. Tip, if your brushing is too much, you can lower the opacity. If the brush strokes are too delineated, use the Gaussian Blur filter (Filter > Gaussian Blur) on the D&B Layer.
Using the separate layer toggle.
This button actually allows you to do the same thing, but in a slightly different way.It will make 2 curves adjustement layers, one called ‘Burn (Paint with white brush to darken) and one called Dodge (Paint with white brush to lighten) If you want to lighten a part of an image, click on the layer mask of the Dodge Layer and paint with white. Again, it helps to set the opacity and flow to lower than 100% levels. Conversely, to darken parts of an image, you just select the Burn Layer and paint with white. So, which of the D&B with Brushes should you use? It really depends on your preference. The single layer technique lets your work in one layer. You just have to switch between black and white to burn or dodge, which you can do with the useful X-shortcut. The other technique offers slightly more control, because D&B layers are separate, but requires more switching layers. Piet preferes the single layer mode. Remember, since the dodging and burning is performed through layers, you can always reduce the effect by changing the layer opacity. Which ever you choose: use this technique only for very detailed dodging and burning that really requires fine brush strokes (e.g. lightening irisses in eyes or lightening the shadows from a wrinkle to make it less visible). For more general lighting and darkening of areas, we’ll use the far more easy ‘Easy Dodge & Burn with selections’.
Easy dodge and burn with selections
Add and reduce contrast
This section is the real timesaver and the workhorse of the EASYDODGE Panel. Say you have a portrait and the face needs some lightening up. You could of course use the previously discussed buttons and paint the desired effect in. But painting takes time… It’s much easier to make a – quite rough – selection of the face, for example with the lasso tool, and then hit one of the 4 Lighten buttons. These 4 buttons all do the same: they will make a curves adjustment layer that lightens the selection. The difference between the four buttons is the degree of feathering they perform on the selection: 5 px will feather the selection by 5 pixels, 25 px by 25 pixels, 75 px by 75 pixels and so on. We find those four to cover the majority of situations, but if you want, you can always tweak the settings: the featheringisdonenon-destructivelyintheMaskPanel. (Choose Window-Masks to show it if it’s not visible) and you can change it there. This Mask panel was one Piets favorite new features from Photoshop CS4. So, when you’ve made only a very small selection, such as the eyes, you’ll probably use the Lighten 5 p or 25 p. Using the 250 p would pretty much feather out your entire selection. On the other hand, if you want to lighten a big selection, use the 75 or 250 pixel buttons. The big feather is very forgiving to less- than perfect selections.
So, contrary to the D&B with Brushes button, the workflow here is:
1. first make a rough selection using any of the selection tools (Piet personally always uses the Lasso tool with my Wacom Tablet)
2. hit the appropriate button with the appropriate feather value (given the size of your selection)
The Darken buttons and the Add Contrast and Reduce Contrast buttons work exactly the same way.
Experiment with them: you’ll very quickly get the hang of which feathering you have to use in which situation.
Tip: if the feathering is not adequate, either manually adjust it in the Masks panel or delete the adjustment layer, reselect your selection (see next section on how to reselect and delete) and try with a different feather value.
Tip: the panel works best with an unfeathered selection as a start. If you have for some reason Photo- shop set up to feather a selection automatically by a certain amount of pixels, it would be a good idea to disable that when using this panel.
As the name implies, these buttons allow you to tweak the adjustment layers’ strength. The Delete Active Layer button will delete the active layer (normally, the active layer is the last added Brightening, Darkening or Contrast Altering Adjustment Layer). This is interesting in case you want to ‘undo’ an effect. The selections you make before pressing the buttons are deselected after the corresponding actions have run, but they’re still in memory. If you would like to reselect the last used selection (for example because you want to try it with a different feather value), just simply hit the ‘Reselect’ button. The inverse selection button does exactly that: it inverses the current selection. You can use it to add hand-draw vignettes: make an elliptical selection in your photograph, then hit the ‘Invert Selec- tion’ button and hit the ‘Darken’ 250 px’ button. Hit the ‘Duplicate Effect’ button to make the effect stronger. The Fade 50% button sets the opacity of the active (adjustment) layer to 50%. Use it when you like the overall effect of an adjustment, but want to moderate it. Again, just as with the feathering: you can always go to the layer palette and change the opacity with even more control. The 50% button is just there for novice users or if you want to work quickly, ‘by-the-buttons’. You can do all these things just by clicking your mouse or, better even, tapping the Stylus of your Wacom tablet. You want an effect to be stronger? Hit the Duplicate Effect button. This will duplicate the last Adjust- ment Layer. Is that too strong? Hit the Fade 50% button on the freshly duplicated layer and you’ll have something in between single and double!
Add ‘Clarity’ Layer
Finally, the ‘Add Clarity’ section will let you paint with local contrast. The effect is similar to using the Clarity Slider in Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom. There’s four buttons for you to choose from, but normally, you’ll achieve good results with the ‘Add Clarity Medium’ button. Only use the Smart Clarity button if you’re familiar with Smart Filters and their advantages and you also have a powerful computer. Hitting the ‘Add Clarity Medium’ button will add a new layer with much more local sharpness. You won’t see the effect, though, because it will be hidden by a layer mask. The idea is to only paint in the effect (by painting with a white brush) where you want the extra ‘texture’ to appear. Popular use is the eyes, hair, fabrics, rocks to name but a few.
After you’re done…
After you’re done tweaking you have two options: keeping all the adjustment layers is the most flexible (and will allow you to tweak them afterawards, but will also require you to save in the more space-consuming PSD or TIFF format. Your other option is to flatten the layers (choose Flatten Image from the Layer Menu) and then you can save as a JPG (provided you’re working on an 8 bit file).
This is a little gem of a tool and had no idea that it existed, but I am so glad that I found it. FAQ’s can be found on the below link.
The control panel costs JUST $10 and up until midnight on the 30th November 2011 there is a discount of $3. The discount code is NEAL30. As said previously, the Actions and a PDF file are included, which will get you using Easydodge in no time at all.
You can download the Control Panel here (LINK)
Here is a short video on some of the basic features of Easydodge