Tuesday, February 23

CoffeeShop Editing 101: Dodge and Burn Tutorial and PS/PSE Action!

You might have noticed that I am trying to organize this blog more.I now have updated my Action Install page (button link on top) and I am also putting together a FAQs page (button link on top). I will be adding as things come up. I am trying to make this blog easier to navigate and also be able to answer more of your questions. :-)

We were chatting over on my Flickr CoffeeShop group about using dodge and burn (lighten and darken) on images in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. The dodge and burn tools are pretty effective on the newest versions of each program, but some of us prefer doing it "old school".

BTW, I used my free CoffeeShop Color Block It action on the after sample above. A few people over at my Flickr CoffeeShop group suggested trying to make a version that adds a texture to the color block area. Look at this beautiful image from Kelly. I love this effect and I will see if I can make a second version that lets you easily add texture. I love new ideas and my readers are the best!

I never dodge or burn directly on my image. I always make a duplicate of the background or use the little tip I am sharing today.

Old School Dodge/Burn:

This tutorial works in both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. And if you want to save some time, you can download my little free action below. ;-)

1. Make two blank new layers over your background.
2 Edit/Fill both with 50% gray.
3. Put them in softlight or overlay blending mode.
4. Name one layer dodge and paint over your image with a soft white low opacity brush on areas you want to lighten. This is a wonderful way to lighten and remove minor color casts from skin.
5. Name one layer burn and paint over your image with a soft black low opacity brush on areas you want to darken. This is a great way to get a custom vignette or make your colors "pop".
6. If you make a mistake, just refill the layer with 50% gray and start over.
7. Flatten your image.

Since I am a nerd, I made an action that works in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements if you want add the dodge and burn layers quickly. You don't have to use this action on a flat image. If you have been editing and have layers, just start the action. :-)

You can download the action HERE. And you can download the PSE5 .png thumbnail HERE and the PSE6-PSE8 .png thumbnail HERE! PSE USERS, you need the .atn and a thumbnail file!

Want all of my favorite CoffeeShop Actions or Design Elements in one simple download AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures. For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


  1. THANK YOU RITA! This was the one addition I could think of that would add to your arsenal of freebies.

    I am officially ADDICTED to your site. I had downloaded all of your PSE actions, but due to some computer troubles, I'm going to be re-downloading them all again this week!

    I also spent last night reading your tutorials on clipping masks and how to design your own storyboards. I mastered it and am SO PROUD!

    THANK YOU for making these things accessible to us PSE users and for making things clear so that I can understand what I'm doing! :)


  2. I really really do adore your site and all of the wonderful things you share.

  3. Rita,
    I can't say enough how talented you are! Thanks so much for all of your time and effort put into these tutorials, actions, etc. It is greatly appreciated! :)

  4. Thank you for freebies. Link on your post was added to Lori's freebie list

  5. I've been experimenting with dodge & burn and it's kind of tricky but a very useful tool:) These tips will certainly help....and thanks for the reminder to NEVER work on the original image when doing this!

  6. Thank you! This blog post will be advertised on CraftCrave in the Tutorials category today (look for timestamp: [24 Feb 01:00pm GMT]).

  7. This is a great action. Thank you so much!!

  8. I love the burn and dodge tools. I use them alot for darkening or lightening the edges of photos or digital papers. Thanks so much for more the action and all the great info.

  9. Thanks for the action!

  10. I'm anxious to try this one out....I haven't experimented with Dodge all that much...this will really help I believe. Many thanks. :)

  11. Thank You so much for all the work you do to help us out! Your awesome!

  12. Thanks for your hard work and generosity!

  13. Thank you so much Rita, may God bless you and your family... :)

    1. Bernard, thank you so much for your kind comments. And may God bless you and your family too!!


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