Anything Photoshop or Photography

HOW TO USE LINEAR DODGE (ADD) & LINEAR BURN BLEND MODES ON IMAGE

Painted image of a Laughing Kookaburra at the West Palm Beach ZooThis week just presenting a short blog – still organizing in office. This technique is another simple way to dodge and burn an image using blend modes. I figure you cannot have too many different techniques for this  – some pictures just do better with one over another. (Check out Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs links at end for some other techniques.) The bird above is a Laughing Kookuburra taken at the West Palm Beach Zoo. He has some very beautiful colors in his feathers.

This technique I learned at a Photoshop World several years ago and am not sure who even presented it. It was just in my notes so I thought I would give it a try and got some really nice results! For the bird the Linear Dodge (Add) blend mode really softened his head and the Linear Burn blend mode did a great job on darkening the feathers on his body.

The workflow is pretty simple:

  1. Duplicate the image twice after doing the basic color and tone corrections to the image.
  2. Add black layer masks to each layer by holding ALT key while clicking on the Add Layer Mask icon (rectangle with circle in center) at the bottom of the Layers Panel or by pressing CTRL+I in a white layer mask.
  3. Now on the top duplicate layer, change the blend mode to Linear Burn and name it Darken.
  4. On the layer underneath, change the blend mode to Linear Dodge (Add) and name it Lighten.
  5. Using a soft round brush set the Options Bar Opacity to 9% and Flow 55%.
  6. On the Lighten layer mask paint in white over areas to brighten. Do same for Darken layer mask on areas to darken. Since the Opacity and Flow are set fairly low, it will be a build up effect to get just the amount needed.

It is a very easy way to add a little color and/or focus to different parts of your image. If the effect is too strong, just lower the layer opacity. Also, the Linear Dodge (Add) blend mode could be used as a spotlight effect to fill darker areas with some soft light.

Just to let you know what is happening here with this blend mode, here are the blend mode explanations according to Lesa Snider of in her Photoshop CS6 – the Missing Manual book (an excellent book BTW):

Linear Dodge (Add) – “Lightens your images by increasing its brightness. It is a combo of Screen and Color Dodge modes, so it lightens images more than any other blend mode. But since it tends to turn all light colors white, it can make an image look unnatural.”

Linear Burn – “In this mode (which is actually a combination of Multiply and Color Burn), Photoshop darkens your image by decreasing its brightness. Linear Burn produces the darkest colors of any Darken blend mode, though with a bit more contrast than the others. It has a tendency to turn dark pixels solid black, which makes it ideal for grungy, textured collages…”

From this it is apparent that Linear Dodge (Add) can make an image look unnatural so take care when using it. And Linear Burn can give a grungy effect so watch the results of this. Therefore if your image does not look quite right, try changing the layer blend modes to Screen or Color Dodge for the Lighten layer, and Multiply or Darken blend modes on the Darken layer. Experimenting with blend modes can give some great effects! Image of a Dragonhunter bug on flowerThis image is of a Dragonhunter bug (they like to eat Dragonflies) that was taken at the West Palm Beach Zoo and used this technique to bring out the wing patterns. Just painted areas to lighten and areas to darken. Used Nik Color Efex Pro 4 (now free) to add a slight vignette and the Sunlight filter to soften some of the bokeh effect that is a little too bright.

Hope you get a chance to try this little technique – pretty easy to do and can give some great results. See ya later!…..Digital Lady syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
How To Use Curves Adjustment Layers to Dodge and Burn an Image
The Best Dodging and Burning Technique!
What Does the Difference Blend Mode Do?

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4 responses

  1. Very useful as I’ve never been sure how to use the linear tools! Thank you.

    07/09/2016 at 1:42 pm

  2. Cool way to lighten and darken, Syd. Love both images. That bug in the second one looks mean. He ears dragon flies! Big meanie!

    07/09/2016 at 11:57 pm

  3. Great tips, and thank you for sharing them here, Syd.
    Both of these images are just beautiful.
    Happy Sunday to you!

    07/10/2016 at 7:00 am

  4. Love the sweet kookaburra!
    I have never used these two blending modes, but I have tried them (with little success). They look fantastic on this bird!
    The Dragon hunter wings, and the colors in the image are so cool!

    07/12/2016 at 9:19 am

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