Working non-destructively in Photoshop is central to effective retouching. One of the most destructive tools (or tool sets) in photoshop is the dodge and burn tools (the sponge tool is also very destructive tool and also to be avoided). I try to avoid these tools as much as possible and if I use them it would only be on a mask and never on the background layer. These tools are non too subtle that add noise and nasty artifacts. This was the case with CS3 and earlier versions, now however in CS4 things have improved dramatically with the protect tones option for these tools. I prefer to use the following method for burning and dodging :
- Add a new Layer with and fill it with 50% Grey.
- Change the blending mode to Soft Light.
- If you want to dodge or lighten the image set your foreground colour to white and use a soft brush (B) with a low opacity (under 10%) to lighten the image.
- If you want to burn or darken the image set your foreground colour to black and use a soft brush (B) with a low opacity (under 10%) to darken the image, you can do this on a different layer if you wish.
- You build up the burning and dodging effect by brushing repeatedly in the same area.
- You can change the opacity of these layers to reduce the effect, if you wish to increase the effect simply duplicate the layer.
- Painting with a 50% grey brush brings the image back to it’s original tonality.
This method can be very effective in reducing wrinkles in a subtle way by painting out the wrinkle gradually, using it in conjunction with a wacom tablet gives you better control of your brush strokes.