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Add Depth to Photos in Photoshop

Add Depth to Photos in Photoshop

We all want our images to have depth, the greater the depth the better. One way in which we can add depth to photos in photoshop is by dodging or burning. Using the Dodge or Burn tools to increase the tone in shadows and highlight can give a much richer feel to your image. We always recommend getting this right in the camera, which is why we always recommend you shoot when the sun is at a low point so that you get those nice, long, drawn-out shadows. If you can’t shoot at the perfect time of day, there’s always a fix in Photoshop.

Add Incredible DEPTH to PHOTOS in PHOTOSHOP | Dodge + Burn


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Today’s tutorial was recorded by PhotoshopCAFE.

Here at Shutter Evolve, we are huge fans of the Dodge and Burn tools to add depth to photos. We have an Episode in our Photoshop Secrets Series which covers Dodging and Burning. It doesn’t stop there, we such huge fans that we also include it in or Raya Pro panel in our filters and Finished section to help speed up your workflow.

In essence, what Dodge does is brighten your image, you can choose to brighten highlights, mid-tones, or shadows. Burn does the opposite, it darkens shadows, mid-tones, or highlights.

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Top Tips For Using Dodge & Burn

1. Add New Layers

We always like to work non-destructively, and by adding new layers we can do this with Dodge and Burn. Yes, of course, you don’t have to. Both the Dodge and Brun tool work directly on images but If you overdo it, it can’t be undone. It is much safer to use layers and work non-destructively. Add a new layer by going to the top menu, go to Layer>New>Layer… When the Dialogue Box appears, change the Blend Mode to Overlay and tick the box that says “Fill with Overlay-neutral color 50% Gray). Name your layers so you know which one is for dodging and which one is for burning and click OK.

2. Vary Your Brush Opacity 

Change the Opacity level of your brush tool often. Depending on what you are targeting, be it shadows or highlights a brush tool with the same opacity level can have varied effects. Don’t be afraid to change the opacity level of your brush several times until you get the effect you want. Even using a small opacity level of 5% can make a stronger change to your image than you might have expected.

3. Change Your Brush Size 

Use a really small brush size to get down and dirty with the finer details. By using a really large brush you can apply a huge even change to you image, like shown in the video to darken the sky. For the crevasses in the mountains, I would have changed the brush size and opacity for each crevasse to break up the uniformity that we rarely find in nature.

4. Understand and Appreciate the Light

To add depth to photos by using dodge and burn you need to be accurate. Take your time to Dodge and Burn, and be selective over the areas you want to brighten or darken. Try to imagine where the list would be coming from. Then, in turn, try to work out how that light would then affect your image. Where would it hit to form highlights or shadows? 

Add Depth to Photos in Photoshop

Add Depth to Photos

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If you liked this tutorial you might also like our article on How To Dodge & Burn in Photoshop Effectively

If you were looking for ways to Create the Illusion of Depth in Photoshop try this article.

Another way to add depth is To Blur Backgrounds In Photoshop

Add Depth to Photos in Photoshop
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