Metuchen High School: GIMP


Dodge and Burn                              


This is an exercise intended to show you how dodging and burning work.  The exercise you are asked to do is discussed below.

Dodging and burning are techniques that can be used to lighten or darken an area of an image. In the olden days, when you printed black-and-white photos in a darkroom with an enlarger, dodging and burning were done manually. Dodging was done by holding a light-blocking shape of plastic over the photographic paper as it was exposed to light from the enlarger, lightening the affected areas. Burning was done after the paper was exposed to light from the enlarger. The enlarger was activated again and, by holding a piece of cardboard with a hole in it over the paper, light was allowed to reach specific areas of the print, darkening them. Now it's all done with software.

Open the image you want to work on, preferably an image with an area that could be darker and another area that could be lighter.

Choose the Dodge/Burn tool from the Toolbox. This should also open the Dodge/Burn tool's Tools Options box. In the Tool Options box, Type allows you to choose either Dodge or Burn. Either Exposure or Opacity allows you to adjust the 'strength' of the tool (I haven't noticed a difference between these 2 controls). With Brush, you can change the type of brush that you'll use to paint. Size enables you to adjust the size of the brush.

There may be a degree of trial and error as you work with the Dodge/Burn tool. You may find, for example, that you've darkened an area more than you wanted to. So undo the action (CTRL-Z), adjust the tool, and try again.



I start with this image of the Empire State Building:


I use Dodge to lighten the darker side of the building. Here is the result:

I then use Burn to darken the area of the building where the bright sun is hitting.  Here is the result: