Back to Basics: A Refresher on the Dodge, Burn and Sharpen Tools in Photoshop

Photoshop is a program of many talents; however, there are three tools that you probably haven’t used much for some time now. As some of the first features to find their way into Photoshop, the Dodge, Burn and Sharpen tools have quickly become dismissed as blunt tools of the past.

However, as Photoshop Principal Product Manager Bryan O’Neil Hughes explains in the video above, these three tools have become much more refined and usable since the release of Photoshop CS4. In the five-minute Photoshop Playbook episode above, he re-introduces you to these selective editing tools and how to best use them so that you can maybe add them back into your workflow.

It’s a great refresher for anyone who hasn’t touched the Dodge, Burn or Sharpen tools in a while, or for the beginner who is maybe just now learning how to use this powerful program. Press play to check it out for yourself, and once you’re done watching Hughes do his thing, feel free to add to his instruction in the comments down below with some pro tips of your own.

  • Guest

    Reason why I will never use these tools again is because you work destructive like in the video. Using it on a 50% gray layer in overlay is semi-destructive and you’ll loose the whole “protect tone” point which is why a light and dark curve is my D&B option.

  • Irishhighviking

    Adjustment layers are great but D&B are essential tools. Thank you for sharing. Please keep them coming.

  • bob cooley

    Funny – those are about the only tools I use in Photoshop 90% of the time.

  • Matias Gonua

    Pretty cool video.

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  • mikeaubrey

    Did you watch the video? The approach he took was 100% non-destructive. The edits existed only in a separate layer. They didn’t directly touch the original file.

  • Chris

    Non-destructive, but clunky. You could make the same argument about basically everything else in Photoshop. For example, instead of using non-destructive layer masks to crop something from an image, you could just copy the layer and delete regions. The original image is still there as a hidden layer, so you can always get it back. But it’s obviously not an ideal situation. Same thing with adjustment layers – you could just copy a layer and apply curves directly to it … but it’s clunky to then go back to the original if you want to change what you did.

  • jwinford

    Soooo a good reason to just purchase Lightroom hehe