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Quick Dodge and Burn Trick for Affinity Photo

Intro

In this tutorial I show you how to create a cool Dodge & Burn effect really quickly with Affinity Photo.

This effect can be used as is, or it can be used as a starting point to continue dodging and burning with masks and brushes.

You can also learn this technique by watching the YouTube video below, or directly on YouTube.

If you do watch on YouTube, please consider giving the video a Like, and Subscribing for more tutorials!

Tutorial

Open a photo.

First, let's create a mask over the skin in the photo. It doesn't need to be super accurate. Due to the nature of the effect it doesn't matter if the effect seeps into the background a tad.

Click the Pen Tool icon from the toolbox.

Create points around the skin.

Click the Selection button to create a selection from the object.

From the main menu, choose Select > Feather. The Feather Selection panel will appear.

Using the slider, set quite a large feather radius. In the example photo, we've gone with 362.7px. Then click the Apply button.

Press Ctrl + C, then Ctrl + V, this will copy the selection to a new layer.

We have now isolated the face area from the main image. If you would like to see it, untick the bottom layer in the layers panel, which will hide it. When you're done, tick it to turn it back on again.

You may want to fill in any gaps. Make sure the bottom layer is selected, make sure the Pen tool is selected. Then create points around any gaps. In the example photo, we've created points around a bit of a gap in the hair.

Click the selection button to create a selection from the points.

From the main menu, choose Select > Feather to bring up the Feather Selection panel.

Set the radius to a reasonable amount. In the example photo, we've gone with 74.7px. Then click Apply.

Press Ctrl + C, and then Ctrl + V to copy the selection to a new layer.

We now have two selection layers. But we only need one. So right-click the top layer in the layers panel, and select Merge Down from the menu. The two selection layers will me merged, leaving you with two layers total.

Click the Deselect button to turn the selection off.

As before, if you'd like to take a look at just the selection regions of the photo, untick the bottom layer in the layers panel. When you're done, tick it to turn it back on.

Right click on the selection layer (the top layer), and select group.

Now, the adjustments we are about to add will only affect the selection layer, rather than the whole photo.

Double-click the layer's name, and name it "Dodge & Burn", then press enter.

The next thing to do is to create some wholes for the eyeballs. The reason for this is that we don't want the dodge & burn effect to affect the eyes.

Untick the background layer in the layers panel, click the triangle next to the Dodge & Burn layer, and select the Background sub-layer.

Zoom in, then choose the Erase Brush Tool.

You can use the [ and ] keys to change the size of the Erase Brush Tool. First, erase the left eye.

Press the spacebar and drag with the mouse to pan to the right eye, then erase that too.

Zoom back out, and turn the bottom background layer back on by ticking it in the layers panel.

Now we're ready for the next stage, which is the actual Dodge & Burn effect.

Select the Pan tool (hand icon) from the toolbox. This will prevent us from accidentally erasing parts of the photo.

Click the adjustments icon at the bottom of the layers panel, and then select Brightness and Contrast from the menu.

Go to Part 2!