How to Dodge and Burn Images with Paint Shop Pro


Paint Shop Pro (PSP) is a graphic editor for PCs, it works over Microsoft Windows operating systems and some versions also include working with Windows 7.

It´s very easy and effective to use for which it is considered the perfect tool for professionals as well as for anyone that wants to practice their creativity.

Some of the new features in the latest version are the new Organizer, Multi-photo Adjustment, Smart Carver and Express Photo among others. Some versions are freeware and others only come with a free 30 days period when you download it.

If you want to learn how to easily work in dodging and burning images – Paint Shop Pro has the brushes that can help you gently lighten or darken the image problem areas without affecting the rest of your digital photograph.

First, open the image that you want to use for dodge and burn, and then duplicate a copy of your background. To do that, ‘Right Click’ on the background image, and select ‘Duplicate’.

Now, your duplicate background should say ‘Copy of Background’. See screenshot below.

Next step is to change the ‘Blend Mode’, which means how one layer reacts with the layer below. To do that, click the drop down arrow in ‘Normal’ (make sure to highlight the duplicate background), and select ‘Multiply’.

And here’s the image result after we have set a layer blend mode to multiply. As you can see, the image is too dark. Now, you can get rid of the dark colors by doing some of the steps below.

In this case, we have created three more layers to recover the image. To do that, click on ‘New Raster Layer’.

You can rename the layer if you want to; in this case, we named it ‘Foreground’. Click on the ‘Blend Mode’ drop down arrow, and select ‘Soft Light’, and then click ‘OK’.

Your layers and backgrounds should look like in the screenshot below. As you can see, the layers' blend modes are set up with ‘Soft Light’.

We have renamed the layers according to the image where we have the tree, lake, and the sky. If you want to start working on the tree then click the layer that is saved as ‘Tree’. A brush with a soft light blend mode will then be set up for you to work on the tree, as this layer is saved with a soft light blend.

You will also have your materials palette, where black and white is the only color available for the soft light blend. Basically, if you want to set the color lighter, then you need to choose the color white, and black if you want the color darker.

You can of course change the size of your brush to make sure that you are not messing on the other parts of the image. So from a dark color, see screenshot below on how the tree looks like after a lighter soft light blend.

Next step is the sky and the lake, which in this case we chose to make it a little darker so we move back into the materials palette and click on the color ‘Black’. It is not literally black in color once you apply it into the image where you want it to be darker, but it will just create a darker color in some part of the image.

If you will look in the screenshot below, the sky and the lake is darker than how it originally looks like. It simply matches into the windy weather.

If you will look back into your layers background – the ‘Tree’ layer is with a white patch where we used white to lighten up the tree, and the ‘Sky and Lake’ layer is with a black patch where we used to darken the sky and lake area of the image.

Next step is the ‘Foreground’ that we want to make lighter. To do that, click on the layer ‘Foreground’ and go to the materials palette and select ‘White’ to lighten the foreground of the image.

As you can see in the image below, the ground and stonewall beside the tree has lightened up. And this is how dodge and burn is applied using Paint Shop Pro.

You can use as many layers as you want, and use soft light on your blend mode, which is an incredible tool.