Dodge Tool and Burn Tool in Photoshop

Dodge Tool in Photoshop is used to lighten the area of an image and Burn Tool in Photoshop is used to darken the area of an image.

Many a times when we take the pic in natural light (sunlight), then the area of subject exposed to the sun, gets brighter tones while the area not exposed directly to sunlight gets darker tones. To get rid of darken tone, we need to use Dodge tool and to get rid of brighter tone, we use Burn tool in Photoshop.

Dodge Tool and Burn Tool example - Correct light exposure on the image

Let’s open below image in Photoshop application:

Dodge Tool and Burn Tool example in Photoshop.PNG

Select Dodge tool and paint the dark area to lighten it. As we can see left face area, neck area are darken in shades due to non-exposure of sunlight on these area. We need to apply dodge tool on these areas.


Before we apply the dodge tool, we need to set the brush range. There are 3 types of brush range:

(1) Midtones = This is the most frequent Brush Range used in dodge tool. This is used for lighten the middle range of dark shades.

(2) Shadows = This brush range is used to remove the dark shadows which appears at the corner areas of an image.

(3) Highlights = Changes the light areas.


Select dodge tool and set the option bar as shown below. Range=Shadows, Exposure=25%, where exposure tells the intensity of the brush.

Dodge Tool option bar 1.PNG

Now apply the dodge tool on neck area which has most of the part as shadows. After applying dodge tool, we get below result:

Apply Dodge tool.PNG

Now set the option bar as shown below: Range=Midtones, Exposure=25%.

Dodge Tool option bar 2.PNG Apply Dodge tool 2.PNG

Now apply burn tool in the hair area which is too much exposed to sunlight. Paint it over to all over the hair to make it darker.

Burn tool option bar.PNG Apply Burn tool.PNG

Dodge tool and Burn Tool Output:

Dodge Tool and Burn Tool output.PNG

Sponge Tool in Photoshop

Sponge Tool in Photoshop is used to lighten the color(desaturate) or to darken the color(saturate) of an image. We paint the area which we want to saturate or desaturate with color. Let’s see it with an example:

Sponge Tool example in Photoshop

Let’s open below image in Photoshop application:

Sponge Tool example in Photoshop.PNG

Now select sponge tool and set the Mode as Desaturate. Make Flow=100%.

Sponge Tool option bar.PNG

Now paint the background area to desaturate it. We get the image as shown below:

Desaturate the image.PNG

Now saturate some parts of the shirt, hair by using sponge tool with the settings as shown below.

Sponge Tool option bar 2.PNG

We get the output as shown below:

After applying sponge tool.PNG

Sponge tool output

Sponge Tool output 2.PNG

Sponge tool output

Sponge Tool output 3.PNG





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