Photoshop CC: How to Create/Export Dodge & Burn Actions

Creating dodge & burn layers in photoshop can take some time. especially depending on how you decide to do it. There's the slow and steady process of continually creating new layers while filling them with 50% grey. Or there's the process of using a lot of command keys and duplicating layers. 

Today we are going to be creating one or two of those processes, but this way every time you open photoshop with a click of a button you'll have your layers ready for an instance.


Step 1: Recording Your Action Files.

So the first thing about creating action files begin with recording your actual process. Photoshop recreates your steps one-by-one and attaches each layer together. 

To begin with, start by clicking the "Play" icon near your group sidebar. another easy way of finding this is by clicking "Window" in the menu bar and then clicking "Action." Once you do so you'll be prompted to name your "New Action." This will officially allow you to start recording your steps.

Step 2: Creating a New Layer

In the second step creating your action, we're going to start with a new layer. 

The fastest way to creating a new layer or Dodge/Burn layer is by hitting "Shift," "Command," "N." This will bring up a new window which allows us to create our first Dodge/Burn Layer. 

First, change your blending "Mode" to "Overlay." After selecting overlay a new window appears that says "Fill with Overlay-neutral color (50% gray)." Click that window and select "OK." 

Step 3: Duplicating, Renaming, and Grouping

At this point, you should have a new layer labeled "Burn." To create your "Dodge" layer hit "Command," "J," and rename this layer "Dodge." After this process hit "Shift" click your "Burn" layer and hit "Command," "G." This takes your two layers and put them into a single folder. rename that folder "Dodge & Burn

Step 4: Creating a Ready to Use Dodge Brush

In this step, you're going to select your "Dodge" layer and once we've selected our layer we're going to hit the hotkey "O." What this does is allows us to select our dodge brush. Double check and make sure your "Midtones" are selected and "Exposure" set to "7%" you can set this percentage by clicking "07." Normally the exposure is set to "50%," but that's too high so we want to work at a low exposure. I normally work between 5%-10% depending on what I am dodging and burning. 

*Make sure to use between 5%-10% on both dodge and burn layers. adjust your exposure to the best you see fit for increasing or decreasing your shadows and highlights your mid tones. this process takes time to getting used to and shouldn't be rushed. There isn't no "Oneway" on how to do this. there are higher exosphere levels there for a reason, just keep in mind of how much to use.

The reason we set this up is that when we play our action. our brush will automatically be set to "Dodge" brush with a "7%" exposure.

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Step 5: Saving and Exporting Action Files

In this final step, we're going to save our work and export it. Now that we're done we can start by clicking the "BLACK" stop button in the lower left part of our "Actions" window. This will stop the action and allow it to be played. Now, this part is where it gets tricky because we can't actually export our action file yet. at least not until creating another folder. In order to export the action file, you must create a "New Set." a new set is basically a user folder for actions. You can put multiple actions in one folder, but today we're going to just include one. So, create a new set and name it "Dodge & Burn." After naming it drag and drop your dodge and burn action into the new set folder.

Now to save our action we're going to "click" the toggle down window for more options. The "Save Action" is now available to use, so click it and when prompted to name your file name it "Dodge & Burn," and then select where you want to save it. Photoshop saves a copy to the library of the program, but we just made a copy of our own. this allows us to bring our favorite actions any.

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