This is a quick thing for anyone doing their own retouching: I’m sharing my Dodge & Burn preparation action.
I set up an action that gets me started quickly. You can download my action here.
Once I run this action, I end up with a dark black and white image, slightly blurred. The blurring will stop me from “trying too hard” – don’t worry, I’ll remove that blur when I’m done.
I should be on the dodge layer mask right off the bat. Grab my brush, with the color set to white, brush size to 7px, not too hard (maybe 40%), flow 4%, opacity 70%. Zoom to 100%. Now I’ll remove the dark areas that are the most distracting. I don’t want to make the skin super perfect, I don’t want to remove expression from the face, just soften the most distracting points.
This is specifically for skin, not for shaping. The very top layer may be adjusted mid-work, bringing its opacity to 50% for instance, as I work on less bright areas. After I’m done, I delete the three top layers (above the Dodge and Burn skin group), and the blurTO-DELETE layer. Then I may create another group with less aggressive curves for dodging and burning for shape specifically.
As with any other retouching… proceed with caution 🙂