Fake Dodge & Burn using adjustment layers:

The dodge and burn tools are destructive tools and should never be applied to the image itself. The burn tool seems to sharpen and add saturation and the dodge tool seems to blow out areas (and the blown out areas are unrecoverable). You could use these tools on a

movie film. all games
duplicate, I suppose, then lower the opacity when you've finished dodging and burning, but you'll still end up with problems, having to add a layer mask, paint out to even the dodging and burning, or erase if you don't know how to use layer masks, and you'll still have to keep hitting the UNDO button anyway, so there must be a better way.

Typically, the workaround is to add a layer of 50% grey on top, change the blend mode to soft light, then dodge and burn on that layer. That's a good technique.

The following method is quite different and more flexible. This method can be used to dodge and burn 'and paint'. It involves adding an adjustment layer of any kind on top, then inverting the adjustment layer (to temporarily remove the contents of the layer), then painting back in the effects of the adjustment layer. I'll use an image of a mushroom. My goal is simple - basically I'm going to do a fake dodge & burn by painting with adjustment layers, but without the use of any masking.

1) Open any image in ps.

2) Duplicate the bg layer. This isn't necessary but should be done as habit in case something goes wrong at some point.

3) To demonstrate a straightforward example of how this works, I'm going to add two adjustment layers above the duplicate bg layer,one for the lights and one for the darks. (You could obviously add more adjustment layers since this method will work with any kind, but I'm going to dodge & burn this mushroom so I'll just use curves.) So go ahead and do that: 'select all', then click adjustment layer button at the bottom of the layers palette, and purposely add a curves adjustment layer that overdoes the lights and name this layer 'lights', then turn this adjustment layer off temporarily by clicking off the layer to view the dupe bg layer of image, then repeat those steps to add another curves adjustment layer that overdoes the darks. Turn all layers back on when done. Your palette should look like this:

4) Next, click on the adjustment layer for lights to make it active, and hit Ctrl+I to invert the layer. (Or just fill the layer with black, either way you'll arrive at the same place.) You've just masked out the adjustment layer completely. It's still there, but now it's hidden. Repeat those steps with the other adjustment layer, named 'darks'. Both adjustment layers are now masked out and the original image of the duped bg layer is showing as it did at the beginning.

5) Hit the 'd' on your keyboard to put the foreground/background colours on the ps toolbar at their defaults of black & white . Make sure white is in the foreground. You can toggle the two by clicking on the 'x' on your keyboard.

6) Grab a brush, and with white forward, click on one of the adjustment layers to make it active, and begin painting. What you're doing is 'revealing' the effects of the adjustment layer you created earlier. If you want to make a correction, click the 'x' on your toolbar to bring black forward, and then paint 'out' the effects. You'll find yourself toggling back and forth between painting 'in' and painting 'out'. Repeat the steps with the other adjustment layer. You can also reduce the layers' opacity if it is too strong, or use a soft brush at a lower opacity, or use the gradient tool set to 'fade to transparent', or even blur or use some other filter on the adjustment layer. It's very flexible. Once you get the hang of this you'll find yourself using it all the time.

Hover your mouse on the mushroom to see a simple example of this technique. This is obviously subtle, but you could go crazy with this, especially by using colour in the adjustment layer. It's also a great method to apply digital makeup.