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Dodge and Burn Blend mode 2 to saturate a picture


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Saturate using Dodge and Burn Blend Modes 2

This is a simplified version of an earlier dodge and burn macro of mine in that it does not create another pixel file which wastes space. It also uses curves instead of HSL layers.  Dodge and burn blend modes are one of the 8 blend modes that you change the amount of color through the FILL opacity and not the general opacity. I just modify the value of the FILL slider in curves since general opacity does not really work for this blend mode. When you leave the FILL at 100% then the effect uses only 8 colours. As you reduce the slider you add more and more colours and you also restrict the effect to the midtones and shadows, as you decrease the slider to about 15% you are then affecting only the shadows.  The dodge blend mode works the same way.  The difference from the burn blend mode is as you reduce the FILL slider on an adjustment layer you restrict the effect to more and more of the brights, So with the FILL slider set to 15%  you are targeting the brights.  Because burn really extra darkens the shadows, blend ranges are used in the curves layer to lift the shadows a little.  You can set this to what is comfortable to you.  The same is true for color dodge blend mode.  Blend ranges are used to reduce the brightest brights that color dodge over exaggerates.  Again, you can modify these blend ranges to taste. Upload the file within macro not the macro library as it is a single macro.

dodge and burn blend mode2.afmacro

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  • 3 months later...

Hi Hans -- I'm really trying to get this to work and understand the difference here between fill (via fx) and opacity, but I cannot produce a difference. I used your macro, grouped and duplicated the result, then set curves opacity to the same as fill, plus set fill to 100. The result seemed the same as using the fill opacity. I suspect I'm doing something wrong and would appreciate guidance. Thanks!

Dave Straker

Cameras: Sony A7R2, RX100V

Computers: Win10: Chillblast i9 Custom + Philips 40in 4K & Benq 23in; Surface Pro 4 i5; iPad Pro 11"

Favourite word: Aha. For me and for others.

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Hello Dave, nice video you always do such a great job.. 

The Color Burn and Color Dodge Blend Modes do not use the Opacity slider to control their effect.  These two blend modes use the FILL adjustment to control how much they apply themselves to the image.   (These are two of the eight blend modes that work with FILL) You can use Opacity to subdue the effect,  the effect of these blend modes and their algorithm is tied to FillColor Dodge and Color Burn Example with FillColor Dodge and Color Burn Example with Fill, but they do require a bit of finesse to use.  Their effect is best seen with color fill layers.  You can use any color for the fill but I use complementary colors mostly, sometimes adjacent colors, but not often.  The fill controls the projection of the colors while the opacity only fades the effect. Further, color burn leaves the blacks and the whites alone from the underlying layer so that blacks will be black and whites will be whites.  When you use opacity this is not the case it fades all the colors. Moreover if you decrease the fill in color burn then you will be applying the effect to less and less of the underlying layer. Therefore if you set the fill to about 15% you are affecting only the shadows and darks when using color burn.When using color dodge  it also keeps blacks as black but adds color and lightens. Whites will of course stay white here as well.  The fill essentially allows you to specify where the effect is applied.  If you reduce the fill in color burn to the recommended 15 percent, you are typically targeting the shadows only, if you raise the fill then you will start affecting the lower midtones as well, as you keep raising you will be affecting the highlights also.  But note that the whites remain white always. The same can be said for color dodge.  The only difference is that it works on the lights so if you set the fill to 100% you are targeting shadows highlights and shadows. (whites do not change)  As you decrease the fill you target less of the shadows and midtones until you reach 15 percent when you target the highlights only.  So it is the opposite of color burn.  You might even try the above and then invert the top layer... Its interesting what you get....have not been able to prove it yet but you might try it . Would be interested in what you think...  Watch the video below and go to minute 6:20  for color burn and then go to minute 11:34 for color dodge. In Affinity Photo this works in RGB but does not work in LAB. I think there might be an error in the software, but it definitely does not work there.Try the experiment with the test chart below it really shows up there.

ITs interesting to note that the description and algorithm in wikipedia does not describe this effect nor how Fill interacts.  I have not yet found the actual implementation of color dodge and burn in Affinity Photo nor in Photoshop but am still looking for the implemented algorithm.   










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Hi @hanshab & @dmstraker

Sorry hanshab but Dave is correct in his findings.

Your macro works well to increase saturation, as does your explanation to a point.

Affinity Photo does not have a proper Layer Fill mode, it has been requested Layer Opacity vs Fill.

The fill in the ƒx panel has the same effect as the layer opacity, the difference is it controls the opacity of an object's fill on the layer, rather than the entire layer. This allows effects to be applied to transparent objects such as text. If you use a colour fill layer the result will be the same if you adjust the fill in the ƒx panel or adjust the layer opacity.

The file below shows:

  1. The original
  2. Your macro with the ƒx fill set to 16 & 20%
  3. Your macro with the layer opacity matching the 16 & 20% and the ƒx fill set to 100% (2 & 3 are the same result)
  4. A method using 2 HSL adjustment layers with the Saturation & Luminosity modified then using the Color Dodge & Color Burn blend modes, this is the closest to using a proper layer fill in Photoshop. 

An explanation of this HSL method can be found here Layer Fill vs Opacity Changes were made in 1.7 that affects this but a bit of experimenting can still produce a better colour projection than using the ƒx panel fill mode.


Colour Dodge & Colour Burn are the easiest of the special 8 blend modes to emulate (to a point) in Affinity Photo, Hard Mix is particularly difficult without a true Layer Fill.


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Variant  of this I use in L*a*b*

on a duplicate layer
1 Extract L * Clear A * and B *opponent  Rename the layer L Star mode Luminosity

2  Above I fill with any color with Food Fill Tool   [G] using  a modulation of the opacity on the color whell (To be adjusted later) begin with  50% for example
    the red color is a good option sensitive...Erase MODE;  for simulate Divide
3  Make a group, with 1,2,3
     Colour Dodge & Colour Burn or linear burn  or some time more easily linear light 3. 6 %

4  Above the layer 2 in Erase mode        you can use an alpha LAB or gray 16 bit Alpha curve (optional)

 Adjust by

modulating the transparency of the initial opacity
of the opacity of  erase mode ,  the opacity of the group and locally with the alpha curve

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