Dodge and burn brushes apply only to a "Range" — either Highlights, Midtones, or Shadows.

Is there a way to dodge/burn uniformly across the dynamic range?

2 Answers 2


You can create a new layer (50% gray is used often) and set the layer to overlay or soft light.

Then you can brush with white where you want to dodge and black where you want to burn.

Like this all the pixels in the areas you brush are treated whether they are light or dark.

  • Except that overlay and soft light dont behave uniformly across the dynamic range* as per request. What about using linear burn/linear dodge. Anyway the question is a bit undefined so its hard to provide a good answer. * see: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blend_modes
    – joojaa
    Dec 27, 2014 at 22:58
  • Yeah it depends what the OP means by uniformly. I don't think it meant getting affected exactly the same but more that the lighter and darker pixels can get dodged or burned at the same time without changing a range.
    – Pete D
    Dec 27, 2014 at 23:04

There are several features to adjust the overall tone of an image globally - Levels, Curves - to name a couple

Any of these are capable of lightening or darkening specific regions of the image (highlights, midtones, shadows). The way this data is displayed is different, however it is there.

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You adjust the point in the area you wish to change. For example, if you want shadows to be lighter, you move the shadow slider in the Levels dialog to the right. In the Curves dialog you'd move the bottom left point to the right as well.

  • But I want to dodge/burn local areas of the image with the dodge/burn toolbrush, not change the curve on the entire image. I.e., I want the toolbrush to apply the dodge/burn where I brush uniformly regardless of whether a pixel is bright or dark. I want the rest of the image where I don't brush to stay constant.
    – feetwet
    Dec 27, 2014 at 19:16
  • Sounds like you just need to use a standard brush set to a blending mode. Dodge means only lighten. Burn means only darken. For what it's worth, you can mask areas for the level and curves adjustments as well.
    – Scott
    Dec 27, 2014 at 19:17
  • I'm using Photoshop CC 2014: When the dodge or burn brush is selected one of its parameters is "Range." And its behavior varies depending on the value of Range. For example, if Range is "Highlights" it will only burn highlights, leaving darker pixels practically unchanged as far as I can tell. I want a burn brush that would also darken mid- and dark-toned pixels, which is what happens if I then switch the Range to "Midtoned" or "Shadows."
    – feetwet
    Dec 27, 2014 at 19:23

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