Photoshop: Recovering blown highlights - using the Burn Tool


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StreetShooter

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Jan 17, 2002
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#1
Here's a tip to recover blown highlights in overexposed shots.

I took this picture of a gu-zheng (?) player and was disappointed to find that the musical notations he was poring over were blown out.



The problem got worse after I converted to B&W using the luminance channel and auto-levels.



Adjusting curves to bring out the notations would have resulted in the rest of the picture becoming dark and under-exposed. What to do?

I used the burn tool, set at midtones, 50% and 150 pixel size, and applied it to the white sheet of paper. It was like invisible ink! Everything came out clearly! Download the second picture and try it yourself!

Of course, the result is much better if you work with the original 2MP file, but you have to use a brush of about 500 pixels. I've exaggerated the effect for the purpose of illustration.

Can you spot the other areas I burned?

 

SNAG

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Jun 14, 2002
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#2
Originally posted by StreetShooter
Here's a tip to recover blown highlights in overexposed shots.

I took this picture of a gu-zheng (?) player and was disappointed to find that the musical notations he was poring over were blown out.



The problem got worse after I converted to B&W using the luminance channel and auto-levels.



Adjusting curves to bring out the notations would have resulted in the rest of the picture becoming dark and under-exposed. What to do?

I used the burn tool, set at midtones, 50% and 150 pixel size, and applied it to the white sheet of paper. It was like invisible ink! Everything came out clearly! Download the second picture and try it yourself!

Of course, the result is much better if you work with the original 2MP file, but you have to use a brush of about 500 pixels. I've exaggerated the effect for the purpose of illustration.

Can you spot the other areas I burned?

The guy's back (I mean shirt?)
And the canvas as well?
Wow...
Cool tip!
Thanks a lot for sharing...
 

Dec 25, 2002
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#3
woah great tip there! very useful~ :thumbsup:

p.s. that instrument is a yang-qin (not gu zheng);)
 

Jed

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Jan 19, 2002
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#4
Just being pedantic, but it's not to removed blown highlights, just overexposed bits.

Once detail is "blown" digitally, whether at capture or at scanning, then the detail is lost and no amount of burning in will help. Likewise, no amount of dodging of the shadows is going to raise detail if it's solid black.
 

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