To use a single overlay layer to both dodge and burn, follow these steps.
- Create a new layer, not an adjustment layer, by clicking Layer > New >
Layer. Or, Alt + click (Option + click) the Create a new layer icon
at the bottom of the Layers panel.
- In the New Layer dialog box (see Figure 1 below), change Mode to Overlay
or Soft Light.
- Check the Fill with Overlay-neutral color (50% gray) box.
- Click OK to close the New Layer dialog box.
- Make the Brush tool
the active tool and select an appropriately sized brush with a soft edge.
- Set the brush opacity (not the layer's opacity) to 10 - 15%. I prefer a
low setting because to increase the effect, you continue to paint over the
area. The brush opacity setting is on the Options bar.
- Type the letter d to set the foreground and background colors to black
- To dodge an area (make it lighter), paint with white. To burn an area
(make it darker), paint with black paint.
- Type the letter x to switch, as needed, between black
Figure 1. Overlay Layer Dialog Box
You can paint with 50% gray to erase a change. 50%
gray can be found in the Swatches panel.