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Chapter 21. Retouching and Restoration B... > Using the Toning and Focus Tools

Using the Toning and Focus Tools

Many of Photoshop's tools are legacies from the days of traditional photography and darkroom techniques. An unsharp mask, for example, was an actual blurry (that is, unsharp) low-contrast photographic negative made from a transparency. The negative was placed atop the transparency like a mask and used for color correction when making color separations for process-color printing. One happy incidental result was that the unsharp mask enhanced edge detail. Hence, the Unsharp Mask filter in Photoshop is used to enhance edge detail and “sharpen” an image. Many other Photoshop features were originally designed to mimic darkroom techniques and can seem a bit anachronistic or even mysterious to users who have known only digital imaging.

The Toning Tools

Likewise, the “toning tools”—the Dodge and Burn tools—also date from the darkroom ages. The original dodge and burn tools were (and still are) used when an enlarger was making an exposure on a piece of photographic paper. The dodge tool was a disk (usually cardboard) on a wire that was placed between the enlarger and the photographic paper (which explains the Dodge tool's icon in the Toolbox—see Figure 21.20). It blocked the light coming from the enlarger—”dodging it”—and as a result the dodged area would be lighter when the paper was developed. In contrast (so to speak), the original burn tool was either a disk (also cardboard) with a hole in it or the photographer's hand. Either “tool” allowed light to reach only a specific area on the photographic paper, “burning” those areas. As a result, the burned areas would be darker than non-burned areas. (In Figure 21.20, the Burn tool icon is a hand forming a small circle that allows light to pass through it.)


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