Welcome to Manip Academy!
Achieving consistent lighting in photomanipulations can be really challenging. A lot of times, we have parts of our model image that need to be lighter while other parts need to be darker. Let's say you need to adjust your model image for a light source that is coming from the right. Rather than using the dodge and burn tools, I use curves adjustment layers. Click on the adjustment layer icon in the layers palette in Photoshop (it looks like a half-filled circle), or click Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves.
Put this above your model layer. In the curves box, dragging the curve up and to the left will make the image lighter, and dragging it down and to the right will make the image darker. Make it lighter, with the intensity as needed to make your model blend with your light source.
I realize that this makes your entire
model image lighter rather than just the part of it you want to lighten, but I'm about to tell you how to make it apply only to the part you want it to impact.
First, note that you can make this adjustment layer apply only to the model image by right-clicking the layer in the layer palette and selecting "create clipping mask."
OK. See how, with the adjustment layer in the layer palette, the adjustment layer has a white box next to the preview?
Click on that white box. In your color palette on the left side of the screen, your colors should go to black and white. Black will mean that the adjustment layer will be hidden, and white will mean that the adjustment layer will be visible. Use your paintbrush and gently paint black over the parts of the image that should remain dark. (Make SURE that white box is selected, or you'll be coloring black over your actual image!!)
It's that simple. You can also do it the other way, increasing the darkness using another curves adjustment layer.
I used this method to create this image:
Note me (Aeirmid
) if you have questions!