I've been using adjustment layers and multiply/screen blend modes to do my dodging and burning. In CS4, supposedly, the built-in dodge and burn tools are much improved. Is anyone using them with any success?
I still wouldn't use the dodge / burn tool, even in CS4. It may be better, but using masking is really quite similar - after all you're using a brush type tool to "paint" the area lighter or darker - the same as you would with the burn or dodge. You also have the ability with layers to do so much more in terms of controlling the edge of the mask - using filter - applying channels as partial mask etc.
I also wouldn't recommend using the multiply or screen blending modes for burn / dodging. I would create a new curves, or levels layer if you're more comfortable with that, make the adjustment you want, then mask the adjustment. The big advantage here, is that a blending mode like multiply tends to increase contrast in an unorthodox fashion, where as you can selectively increase contrast in a specific tonal range by manipulating the curves layer, and then, masking to further target the effect. It all sounds complicated, but from your past post, it seems like this may not be much different than what you've already been doing.
As for the shortcuts being changed - yes, Adobe like to keep us all on our toes - just look how the Print command has gone from "Print with Preview" to "Print". They do offer a shortcut manager that allows you to change the shortcuts manually - so you may set them back to what they were before.
I mostly use a masked curves layer as described by rmklass. I sometimes use more than one to to affect the whole image or different parts of it in slightly different ways. I will fairly frequently create a luminority mask to use as a starting point for the mask. I can then lighten or darken certain areas or the mask, and apply levels or blur to the mask itself, to get the right degree of effect at the right places.
For simpler or more general lightening or darkening, I like to use a blank layer set to soft light blend mode, and filled with 50% gray. Painting with a lighter or darker brush on this layer has the corresponding effect, but does a nice job preserving contrast, and is more subtle than using multiply or screen layers, in my experience.
Last edited by dsjtecserv; 09-01-2009 at 01:35 PM.