View Full Version : The "Luminosity Masks" thread

Darin Boville
26-Aug-2014, 17:57
In another thread Kirk Gittings mentioned a product "Luminosity Masks" which are made by Tony Kuyper. It looks like you don't really need to buy anything from Tony--you can make your own masks for free and he tells you how--but Tony has done all the work for you for a few bucks.


I thought I'd start this thread to see if any users of the "Luminosity Masks" wanted to share tips and tricks and to answer questions from newbies.

My first question is simple. Tony offers three versions of the masks for sale. Just the mask actions for $10, a fancier version for $30, a video training guide for $70, and everything for $79. Are the training pdfs and the video series worth the money?



Christopher Barrett
26-Aug-2014, 19:04
I've been using these for years and they're pretty straight forward. The actions are all labeled well, i.e. Mid-tones, Narrow Mid-Tones, Extended Mid-Tones, etc. I think you can figure them out pretty quickly with a little trial and error. Sometimes when I'm retouching commercial work, I'll want to desaturate the hi-lights, so I'll run the "Light Lights" action and then just copy the resulting mask to an HSL Adj Layer. Awesome, easy and highly surgical.

Good stuff, Maynard!

Kirk Gittings
26-Aug-2014, 19:27
I bought mine so long ago I don't remember what I bought, but [I] use them in one way or another almost every day. You have to get a feel for what they can do and then you start seeing how they can improve your images.

26-Aug-2014, 19:59
I've been using TK's masks for quite a while. I find them to be excellent. One of the best features of the masks is that they are self-feathering so that you won't see abrupt transitions between (say) a darker area and an adjacent lighter-toned area. Making selections with the lasso will largely be a thing of the past. They are definitely worth the money.

Here's a couple of tips that will be useful:

**After your run the action, set the blending mode of the resulting layer to 'luminosity'. With this blending mode, changes made to the curve (or levels) will not affect color.

**If you want to exaggerate the effect of a mask's adjustments, simply duplicate the layer.

**With practice, you'll be able to identify which masks you need for a particular image. This will keep the layer stack and file size manageable.

**As with any mask, you can 'paint' black of varying opacities to reduce the effect of changes to the curve.

**If you are new to using TK's masks, be sure to read his well-written tutorials.

Oops. That was more than a 'couple' of tips, but you get the idea. The masks are very flexible.

I haven't seen the videos, but I've heard good things. The pdf tutorials that come with masks are excellent.


Christopher Barrett
28-Aug-2014, 08:43
**After your run the action, set the blending mode of the resulting layer to 'luminosity'. With this blending mode, changes made to the curve (or levels) will not affect color.

That one is golden. Why did I never think of that???!!!

Kirk Gittings
28-Aug-2014, 08:50
Yes! I just tried it and it works perfectly!

28-Aug-2014, 11:07
I ended up getting the Actions + the video from Sean Bagshaw, When the new TK panel was available was able to upgrade at a nominal fee.. From my perspective well worth it. Pretty much use the actions in all my processing. I like the new TK panel, as it not only creates the Light, Darks and Midtone masks but also can create Subtractive masks, Zone masks, Individual color channel mask, Saturation and Vibrance masks. You can build your own but using the action makes it so very easy to create the mask. You can use any of the mask with any of the adjustment. Also like the resize / sharpening action when preparing a image for web presentation. Sean's videos are pretty comprehensive and I believe worth the cost.


6-Sep-2014, 08:45
Another TK Masks tip:

**Use one of the 'wide midtones' masks to adjust the separation in those tones. This works best if you set the blending mode to 'luminosity' as in my tip above, unless you do want this adjustment to affect color.

I used a Super Wide Mids mask on this image, along with TK's Burn/Dodge action for a little burn on the upper right and the rock lower right corner: Cottonwood Leaves, McGee Creek (http://www.gildedmoon.com/images/npn-1/LF-472-2-lg-Web.jpg). The negative is Fuji 160 Pro S, scanned with Vue Scan. BTW: I really miss this film!


Peter De Smidt
6-Sep-2014, 11:22
A high radius (about 70) low amount unsharp mask can add some nice tonal separation, but it can be too much for the lightest and darkest areas. Running it with a midtone mask often works well.

Michael Lloyd
14-Sep-2014, 17:58
I've been using the TK Action set since July. I was at a John Paul Caponigro fine art printing workshop and one of the other students really liked them. He showed me how well they work and I was sold. I use the TK actions with just about every edit. His Triple Play is really nice.

27-Nov-2014, 14:40
Here's another trick to add to the bunch. It uses a duplicate of a luminosity mask. For this procedure I'll use a Lights mask on a curves layer, but one can use any of the luminosity masks on either a curves or levels layer.

1. Create the first Lights mask.
2. Duplicate this mask.
3. Set the blending mode of the mask created in step 1 to Screen
4. Set the blending mode of the duplicate mask created in step 2 to Multiply
5. Adjust the curve in either, or both, layers to suit.

Basically, the Triple Play (TP) action does the same thing, but this procedure works well if you don't need all the layers and the halo separator layer of the TP.

Since Michael mentioned the TP, I'll echo his sentiment about it--it is really nice, and has really helped in difficult situations.