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RapidMask2: The first TKActions V6 module

September 8, 2017

I’m pleased to announce that there is a new RapidMask2 module for TKActions.

RapidMask2 module

Since releasing the TKActions V5 panel last December I’ve played with several new ideas for using the Rapid Mask engine to generate luminosity and other masks in Photoshop. The new RapidMask2 module is the result of these experiments and effectively replaces the V5 Intro, RapidMask, and LayerMask modules. It has all their functionality plus lots of new features.

Because it’s such a significant improvement, RapidMask2 is going to start TKActions V6. TKActions already went modular with the V5 panel, so I’ll simply be updating and releasing new V6 modules, like RapdidMask2, when they are finished. Since this first V6 module is happening relatively soon after the release of the V5 panel, the new V6 modules will be free to customers who have already purchased V5. During the transition from V5 to V6, customers will receive all V5 and V6 modules and can choose the ones they want use.

Customers who purchased V5 for PS CC were emailed links to download RapidMask2 directly from the server on September 5/6. Be sure to check your email’s junk/spam folder if you missed it. Also, be sure to add the server’s address ( as a safe email contact to insure future updates go to your inbox and do not get sorted to the spam/junk folder where they can be missed.

A couple of important things:

  1. Spanish customers have not received their updates yet. I apologize for the delay. Hopefully everything will be ready next week.
  2. There is no Photoshop CS6 version of RapidMask2. This module uses advanced coding that is only supported by Photoshop CC. V5 customers using CS6 should contact me if they upgrade to CC.

Below is a list of the most important new features in RapidMask2.

  • Better organized−Four distinct sections (SOURCE, MASK, MODIFY, and OUTPUT) that mirror the mask-making process.
  • Source menus−New menu design for choosing different pixel data as the starting point for making masks.
  • Spectrum interface−Compact spectrum interface for choosing different masks.
  • New masks−Lights-6, Darks-6, and Vibrance.
  • User-created color masks−Color masks that target specific colors can be generated with ease and converted to Rapid Masks for modification and output.
  • Add and subtract masks with calculator simplicity−Two buttons, plus(+) and minus(-), make it so all masks can be added and subtracted just like using a calculator.
  • Enhanced “Layer” output button−Provides new pixel layer choices for generating layers with the current Rapid Mask as the layer mask.
  • Updated Layer Mask mode−Provides an image-based option to quickly choose or create the best mask by having it applied directly as a layer mask on the active layer.
  • Accent color−There is just one color for the entire module, an accent color, that users can change to whatever they prefer.
  • Click tracking−Buttons retain an accent-colored shadow after clicking so users can track which mask they last chose.

The video below reviews these features in more detail. It is best viewed in full-screen mode in order to see everything that’s happening.

Sean Bagshaw has also updated his V5 Video Guide series to include five new videos that cover the RapidMask2 module in detail. A download link for these has also been emailed to customers who purchased his original V5 Video Guide. The new vids are included in his updated V5/V6 Video Guide series. The intro is shown below.

If you already have the V5 panel, I think you’ll find the new RapidMask2 module a big step forward both in masking functionality and ease of use. Please be sure to check for the free update in your email, install it, and give it a try.

If you don’t have the TKActions panel yet, a 25% discount code is available for the next two weeks: V625off.
It provides a 25% discount on anything on the Panels & Videos page.

TKActions V5 Quick Tip #7 – Rapid Mask Module: Normal vs. Auto-Apply Mode

July 19, 2017

Sean Bagshaw has another new V5 Quick Tip video and this time he takes a closer look at the RapidMask module. There are two ways to use this module: normal mode and auto-apply. Normal mode allows the user to quickly see the different masks as they’re generated. This is the real-time, mask-based interface introduced with the V5 panel that allows users to make intelligent choices about which mask to use. Auto-apply mode provides an image-based approach to mask selection. With auto-apply, the masks are again quickly generated in the background, but instead of being viewed on-screen, they are automatically applied as a layer mask on the active layer. Which mask works best is determined by what makes the image look best. Sean demonstrates these two methods of working with the RapidMask module and how to combine them. In addition to showing how these functions work with the regular spectrum of masks, Sean also explains how modifying the mask in either mode can help create the optimal mask for the image.

These techniques are very much at the heart of using luminosity masks successfully. Both normal mode and auto-apply have a place in the development workflow, and the V5 panel is designed to make these methods quick and accessible. Sean’s video shows how easy it is to switch back and forth with these techniques in order to achieve the best results.

V5 Quick Tip #7: Rapid Mask Module: Normal vs. Auto-Apply Mode
V5 Quick Tip #6: Masking A Mask
V5 Quick Tip #5: Dodging, Burning and Luminosity Painting
V5 Quick Tip #4: Off-Center Midtone Masks
V5 Quick Tip #3: Luminosity Mask Basics and the V5 Intro Module
V5 Quick Tip #2: Modifying Masks
V5 Quick Tip #1: Basic Luminosity Mask Tasks

TKActions V5 Quick Tip #6: Masking a Mask

June 25, 2017

Sean Bagshaw’s newest V5 Quick Tip reviews the “masking a mask” technique. Luminosity masks offer unique ways to make targeted and easily blended tonal changes in the image, but they select tones throughout the image, not specific elements. This can sometimes lead to adjustments affecting parts of the image where a change is not desired. For example, when adjusting tones in the sky through a luminosity layer mask, similar tones in the non-sky parts of the image can be unintentionally altered. While it would be possible to paint black on the luminosity layer mask to conceal the unintended changes, this is also a destructive process that potentially ruins the luminosity layer mask in case parts of it need to be revealed later on.

A better solution is to put the adjustment layer inside a group, and then paint on the group’s layer mask to reveal the desired parts of the adjustment in the image. Sean demonstrates this method using the new black-masked group layer option that was released in the most recent upgrade of the V5 panel. Masking-the-mask allows significant changes to certain elements in the image while also protecting other parts.

V5 Quick Tip #6: Masking A Mask
V5 Quick Tip #5: Dodging, Burning and Luminosity Painting
V5 Quick Tip #4: Off-Center Midtone Masks
V5 Quick Tip #3: Luminosity Mask Basics and the V5 Intro Module
V5 Quick Tip #2: Modifying Masks
V5 Quick Tip #1: Basic Luminosity Mask Tasks

TKActions V5 Quick Tip #5: Dodging, Burning, and Luminosity Painting

June 16, 2017

Luminosity painting has always been one of my favorite methods for using luminosity masks. Painting through luminosity selections has significantly more power to influence image tone than using luminosity masks as layer masks, especially when it comes to burning and dodging. Not only does luminosity painting target specific tones in the image to receive paint, but paint can be applied repeatedly with multiple brushstrokes to enhance the effect. Luminosity layer masks limit what can be achieved by what the mask will reveal. Luminosity painting does not have this constraint. Paint can be applied repeatedly even through partially selected pixels until maximum white or maximum black is achieved if necessary. Plus, the active luminosity selection insures it all blends in with the rest of the image regardless of how much paint is applied. So there is much greater effect possible with luminosity painting on burn/dodge layers compared to using layer masks. Not all images need the enhanced effect that luminosity painting can achieve, but using it instead of a luminosity layer mask insures that dynamic control isn’t throttled by what a layer mask can reveal.

Sean’s newest quick tip video shows how easy and precise luminosity painting can be with the V5 panel. Highlights with contrast and shadows with depth can quickly be painted into an image using this technique. I particularly like the way Sean uses the “Pick” tool to find the best off-center midtone (Zone) mask to paint through. This is definitely one of my favorite tips so far since it’s something I use on almost every image. I hope you enjoy it too. Be sure to subscribe to Sean’s YouTube channel to keep up with his latest technique videos.

V5 Quick Tip #5: Dodging, Burning and Luminosity Painting
V5 Quick Tip #4: Off-Center Midtone Masks
V5 Quick Tip #3: Luminosity Mask Basics and the V5 Intro Module
V5 Quick Tip #2: Modifying Masks
V5 Quick Tip #1: Basic Luminosity Mask Tasks

V5 Quick Tip #4: Off-Center Midtone Masks

June 8, 2017

Sean Bagshaw’s newest TKActions V5 Quick Tip looks at off-center midtone masks, also referred to as Zone masks. These are some of my favorite luminosity masks. The standard Lights and Darks masks always include either the lightest lights or the darkest darks, and using them can sometimes gray-down the whites or gray-up the blacks. Zone masks effectively eliminate the blacks and whites from the mask and thereby allow midtone values to be adjusted independently. Zones 2-1/2 and Zone 7-1/2 are a couple masks I often try. Zone 2-1/2 for adjusting the dark midtones and Zone 7-1/2 for the light midtones. However, the V5 panel includes presets for 21 different Zone masks, so there are lots of options. Zone masks can also be modified to make them more or less inclusive using the V5’s modification buttons. The V5 panel makes it easy to quickly craft a Zone mask and to put it work

Sean’s new video tip covers choosing the right mask, modifying it, and then painting it to make it just right for a particular image. If you’ve not experimented with Zone masks, I’m sure this video will provide incentive to try. With a little practice, Zone masks can be extremely helpful when developing images in Photoshop.

V5 Quick Tip #4: Off-Center Midtone Masks
V5 Quick Tip #3: Luminosity Mask Basics and the V5 Intro Module
V5 Quick Tip #2: Modifying Masks
V5 Quick Tip #1: Basic Luminosity Mask Tasks

TKActions V5 panel

V5 Quick Tip #3: Luminosity Mask Basics And The V5 Intro Module

June 1, 2017

In Sean Bagshaw’s newest TKActions V5 Quick Tip video, he takes a closer look at the Intro module. For those just starting out with Photoshop masks, he also provides a brief review of how masks control what is revealed in the layer. Luminosity masks are just like other masks except that their grayscale values are determined by the tones of individual image pixels. This prevents halos and other obvious edges when using luminosity masks to reveal adjustments in the image. Sean explains how the Intro module quickly makes all the basic luminosity masks, how the user can evaluate them, and how to create adjustment layers with the chosen luminosity mask in place as the layer mask. If you are new to these techniques, the Intro module provides an easy way to quickly add luminosity masks your workflow.

V5 Quick Tip #1: Basic Luminosity Mask Tasks
V5 Quick Tip #2: Modifying Masks

TKActions V5−updated and improved

April 29, 2017

First off, a big “THANK YOU!” to everyone who as emailed suggestions for improving the TKActions V5 panel. Lots of good ideas out there that I would not have thought of on my own. The panel has been updated to incorporate many of them into the CC version. A download of the updated version was emailed to V5 customers on April 22 and 23. Please check your junk/spam email folder for those dates if you didn’t receive it yet. I’m also excited that there are more updates planned for the V5 panel in the coming months, some even for the CS6 version. Customers who have purchased the V5 will receive them for free, so be sure to watch your email and this blog for additional information. If you would like to purchase the V5 panel, it is available on the Panels & Videos page. NOTE: The current update is only for the Photoshop CC version of the panel. Most of the enhanced features cannot be programmed into the CS6 version.

Sean Bagshaw has a great video that runs through the new features in the V5 panel:

Below is a quick review of the new features listing details and advantages. The original function of each button remains unchanged. What’s new are the enhanced functions accessed by pressing a modifier key when clicking a particular button on the panel. The “ALT” key on Windows (“option” key on Mac) is the most frequent modifier. This is designated as “ALT/option” in the text below. The “Shift” key is also occasionally used as is the “CTRL/control” key (Windows-“CTRL” / Mac-“command”).

All modules


All modules

  1. “TK” appears in front of the module names in the Window > Extensions menu in Photoshop and on the module’s tab. This makes it easier to find the V5 modules in the “Extensions” list if the user has multiple extension panels installed.
  2. The animated active selection indicator is slightly taller. This is subtle but provides slightly better visibility when the “Animated” indicator is chosen. The “Fixed” selection indicator (red dashes) has not changed.
  3. Theme-matched rollover Help. This provides a much cleaner look to the modules that blends better with the overall theme chosen as the Photoshop interface. The Help messages still appears in the window at the bottom of each module, but this window is no longer a distracting white box.

Control module

  1. +/- Layer Mask button: ALT/option adds a black (hide-all) mask on the active layer.
    Advantage: A black mask makes it easier to paint in adjustments that affect only small parts of the image.
  2. Control module

  3. Group button: ALT/option adds a black (hide-all) mask to the Group layer when it’s created.
    Advantage: A black mask can be useful when using the mask-the-mask technique described in Sean Bagshaw’s videos when only a small portion of an adjustment within the group needs to be revealed in the composite image.
  4. Burn/Dodge buttons: ALT/option creates the Burn/Dodge layer filled with 50% gray.
    Advantage: 50% gray provides better visibility of where paint is applied to the layer.
  5. View button: ALT/option opens a Curves adjustment instead of a Levels adjustment for modifying the mask of an active selection.
    Advantage: Some people prefer Curves to Levels.

Intro module

Intro module

  1. This module has been redesigned to incorporate the “spectrum” interface first introduced in the V4 panel. With it, the relative amount of tones selected by each mask is suggested by the location and width of the buttons, which are placed against a tonal gradient background. Wide buttons select more tones, narrow buttons select fewer tones.
    Advantage: For people new to luminosity masks, this arrangement can help visualize the tonal range of each mask. The Intro module continues to use the Luminosity Lock/Rapid Mask engine for generating luminosity masks, so the power, speed, and mask-based interface are all still available when using this module.
  2. Infinity (∞) button: ALT/Option opens a Curves adjustment layer instead of a Levels adjustment layer for modifying the Rapid Mask.
    Advantage: Some people prefer Curves.

LayerMask module

LayerMask module

  1. The black background of the LumLock section now tone-pulses from black to gray then back to black.
    Advantage: Visually more distinct than the previous black background to better distinguish the LayerMask module from the RapidMask module that has a similar layout.
  2. Infinity (∞) button: ALT/option opens a Curves adjustment instead of Levels.
    Advantage: Some people prefer Curves.

RapidMask module

  1. Paint button: ALT/option just resets brushes for saturation painting without creating a new layer.
    Advantage: Makes it easier to return to the Saturation Painting layer to update it.
  2. Infinity (∞) button: ALT/option opens a Curves dialog window instead of Levels.
    Advantage: Some people prefer Curves.
  3. Enhanced visibility when “Auto-Apply” is checked. The words “Auto-Apply” change to green and the black background tone-pulses from black to gray.
    Advantage: Better distinguishes when “Auto-Apply” is turned on.

RapidMask module

RapidMask module

Actions module

Actions module

  1. Clarity button: ALT/option runs the action on a Smart Object layer.
    Advantage: Allows the blur radius to be changed later. This is done by double-clicking the “High Pass” filter on the Smart Object layer and entering a different Radius value.
  2. Orton Effect button: ALT/option runs the action on a Smart Object layer.
    Advantage: Blur can be readjusted later as needed by double-clicking Gaussian Blur on the Smart Object layer.
  3. Personal action buttons: Several changes:
    a) ALT/option-click opens a window that allows the user to change the button’s name.
    Advantage: Easier to remember the action associated with each button.
    b) CTRL/command-click opens a window that allows the user to change the button’s rollover Help message.
    Advantage: A more descriptive message about the action programmed into this button can be entered.
    c) Shift-click restores the default name and rollover Help for the button.
  4. Larger font size for the “Dimension” and “Opacity” fields.
    Advantage: Easier to see on high-resolution monitors.
  5. Better stacking capability for smaller monitors via a workaround that fools Photoshop into believing the panel is shorter than it is.

Batch module

Actions module

  1. Larger font size for the “Dimension” and “Opacity fields.
    Advantage: Easier to see on high-resolution monitors.
  2. Multi-dimensional batch web-sharpening is now available. If images need to be output to different sizes, multiple dimensions can be entered in the “Dimension” field. It’s just necessary to separate each value with a semicolon and have no spaces. Example: 800;1024;2048. Using this example, three images will be output for every input image, each having one of the three listed dimensions: 800-pixels, 1024-pixels, and 2048-pixels. The action adds a suffix to each image listing the dimension to which it has been sized.

I hope you find these enhancements useful. More to come, so stay tuned.

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