More TK7 Go panel videos from Dave Kelly

Dave Kelly continues to make videos that explore different sections of the TK7 Go panel. Rather than trying to cover everything the panel does, Dave focuses on one or two methods for making and using masks, and then demonstrates different options within the panel for fine-tuning and using that mask.

The key to deciding which mask to use is usually dictated by the what you’re trying to select. If the brightness or the darkness of a particular element is its defining characteristic, then a luminosity mask or zone mask will be an effective starting point. Luminosity masks are probably best if you’re looking to target light tones or dark tones INCLUDING the whitest whites and the blackest blacks. Zone masks, however, are better at targeting the light gray, dark gray, and midtone gray tones that EXCLUDE pure white and pure black. If the defining characteristic of the element to be selected is color, then infinity color masks are a good starting point since they allow very targeted masks based on color.

Keep in mind that the first mask choice is not necessarily going to be the perfect mask. Modifying the mask is usually helpful for improving it. The TK7 Go panel has options for fine-tuning the initial mask choice, and the MODIFY section provides additional controls. These options often make significant improvements to the initial mask. The desired elements can be better selected (made whiter in the mask preview) and parts of the image that should not be selected can be made darker or even black. Properly modifying the mask is an important second step in order to better sculpt the mask to fit your particular image.

In the first video below, Dave focuses on using zone masks to make adjustments to different tonal ranges in the image. At the beginning, he takes a close look at how the Go module’s mask controls work using a step-tablet image of the different zones. Seeing what the different zone mask sliders do on this control image makes it easier to understand what they’re doing in the more complex setting like an actual photograph. (You can download Dave’s step-tablet image here.) Dave includes three different examples of using zone masks to adjust brightness in specific parts of the image. Zone masks are one of my favorite techniques since they are so precise at selecting the initial tone and then can be easily adjusted to be even more specific.

In the second video below, Dave uses both luminosity and zone masks to make gentle adjustments to the image. This video emphasizes the experimental nature of creating these masks. Sometimes a luminosity mask works better and sometimes a zone mask works better. It may not be entirely obvious which will work best until you try both and see. In addition to experimenting with different types of masks, Dave also uses different mask controls, like the different color channels for luminosity masks and the sliders for zone masks, to fine-tune the initial selection. Then, to take it a step further, he uses the MODIFY section of the Go module to add contrast to the mask and to paint out some areas with black paint to make an even better selection of his chosen subject. These types of adjustments quickly become second nature since you actually see the mask on-screen and can make modifications based on how the mask looks.

In the final video below, Dave looks at making adjustments using infinity color masks. Color masks add an entirely new dimension to the masking process. Unlike luminosity masks (which are based on pixel brightness), hue and saturation are the two pixel values that determine what gets selected with infinity color masks. Things that would be impossible to select based on brightness are sometimes very easy to select based on color. As with luminosity and zone masks, color masks also offer specific mask controls for choosing the hue range, mask brightness, and color feathering. And, of course, the MODIFY section can again be used to make even more precise masks. The one caveat when choosing to use infinity color masks is to make sure the colors are colorful. Unsaturated colors can still be selected, but the masks will be quite dark, even in the selected pixels. Saturated colors definitely produce brighter masks.

The big takeaway in Dave’s latest videos is that there is no preset way to use luminosity, zone, and color masks. The characteristics of the image will determine the best place to start, but the panel’s ability to quickly adjust and modify the initial mask also plays an important role in generating the best mask for a desired adjustment. Some experimentation may be necessary, but with a little practice, it’s easy to generate a targeted, perfectly-feather mask with just a few mouse clicks. I think you’ll enjoy Dave’s latest videos. Be sure give them a thumbs-up and consider subscribing to his YouTube channel to get the latest updates.

TK8-beta: Video plus more information

Adobe’s new UXP plugin architecture continues to evolve rapidly. Less than a year ago, Adobe indicated that the current CEP architecture for extension panels, like the TK7 panel, would be supported for years to come. Now, in this post on an Adobe forum, there are hints that CEP panels may be deprecated as soon as Photoshop 2022, which is likely to be released in October this year. CEP panels are essentially already deprecated on Mac M1 computers (unless running Photoshop in emulation mode), and I think this decision NOT to support CEP on Mac M1 computers is possibly a signal that Adobe is hoping to move entirely to UXP plugins sooner than originally anticipated.

TK8-beta was released on 1 April 2021. It is built on Adobe’s UXP architecture and includes almost all the features of the TK7 panel. As such, TK8-beta works fine on Mac M1 computers and should be compatible with future versions of Photoshop even if Adobe stops supporting CEP panels. TK8-beta is a free upgrade for customers who have downloaded TK7 version 2, which was released 1 July 2020. To get TK8-beta, either look for the download link I emailed from the download server on 1 April 2021 or use your original download link. Both download links would have come from “client@e-junkie.com” and searching your email for that address might be the easiest way to find a download link for TK8-beta.

Given the uncertainty surrounding this transition from CEP to UXP for Photoshop extensions, I’d suggest that all TK7 version 2 users download TK8-beta to make sure you have a working TK panel going forward. As of April 1, TK7 purchases automatically receive TK8-beta in the download folder, but those who purchased before 1 April 2021 will have to download using one of the methods listed above to insure they have a copy. If you can’t find the recent or original download link, please contact me and we’ll get it worked out.

I’ve received a fair amount of feedback on TK8-beta already, and can happily report that it installs and works as expected. There are a few typos in the tooltips (no surprise), and I’ll get those corrected. There’s also the issue of the plugin stealing focus from Photoshop and not handing it back as discussed in this post. This results in keyboard shortcuts not always working properly after clicking on a UXP panel. I’ve found that the best solution is to simply click on a blank area of the Options bar for current Photoshop tool. This restores focus to Photoshop 100% of the time and re-enables all keyboard shortcuts. This focus issue is something Adobe is aware of and working to correct.

Overall, TK8-beta is a fully functional UXP plugin that is living up to expectations. The final TK8 plugin will look and run almost exactly like the beta version but with several new features added. So, if you’d like to get a head start on transitioning to a UXP-style plugin, TK8-beta is available now. It works in Photoshop 2021 and makes luminosity masks and other masks just like TK7. Both TK7 and TK8-beta are available on the Panels & Videos page. The video above goes over the new features in TK8-beta compared to TK7. Please give TK8-beta a try and let me know if you if you have any thoughts or questions.

Free Update: TK8-beta

With the release of Photoshop 22.3.0 in March 2021, users of Mac computers with the M1 chip now have an ARM-based version of Photoshop that runs natively on the new chip. Adobe claims increased speed for this version of Photoshop, and from watching it perform via internet screen-sharing, it does appear to be noticeably faster.

This new ARM-based version of Photoshop only supports Photoshop extensions (now called “plugins” by Adobe) that use Adobe’s UXP plugin architecture. The older CEP architecture is still supported if Photoshop is run in Intel emulation mode, i.e. Rosetta, but this sacrifices the optimization and speed Adobe has developed for the M1 chip.

The current TK7 panel was developed using the older CEP architecture since that was all that was available at the time. However, I started UXP coding in July 2020, and the TK Lum-Mask plugin released last October used it. Based on what I learned developing that plugin, I planned to convert TK7 to the UXP format also. However, once I started this process, I knew that simply recreating TK7 using the new UXP architecture wasn’t going to cut it. UXP lets me do new things, so why not push further? And so, the idea for TK8 quickly came into focus. The general layout of TK7 would be maintained in TK8 to make the transition as easy as possible, but there would be new functions, new actions, new masks, bigger buttons, better options, and faster response. TK7 would be a conceptual foundation, but TK8 would be a next-generation plugin, better than anything that came before.

Months into the process, TK8 is on target to live up to expectations. I’m really excited by it and hope to have it available later this year. However, ARM-based Photoshop is here now, and Mac M1 users need a plugin that utilizes the new UXP architecture now. So, TK8-beta is being released now to accommodate them. It has almost all the functions of the current TK7 panel plus a few of the new features planned for TK8. And, while the Mac M1 is the main reason for releasing TK8-beta at this time, the new plugin also works on all computers running Photoshop 2021. Intel-based Mac and Windows computers can install TK8-beta the same as M1 Macs. So even if you don’t have a Mac M1 computer, you can still try out TK8 to see where things are headed. Both TK7 and TK8-beta can be installed simultaneously, so you can choose which you’d like to use.

New features available in TK8-beta compared to TK7 include:

  • Optional “always on” tooltips
  • Cleaner user interface with bigger buttons
  • Expanded web-sharpening options
  • Improved Layer Mask mode to allow rapidly trying different luminosity masks as layer masks
  • New method for adding user actions
  • Ability to add unlimited user actions to the Combo and Cx modules
  • More obvious selection indicators
  • New mask modification options

However, this is a beta version of TK8. It’s is still being developed and Adobe is also still developing the UXP architecture as well. So, while I see the potential of TK8, I’m also aware of some limitations.

  • No written instruction manual or video documentation. There are extensive tooltips coded into all buttons and sliders and much of the TK7 literature applies equally well to TK8-beta, but there is no definitive resource that covers the different elements and how they work.
  • English-only. Multiple languages are once again planned from the product version of TK8, but translation happens near the end of the development process and will be added later.
  • All UXP plugins have a “focus” issue as discussed on this thread. They steal focus from Photoshop so that keyboard shortcuts don’t always work after clicking on a UXP plugin. This is an issue Adobe is aware of and plans to fix, but it can be annoying. NOTE: Clicking on the Options bar restores focus to Photoshop.
  • Can’t rule out bugs. While I’ve been testing TK8 extensively, it’s all new code, which means there’s the possibility I’ve missed something. However, releasing an early beta version means that anyone using the plugin can contribute to making it better. Simply contact me if you find something that doesn’t work or could be improved.

TK8-beta is free for all customers who have previously downloaded TK7 version 2. The download server has already sent an email with the necessary files. Check your email (including the junk/spam folder) if you already have TK7 version 2 that was released in July 2020. Additionally, TK8-beta is now included in the download folder for TK7. So you can also use your original “TK7 (updated)” download link to get a new download folder that contains the installer for TK8-beta.

TK8-beta will give you an idea of what to expect when the product version is available later in 2021. It’s continuing to evolve and already has several new features beyond what’s included in this beta version. I hope you’ll give it a try and provide feedback on any problems encountered or additional features that would be useful.

More TK7 videos from Dave Kelly

Dave Kelly has continued to create video content about the TK7 panel on his YouTube channel, The Joy of Editing. One of the themes he’s exploring is how to use the different masks available in the Go module. The Go module was the new mask generator in last year’s TK7 update and it’s part of an evolution to simplify the mask making-process. The videos below are his most recent ones that take a look at using the Go module.


Dodging and burning is covered in the first video linked below. This is one of the most fundamental and powerful ways to us luminosity masks. The mask essentially creates a stencil, and painting through this stencil in the form of a Photoshop selection deposits either black paint for burning or white paint for dodging precisely on those parts of the image where it’s intended to have an effect. Multiple brush strokes can be used to intensify the effect in certain parts of the image and not others, and even colored paint can be applied, so it’s possible to burn and dodge with color. There is a lot of creative flexibility when burning and dodging through luminosity mask selections, and it’s a technique that can be used on almost every image.


In the next video, Dave looks at combining luminosity masks with Photoshop plug-ins like Topaz Studio. This is a really interesting application of luminosity masks and it makes perfect sense. Luminosity masks, because they are based on pixel-level data, provide perfectly feathered edges. So blending in a Topaz adjustment is very much like exposure-blending with luminosity masks. In both cases there is a seamless blend creating a natural transition between the different effects.


In the third episode of the series on using the Go module, Dave runs through several processing steps on three different images. What I really like about this episode is Dave’s experimental approach to incorporating the masks in his workflow, and experimentation is a very important part of the creative process. It’s sometimes easy to forget that generating luminosity and other pixel-level masks would be hopelessly inefficient if we had to do it manually. The Go module completely removes this barrier by making a huge variety of masks available at the click of a button. Dave shows that it’s easy to experiment and find the right mask and then apply it to achieve the desired outcome. This video also features luminosity masks being used on monochrome images. Luminosity masks have a reputation for being best suited for color landscape and nature photography. The reality is they can be used with ANY photograph, and monochrome, especially, can benefit from their ability to isolate specific tonal ranges in the image.


I find Dave’s videos enjoyable to watch as they reflect a real-world application of the panel. No one is going to use every feature in the different modules, but there’s a high likelihood that certain features will be incredibly useful. It all depends on what you’re looking to do with an image, and Dave provides plenty of ideas for incorporating different functions into the workflow.

Since many people will find Dave Kelly’s videos useful, I reached out to him and provided a discount code that he’s included in his video descriptions on YouTube. It’s works on all items on the Panels & Videos page.