TKActions V4 — A New Panel for Luminosity Masks and Beyond
I’m pleased to announce a new TKActions panel for Photoshop. This is the fourth version of this custom luminosity mask panel (V4) and has been completely rebuilt. It takes advantage of new capabilities in Photoshop extension panels–smaller footprint, smarter buttons, updated interface, and more features–to provide users a practical and efficient way to add luminosity masks to their workflow.
The top part of the panel is a Photoshop control center. It executes many common menu commands and keyboard short cuts with the click of a button. Most of the usual steps for developing an image can be accessed from here.
The bottom of the panel has three tabs. The Spectrum tab provides a new interface for creating luminosity masks. The widths of the buttons in this section roughly match the tonal ranges that will be selected in the image. Standard luminosity masks (Lights/Darks/Midtones) as well as subtracted and zone masks can now all be created with a single click.
In addition to the Spectrum tab, the bottom of the panel also has an Actions and Basic tab. The Actions tab has several useful functions for enhancing the image and a web-sharpening section for preparing images for jpeg output that has been completely redesigned. The Basic tab provides an alternate interface for using luminosity masks with Curves and Levels adjustment layers and as Channel masks and selections.
A partial list of new features and improvements in the V4 panel includes:
- 16-bit luminosity masks−These were discussed in previous blog posts.
- Spectrum selection−Creates ALL masks, including zone and subtracted masks, that were available in the previous version 3 panel.
- Integrated actions−No more action sets to install on Photoshop’s regular Actions panel.
- Smart buttons−Panel buttons monitor the Photoshop workflow and only fire at the right time.
- Toggle buttons−Allows one button to perform multiple tasks.
- Active selection indicator−Keeps track of when there is an active selection even if the marching ants aren’t visible.
- Updated web-sharpening−No more fixed-dimensions. Users can enter their preferred dimension from 100 to 3000 pixels and easily tailor the level of sharpening to their taste.
- Condensed history−No more scrolling histories for buttons that execute multiple steps. One button, one click, one entry on the History panel, Ctrl/Command-Z to undo it.
- Tonal Clarity−A saturation-neutral method for enhancing detail and structure in an image.
- One-click Photoshop control−Many Photoshop menu commands and keyboard shortcuts can now be accessed from a color-coded interface for more efficient image processing.
- Midpoint rollovers−Choose among the different luminosity masks based on tones sampled from the image.
- Rapid clear channels−Quickly remove all alpha channels from the Channels panel to decrease file size and memory use.
- Creative Cloud installation−Once acquired, the new panel and future updates are automatically installed on computers signed in to the Creative Cloud desktop application (see this video and this one).
The new V4 panel is designed to help take the guesswork out of luminosity masks and make them more accessible than ever. It’s also meant to make other actions and tools more available to allow photographers to creatively develop their images. My website has additional information. The complete Instructions PDF can be downloaded and covers all aspects of the panel. Sean Bagshaw has also recorded a corresponding video series called the Video Guide to TKActions that explains the new panel in detail. Samples can be found below.