The V6 RapidMask2 Module: Any mask, any time

I recently completed an updated video (below) on using the V6 RapidMask2 module. This module is at the heart of the TKActions V6 panel and was designed to be a mask-making juggernaut. Its evolution can be traced to the original luminosity mask concepts, but it’s moved far beyond the confines of those earlier techniques. One compact module can now make any pixel-based mask with just a few mouse clicks. Color, channel, saturation, and vibrance masks are as easily generated with RapidMask2 as standard luminosity masks. The built-in Rapid Mask engine quickly turns pixel values into masks, and these masks are viewed on-screen at near real-time speeds so it’s easy to experiment with different masks and find the best one.

It’s worth noting that all RapidMask2 masks are created using calculations, which provide the smoothest masks of any method to generate them. I experimented with a Curves adjustment layer for generating masks and even created a prototype panel using this method. However, I abandoned Curves when I saw the obvious tonal separation for tones with low pixel density in the image histogram. Calculated masks in RapidMask2 automatically adjust to match pixel density in selected tones by varying mask brightness. This isn’t possible when a static Curves adjustment creates the mask. So I’ve stuck with calculations for making masks in RapidMask2 and am confident it produces the best possible masks.

These calculations also completely avoid 8-bit selections as masks are generated and deployed. While I previously described the calculations process for making 16-bit masks and built it into the Rapid Mask engine, the reality is that calculations always make masks that match the bit depth of the image. Even 32-bit masks are possible with Rapidmask2 if you’re using the 32-bit mode in Photoshop.

The video below walks you through the workflow for using RapidMask2 to create and use pixel-based masks. It’s basically a four-step process:

  1. Choose a data source (luminance/color/saturation/etc) in the SOURCE section.
  2. Click different masks in the MASK section to find the best one.
  3. Optionally adjust the mask using the MODIFY section.
  4. Deploy the mask using the OUTPUT section.

This video will show you that it’s actually quite easy to make and use pixel-based masks once you have a panel that does most of the work.

More information on using RapidMask2 and the other V6 modules can be found in Sean Bagshaw’s V6 Video Guide series on the Panels & Videos page.

7 thoughts on “The V6 RapidMask2 Module: Any mask, any time

    1. Thanks, Joe. I’m sure your teaching skills are a big factor in getting your students up to speed with these techniques. I’m hoping this video will help others better understand how to work with the panel too.

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  1. It is very intuitive and super easy. Makes PP easy and makes intended expression through image more compelling. Thank you for this contribution.

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  2. Thank you Tony,

    Between you and Sean my landscape photography has improved dramatically. Over the years I’ve purchased your panels and Sean’s videos going all the way back to version 2.

    The straightforward and yet comprehensive V6 video below coalesces the knowledge I’ve gained from Sean’s video tutorials on V6.

    I will be applying these techniques to astrophotography as I acquire those images with my telescope. Bringing out the delicate cloud patterns of nebulae will be well within my control as I apply the various masks available through your RapidMask2 module. Over time, as I become more proficient and as you produce even more capable tools, as I expect you will, my images can only improve.

    In about a month I will be giving a demonstration of how to more precisely control the luminosity, color and contrast of celestial objects using the V6 panels.

    Thanks again,

    Bob farrell

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    1. Thanks for the positive feedback, Bob. I’m glad to hear these tools have been useful to you and that your photography has evolved with the panels. I also keep finding new things to do with these masks and it’s one of my favorite things about these techniques. They’re definitely NOT static with only one way to use them.

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  3. Hi Tony,
    When I first received this video I played a portion of it and questioned why you had distributed it. Then yesterday I decided to play it all the way through and I could not believe what I learned, particularly the logic behind adding and subtracting masks, something that wasn’t awfully clear to me until I viewed this video. Thanks so much for sending this one out and thanks to both you and Sean for what you have done for my photo development as well as that of many others I’m sure.

    Tom Ford

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    1. Thanks for the feedback, Tom. I’m not the best at making vids but wanted to try one where I did a more thorough overview about RapidMask2 and my logic behind making it the way I did. I’m glad it was useful to you.

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