Vibrance, Saturation, Smart Orton: A closer look at what the TK7 panel can do

I’m well aware that the TK7 panel can seem a bit overwhelming at first. Lots of buttons that do lots of stuff, and it’s not all luminosity masks. That’s why I appreciate Dave Kelly doing some videos that take a closer look at specific features and how to use them. These videos narrow the focus considerably and explore one or two techniques in detail. Knowing how the different functions work provides a sense for what is possible, and once you know what’s possible, you can decide when it might work to add that feature to your workflow. Dave’s latest videos feature techniques that I find particularly useful on many of my images: Saturation and Vibrance masks and the Orton effect.

The first video below goes over how to use Vibrance masks. Saturation and vibrance are both areas of image development that don’t get a lot of attention. Yes, we might adjust them when things don’t look quite right, but there’s a creative side to explore as well. I’ve found that Vibrance masks are often ideal for making a global saturation increase. The correct Vibrance mask in combination with a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer can add a nice saturation pop to the image without over-saturating colors that are already quite saturated. By using a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer instead of a Vibrance adjustment layer to control saturation, individual color channels can also be adjusted independently to fine-tune the effect. Dave shows how to do this. This technique is one of my favorites to try near the end of the processing workflow to make sure I’ve pushed the image’s saturation as far as possible without overdoing it.

Saturation masks are the flip-side of Vibrance masks in a couple of ways. The first is that they target the opposite pixels as Vibrance masks. Vibrance masks are brightest in areas with the least-saturated colors whereas saturated pixels show brightest in Saturation masks. Additionally, Saturation masks often work best with local adjustments (instead of a global adjustment) via a technique called saturation painting. This process loads a Saturation mask as a selection, and then painting gray through this selection onto a special layer lowers the saturation in areas of the image where the color looks too hot. It’s a very precise way to target over-saturated colors without affecting the overall global saturation of the image. Dave demonstrates how it’s done in the video below.

By combining global saturation adjustments through a Vibrance mask with local saturation adjustments via saturation painting, a new (and often better) saturation balance can be achieved in the image. The image will look better because saturation has been specifically addressed using masks that can accurately target different levels of saturation in the image.

The final video below looks at additional ways to add some finishing touches to the image: the Make-It-Glow and Smart Orton techniques. Make-It-Glow is pretty much a one-click technique that adds a nice sense of glow to the image via color blurring without blurring the image’s texture. It works well on warm-colored subjects like sandstone, autumn leaves and flowers.

The Smart Orton action takes the regular Orton effect (which combines a saturation and contrast boosts along with Gaussian blur) and breaks it into it’s component parts. Shadows, highlights, blur, and contrast all have their own layers, and users can adjust them to get whatever effect looks best on their image. It might feel a bit daunting at first, but Dave walks you through the various layers and adjustments in the video below.

Be sure to subscribe to Dave’ Kelly’s Joy of Editing YouTube channel to get the latest TK7 videos along with additional videos about Topaz and Nik filters.

6 thoughts on “Vibrance, Saturation, Smart Orton: A closer look at what the TK7 panel can do

  1. Dave Kelly’s YouTube tutorials are excellent. Thanks to his videos, I learned about the TK panels. And now I depend on both Dave Kelly and Sean Bagshaw for tutorials on how to use.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dave is doing an excellent job tackling small sections at a time. I have been following him for a couple of months now (and Sean for years).

    The Vibrance/Saturation taught me a few tricks. The one (today) on LAB Color Contrast was eye opening and taught me something I didn’t know existed.


  3. Just letting you know you have a great product here. Thank you for the work you have done on creating and updating the panels. I started with version 5 and love what developments made since. The new Go module is the bomb, can’t wait to see what you come up with next. As a suggestion for a new video from Dave or Sean, we know that if you open a raw file from camera raw as a smart object you are still working in a 32 bit lossless environment. It would be so cool if this could be explored and components of the panel could be utilized in a greater fashion as many tools are not available in 32 bit.


    1. David–Thanks for the positive feedback. When you open a RAW file as a smart object using the “Open as object” option in Camera Raw,, I’m not sure how or why that would now be a 32-bit embedded RAW file now. The original RAW file is likely a 12-bit or 14-bit file, so that’s what would be embedded in the smart object. The bit depth of the RAW file would not change by embedding it in a smart object. Once you are in Photoshop you can change the document to 32-bit mode, but there’s not much reason to do that, IMO. You’d lose a lot of Photoshop’s overall functionality since many features don’t work in 32-bit mode regardless if you’re working with a smart object or not. There are some definite advantages of preserving your original RAW file in the Photoshop document, and Sean does cover that in his “The Complete Guide to Smart Object Techniques” quite extensively. But he’s still using a RAW file at it’s original bit-depth. Hope that makes sense. Let me know if you have additional thoughts.


  4. Tony, You are so right! These mini lessons from Dave Kelly are great. I’ve really expanded my ‘how to’ knowledge about parts of the panels that I’d never used before. Jody E.

    On Fri, Jun 11, 2021 at 8:33 AM Good Light Journal wrote:

    > Tony Kuyper posted: ” I’m well aware that the TK7 panel can seem a bit > overwhelming at first. Lots of buttons that do lots of stuff, and it’s not > all luminosity masks. That’s why I appreciate Dave Kelly doing some videos > that take a closer look at specific features and how ” >


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