NEW! TKActions Basic Panel–FREE!

I’m pleased to announce the availability of a new extension panel for Photoshop. The TKActions Basic panel creates luminosity masks and is meant to provide a simple way for anyone to add these techniques to their workflow.

The Basic panel incorporates the latest 16-bit method for making luminosity masks.  It’s essentially the “Basic” tab of the TKActions V4 panel with a new layout and added features.  The panel’s embedded scripts create Lights, Darks, and Midtones luminosity masks and also generate Curves and Levels adjustment layers with luminosity masks as the layer masks.  This makes it super easy to start using luminosity masks to confine adjustments to specific tones and to see how adjustments through these masks blend perfectly into the rest of the image.

The “Channels” section of the panel creates luminosity masks on Photoshop’s Channels panel AND also creates an active selection of the designated mask at the same time.  Active luminosity selections are the basis for luminosity painting, one of the most powerful methods for using luminosity masks.  It’s an excellent technique for localizing brightness adjustments when burning and dodging.  Painting through luminosity selections also provides precision for mask painting when exposure blending.

There is an integrated active selection indicator at the top of the panel. It’s a black and white scrolling bar that turns on anytime Photoshop detects an active selection. Since some luminosity selections do not generate selection borders (marching ants), this animated indicator informs the user when a selection is indeed present. Even if the marching ants are hidden in order to better evaluate painting through a selection, the indicator stays on and continues to provide a reminder that the selection is still active.

The white box at the bottom of the Basic panel provides rollover Help for any button.  Simply roll the mouse over a button and this area displays a message as to what the button does.

Clicking on the rollover Help window opens the panel’s settings.  From the settings dialog, users can control the panel’s color saturation and choose from five different languages for the panel’s interface.

The Instructions PDF is a short document that provides a more complete overview of the panel and what it does.

The TKActions Basic panel is free and can be downloaded here. It works on Mac and Windows computers and there are versions for Photoshop CC and Photoshop CS6 in the download folder. Four videos by Sean Bagshaw are also included to insure users are able to get the most benefit from the new panel.

Free Panel to Make 16-bit Luminosity Masks

Lately I’ve been experimenting with several features that could make Photoshop extension panels easier to install and use. To test some of these new elements, I’ve created a mini-panel (image below) focused on just making 16-bit luminosity masks, like the downloadable actions that were available in the previous blog posts. With the new custom panel these same actions can now be run with a click of a button instead of having to play them from Photoshop’s regular Actions panel. The new panel can be downloaded free at this website.

TK-mini panel

It’s a very simple panel overall and provides the easiest way yet to quickly generate the Lights, Darks, and Midtones series of luminosity masks using the new 16-bit process. The luminosity masks generated are placed on the Channels panel, so check there for the results after clicking one of the buttons. Luminosity masks can do many things, and it’s up to the user to determine which mask they want to use and how to use it for their image. Techniques for using luminosity masks are described in the tutorials section of my website.

The CC and CS6 versions look slightly different, but do the same thing. They also have slightly different installation procedures. The complete Instructions PDF describes how to install the panel, how to use it, and also has some trouble-shooting tips. Please take a few minutes to read it before installing the panel to help insure that the process goes smoothly.

Once installation is complete on any compatible version of Photoshop, open Photoshop and click through the menu commands Window > Extensions > TK. The panel should appear. Once available, it can be opened, closed, and docked to a panels bar just like over Photoshop panels. An image needs to be open for most of the buttons to work.

This is my first experience with the new features and distribution method. If there are problems, please let me know. We can try and work them out together.