NEW and FREE: TK Lum-Mask plugin for Adobe Photoshop 2021

I’m excited to announce the launch of the new “TK Lum-Mask” plugin for Adobe Photoshop.  TK Lum-Mask is a luminosity mask generator built on Adobe’s Unified Extensibility Platform (UXP), which is new in Photoshop 2021. Luminosity masks are a unique creative tool, and the TK Lum-Mask plugin makes it easy to add them to your workflow.  NOTE: Adobe uses the more inclusive term “plugin” to refer to applications developed on UXP, instead of “panel.”

The TK Lum-Mask plugin is FREE and available right now through the new plugin marketplace. It requires having Photoshop 2021 (Photoshop v 22.0) installed, so be sure to do that first. If you don’t see the update listed in your Creative Cloud Desktop app, click “Help > Check for updates” in order to activate this update in your “Apps > Updates” menu. Once Photoshop v 22.0 is installed, CLICK HERE to install the TK Lum-Mask plugin.

Then either click the “Open link” button that pops up or the “Get” button on the webpage. After that, follow the prompts to install the plugin.

Alternatively, you can discover and install the plugin from your Creative Cloud Desktop app following these steps:

  1. Open the Creative Cloud Desktop app.
  2. Click on the “Marketplace” tab at the top.
  3. Click on the “All plugins” menu along the side.
  4. Find “TK Luminosity Mask” in the list of plugins.
  5. Click the “Get” button and follow the on-screen prompts to install it.

You will see the message below when the plugin has installed successfully.

Once the plugin is installed, open Photoshop and click through Plugins menu > TK Luminosity Mask > TK Lum-Mask to open the plugin. 

NOTE:  “Plugins” is a new top-level menu to access all UXP-based plugins in Photoshop 2021.

The TK Lum-Mask plugin is similar to the TK Basic V6 panel, which you may already have. It quickly generates preset Lights, Darks, and Midtones luminosity masks that can be viewed in real time on-screen in Photoshop. The plugin also provides several output options for deploying the masks that are created. The bit depth of the masks generated by the plugin always matches that of the image, so with 16-bit images you get 16-bit masks throughout the process. The images below outline how this plugin works. You can also download the instructions PDF here.

You might be wondering what the new UXP architecture means for current Photoshop extensions, like the TK7 panel.  Adobe’s long-term goal is to move all Photoshop plugins to UXP, but it also plans to continue supporting the current panel architecture, called “CEP,” for the foreseeable future, so there is no danger that the TK7 panel will stop working anytime soon.

I’ve been collaborating with the Adobe team for several months to build the new TK Lum-Mask plugin and have also started transitioning the TK7 modules to UXP while adding some new features.  I hope to complete the work in 2021 and release the UXP versions of TK7 when they’re ready. 

Even if are using the Basic V6 or TK7 panel now, I’d recommend installing the UXP-powered TK Lum-Mask plugin (even temporarily) to get a sense for where things are headed.  It has a new look that will likely find its way into other plugins I develop on this platform.  If you like what you see, please consider leaving a positive rating in the plugin’s marketplace listing.  If you don’t like it or have suggestions on how to improve it, please contact me with your recommendations.

NOTE: It’s easy to uninstall this plugin at any time using the “Marketplace” tab within the Creative Cloud Desktop app.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Photoshop is the only image-developing software that I know of that supports third-party extensions like TK7 and TK Lum-Mask, and it was exciting to work with the Adobe team to use UXP to create the TK Lum-Mask plugin.  Adobe’s move to the UXP architecture demonstrates their continued commitment to allow third-party developers to create unique applications that feel native to Photoshop.  Collaborating with Adobe also provided a first-hand look at the resources needed to make this possible, and the team behind this effort is impressive.  UXP is a big step forward that will allow new and better things to happen with Photoshop.