Photoshop v 22.4.0: How it affects the TK panel

Adobe recently released a new version of Photoshop (version 22.4.0).  If you’ve not already installed it, it’s available in your Creative Cloud Desktop app.  Unfortunately (but not unexpectedly) the new version also brings some new bugs.  The TK7 panel and the TK8-beta plugin are affected to a degree.  I’ve fixed everything that I know about, so the TK modules work OK with the new version of Photoshop. 

Missing Docking Icons

NOTE: This problem was fixed with the release of Photoshop 22.4.2 on 8 June 2021.

This is only a problem on Windows 10 computers, not on Mac.  The docking icons for all CEP panels (like TK7) and all UXP panels (like TK8-beta and TK Luminosity Mask) are gone.  They’re completely blank as shown in the image below.  Some of Adobe’s own panels are also affected; Adobe Color Themes and the Adobe Plugins panel have also lost their icons.  Clicking the panel’s button in the panel dock still opens the corresponding panel, but there’s no way to know which button is associated with which panel.  This is especially problematic if you have a large number of third-party extensions on your panel dock.  It’s nearly impossible to keep track of more than just few panels when these icons are blank.

I’m pretty sure Adobe is aware of the situation, though it has not been acknowledged yet in any of the forums I follow.  If these docking icons are important to you, the only solution is to use the Creative Cloud Desktop app to uninstall Photoshop v22.4.0 and then backtrack to the previous version of Photoshop.  NOTE: I just installed Photoshop v22.4.1 released 19 May 2021 and it did NOT fix this issue with docking icons.

Fortunately, the TK modules are designed with a small footprint and are meant to stay open in the Photoshop workspace, and so these missing icons might not be an issue for most users.  Sean Bagshaw has an excellent video that demonstrates how to dock the TK modules so they can always be available and not intrude into the image area of Photoshop.  I’ve linked to it below.  In the arrangements he suggests, no docking icons are needed in order to access the panel’s features since the user interface or panel tab is continuously accessible.

TK8-beta update             

While I wasn’t planning to do additional versions of TK8-beta, Photoshop v22.4.0 has made a newer version necessary.  The UXP architecture at the heart of TK8-beta is still being built out, and there were several things that stopped working in the latest Photoshop release.  I’ve fixed everything in TK8-beta that has been brought to my attention and have uploaded the patches to the download folder.  If you’re using TK8-beta, please use your download link to grab the updated version.  You can use the download link specifically for the TK8-beta plugin or also the one for the “TK7 panel (updated).” Both have the TK8-beta plugin included in the download folder. You can usually find your download link simply by searching your email for “e-junkie.com” as that’s the download server’s domain.  The download folder now contains the most recent version of everything.  For TK8-beta, double-clicking the .ccx files in the download folder initiates the installation process that overwrites your current modules with the new ones. Be sure to keep track of your download link. Additional fixes to TK8-beta may be necessary, and I’ll continue to update the download folder with the latest patches. If you have trouble locating your download link, please contact me.

TK Luminosity Mask plugin update

I decided to do an update on the free TK Luminosity Mask plugin available on the Adobe Marketplace (accessed via the Creative Cloud Desktop app) even though it was not affected by the new version of Photoshop.  If you have this panel installed, check the Creative Cloud Desktop app and look for the “Update” button.  Clicking it installs the new version (see image below).  NOTE:  If you don’t see the “Update” button, that probably means the update has already been installed.

Everything works the same in this new version of the plugin. I’ve just added a patch to restore the focus to Photoshop after clicking buttons on this plugin.  As such, keyboard shortcuts should work immediately after clicking buttons on the panel.  This patch is somewhat experimental.  I’ve not included it in TK8-beta yet.  I wanted to test it on the free TK Luminosity Mask panel first.

Finally, I want to say thank you to everyone who has tried the TK Luminosity Mask and TK8-beta plugins and for the feedback they’ve provided.  There’s no question that crowd-sourcing works when it comes to spotting problems and improving functionality.  It’s been very helpful to receive bug reports and feature requests.  The final version of TK8 will definitely be better because of the comments I’ve received on these early versions.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions.

TK8-beta: Video plus more information

Adobe’s new UXP plugin architecture continues to evolve rapidly. Less than a year ago, Adobe indicated that the current CEP architecture for extension panels, like the TK7 panel, would be supported for years to come. Now, in this post on an Adobe forum, there are hints that CEP panels may be deprecated as soon as Photoshop 2022, which is likely to be released in October this year. CEP panels are essentially already deprecated on Mac M1 computers (unless running Photoshop in emulation mode), and I think this decision NOT to support CEP on Mac M1 computers is possibly a signal that Adobe is hoping to move entirely to UXP plugins sooner than originally anticipated.

TK8-beta was released on 1 April 2021. It is built on Adobe’s UXP architecture and includes almost all the features of the TK7 panel. As such, TK8-beta works fine on Mac M1 computers and should be compatible with future versions of Photoshop even if Adobe stops supporting CEP panels. TK8-beta is a free upgrade for customers who have downloaded TK7 version 2, which was released 1 July 2020. To get TK8-beta, either look for the download link I emailed from the download server on 1 April 2021 or use your original download link. Both download links would have come from “client@e-junkie.com” and searching your email for that address might be the easiest way to find a download link for TK8-beta.

Given the uncertainty surrounding this transition from CEP to UXP for Photoshop extensions, I’d suggest that all TK7 version 2 users download TK8-beta to make sure you have a working TK panel going forward. As of April 1, TK7 purchases automatically receive TK8-beta in the download folder, but those who purchased before 1 April 2021 will have to download using one of the methods listed above to insure they have a copy. If you can’t find the recent or original download link, please contact me and we’ll get it worked out.

I’ve received a fair amount of feedback on TK8-beta already, and can happily report that it installs and works as expected. There are a few typos in the tooltips (no surprise), and I’ll get those corrected. There’s also the issue of the plugin stealing focus from Photoshop and not handing it back as discussed in this post. This results in keyboard shortcuts not always working properly after clicking on a UXP panel. I’ve found that the best solution is to simply click on a blank area of the Options bar for current Photoshop tool. This restores focus to Photoshop 100% of the time and re-enables all keyboard shortcuts. This focus issue is something Adobe is aware of and working to correct.

Overall, TK8-beta is a fully functional UXP plugin that is living up to expectations. The final TK8 plugin will look and run almost exactly like the beta version but with several new features added. So, if you’d like to get a head start on transitioning to a UXP-style plugin, TK8-beta is available now. It works in Photoshop 2021 and makes luminosity masks and other masks just like TK7. Both TK7 and TK8-beta are available on the Panels & Videos page. The video above goes over the new features in TK8-beta compared to TK7. Please give TK8-beta a try and let me know if you if you have any thoughts or questions.

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.