TK8 Update: Version 1.0.3 now available

Photoshop 2022 is scheduled to be released this week in conjunction with Adobe’s annual creativity summit known as Adobe MAX. Unfortunately, new versions of Photoshop can also introduce new bugs that can affect the app in different ways. This Adobe Tech Blog from mid-October indicates that Adobe is aware that Photoshop 2022 has the potential to create problems with UXP panels, like the recently released TK8 plugin. I’ve been monitoring the situation closely and testing with Photoshop (beta) to get a sense of how TK8 might be affected. NOTE: Photoshop (beta) is available to anyone via the Creative Cloud Desktop app and is already at version 23.0.0, which denotes Photoshop 2022. Overall, it looks like TK8 will still work in Photoshop 2022, though I have some concerns given the nature of the problem outlined in the article. The one interface issue I’ve noticed (that’s not addressed in the article), is that the mouse cursor sometimes doesn’t properly display the diagonal arrow when it’s moving over TK8 buttons. It might be a double-arrow grabber or even the current tool icon in Photoshop. Weird behavior, for sure, but relatively minor compared to the issues that were occurring in earlier versions of Photoshop (beta).

Based on the Adobe Tech Blog, I’ve made a number of changes to the code for the TK8 plugin to help insure there is less of a chance of serious problems when Photoshop 2022 becomes available. I hopefully even fixed the weird cursor issue as that was particularly annoying to me. As a result, there is a new version of TK8 available at the download server—TK8 version 1.0.3. You can always tell which version of the plugin you have by looking at the bottom right of the Preferences interface, which is accessed by clicking the “TK” button on any module.

The new version of TK8 also fixes some typos and tooltip issues that were brought to my attention. There are no new features or functions. The new version is just an effort to correct problems expected when Adobe releases Photoshop 2022.

Recommendations:

  • Update your TK8 plugin to TK8 version 1.0.3 by downloading again using your original download link. The download server has been sending out version 1.0.3 since yesterday (Saturday). Running the installers in a fresh download will overwrite the current version with version 1.0.3. Search your email for “client@e-junkie.com” (the address used by the download server) or “Tony Kuyper” (if you purchased from my website) to find your original download link. NOTE: Using your original download link is the preferred method for updating.
  • If you can’t find your original download link, watch your email for how to get a new one on Monday, October 25. I’m planning to send a MailChimp campaign to TK8 plugin customers on that day, and it will include information for getting a new download link if you can’t find yours. So, please wait for that email instead of contacting me today.
  • Download and install TK8 version 1.0.3 even if you don’t plan to install Photoshop 2022 right away. TK8 version 1.0.3 works in Photoshop 2021 and corrects a few minor bugs. So it is fine to install it and update to Photoshop 2022 later. The old version of TK8 will also still probably work in Photoshop 2022 based on what I’m seeing in Photoshop (beta), but TK8 version 1.0.3 will work better, and I recommend installing it.
  • When you do update to Photoshop 2022, keep your eyes open for other problems. I hope I have corrected everything in TK8, but Photoshop updates are unpredictable. For example, there are reports of user-specific settings for plugins (like personal actions you’ve added to the Combo/Cx modules or color-tagged buttons or menu items) being lost when updating to a new version of Photoshop. So be aware that this may occur, although this is not something I can fix. Retaining your Photoshop 2021 preferences, if given the option when updating to Photoshop 2022, might help prevent losing the user-specific settings.

It’s unfortunate that Photoshop updates are sometimes accompanied by new bugs. Adobe actively monitors things and sends out fixes periodically between the yearly releases. Yes, it’s frustrating, but it’s not the end of the world. Software is complex, and it’s almost predictable that bugs will occur. The Adobe Tech Blog indicates that Adobe is working hard to correct the current problems. However, the UXP architecture is still evolving, so there may be additional surprises in the future. I’ll try to stay on top of things and issue updates to TK8 when necessary. Be sure to hold on to your download link as it will always allow you to get the latest version.

If there are additional issues uncovered when Photoshop 2022 is released, I’ll post information here. Also, if you notice any issues specific to TK8 when working with Photoshop 2022, please contact me so I can investigate.

Finally, I am a “silver” sponsor at this year’s Adobe MAX event. If you attend, please stop by and visit the “TK Luminosity Masks” sponsor site. There will be a video on using luminosity masks and special MAX discounts available for items on the Panels & Videos page.

TK8: Color grading with masks

Color grading is the process of adding color to an image beyond the normal or natural color balance that existed when the photograph was taken. It has traditionally been used in films to impart a specific mood, like the color green that signaled the characters were inside the matrix in the “The Matrix” movie franchise. Photographs, however, can also benefit from color grading, and have actually been doing so for a long time. Things like warming up the colors for images taken around sunset and adding extra blue to images of ice and snow are common examples.

“Morpheus” from The Matrix movies. Notice how the green color grading lets viewers know he is inside the matrix. Image copyrighted by Warner Brothers.

Lightroom and Camera Raw added color-wheel-based color grading in 2020. Color grading an image could now be accomplished by simply dragging and dropping an icon on the color wheel to add that color to either the shadows, midtones, or highlights.

Camera Raw color grading interface.

Photoshop, however, still lacks a similar feature. Curves, Levels, or Color Balance adjustments layers can be used for color grading, but doing so requires using multiple points on the Curves adjustment layer or adjusting multiple sliders on Levels and Color Balance. There is no native, drag-and-drop color grading tool inside Photoshop.

The TK8 plugin now adds color-wheel-based color grading to Photoshop. Shadows, midtones, and highlights can all be adjusted by simply dragging and dropping a matching icon (black, gray, or white square) on the color wheel. The further the square is placed from the center of the color wheel, the more intense the color. In addition to changing colors, the brightness of the different tonal ranges can also be adjusted with the slider at the bottom of the interface.

TK8 color grading interface.

Using a color wheel greatly simplifies the color-grading process. Multiple colors and intensities can quickly be tested to find the right one. And while it’s certainly possible to color grade the entire image using the TK8 color grading interface, the real power of this feature lies in combining it with the different masks that the TK8 Multi-Mask module generates. Color grading has traditionally been associated with more global color adjustments to the image, but the TK8 masks allows it to be more specific and localized, while still providing the easy control that comes with the color-wheel interface. There’s even a specific color grading button in the module’s output section to a) automatically create the necessary color grading layer with the mask preview as the layer mask, and b) open the color grading interface to allow quick access to this functionality.

Red outline shows the color grading output button.

Color grading through masks also simplifies the entire color grading process. When color grading the entire image, it might be necessary to color grade all three tonal ranges—highlights, midtones, and shadows—to get the desired look. However, when color grading through a mask, it’s often NOT necessary to use all three tonal ranges. Simply color grading the midtones, for example, might be all that’s necessary to achieve the effect you’re looking for.

In the video below, Dave Kelly demonstrates how to combine color grading with different pixel-based masks generated with the TK8 Multi-Mask plugin. He first demonstrates color grading the entire image, but then starts narrowing it down, color grading the background separately. He then goes even further to work with luminosity masks, zone masks, and color masks as ways to constrain color grading to specific parts of the image. He even throws in using the mask calculator in the Multi-Mask module as a way to focus color grading right where it’s needed.

Color-wheel-based color grading provides a new option for controlling color inside Photoshop. Combining it with masks can make color adjustments even easier.

Be sure to subscribe to Dave Kelly’s YouTube channel for more TK8 videos.

TK8: New features list and videos

As mentioned in the previous post, launching the TK8 plugin encountered some major issues. They have been taken care of now and the sales page and download server are working properly. Thank you for your patience during this unfortunate event. I’m staying caught up on email for the most part now and the feedback has been mostly positive. I’m happy to hear that the transition from TK7 was straightforward for most users and that the interface, especially the Multi-Mask module, is easier to navigate. As a reminder, the discount codes sent to previous customers are good until October 22, and there is also a site-wide 25% discount on everything using the code: TK25off

There are a lot of new and improved features in TK8. I wanted to take it well beyond what TK7 offered. I know no one will use ALL the buttons and functions in TK8, but hopefully there will be enough favorites for everyone to make the plugin an important tool in their Photoshop workflow.

It would nearly impossible to cover all the new features in detail in one blog post, but I did want to provide a list so readers have an idea of what to look for and what to expect. Below this list are several videos (in different languages) that review some of the new features.

All modules

  • Tooltips are persistent unless turned off, but even turned off, holding down the “ALT” key on Windows or the “option” key on Mac displays them when moving the mouse over a button.
  • New selection indicators are more prominent, easier to see, and less likely to be overlooked.
  • Improved error message alerts for when user does something that could cause an unexpected result, and these are now translated into different languages.
  • More icons/fewer words.

Multi-Mask module (replaces TK7 Go and RapidMask modules)

  • New smart-phone-like interface for accessing different types of masks and functions.
  • Color-wheel-based color grading (like in Camera Raw).
  • Edge masks that find edges in the image.
  • Edit selections as masks.
  • Workflow extras which include sketch actions and gradient actions.
  • One-click add-adjustment-layer buttons at the bottom of the main interface for quickly making favorite adjustment layers.
  • Layer Mask mode with changeable luminosity masks (Lights, Darks, and Midtones) for quickly testing the effect of different masks on the image.
  • 2-UP mode also returns to Layer Mask mode.
  • Real-time Levels and Curves modification for any mask.
  • Mask calculator has been moved to the output section and has bigger buttons.
  • “Paint Color” output option for adding color to the image through a mask selection using Linear Light blend mode for the layer being painted.

Combo/Cx modules

  • Many new buttons: Linear Light blend mode at 15% fill opacity (replaces Hard Light)Merge Visible is now Stamp Visible (CTRL+click on Windows/command+click on Mac moves it to the top of the layer stack)Select SubjectSelect SkyFeather SelectionExpand SelectionContract SelectionFree TransformExport As…Gradient and Solid Color adjustment layer options added to the Adjustment Layers menu.
  • New “TK” actions: Fill TransparentAlign+FocusFill Edges check boxCTRL/command+click on the Clarity action runs it without the result being turned into a smart object.
  • Expanded web-sharpening options including presets, file-naming, and file-saving.
  • Add your personal watermark/logo with ease.
  • Smart object indicator visually specifies the contents of smart objects.
  • New, easier method to add user and button actions to the module.
  • Ability to add unlimited user actions to the User Actions list.
  • Preference available to NOT close “TK” and “User Actions” menus automatically.  This makes it possible to use Combo or Cx module with an alternate interface (TK or User actions) and thereby use both modules with one set to an alternate interface.

New feature videos

Several of the affiliates I work with have recorded videos discussing the new TK8 features. I’ve linked to them below. Some are in languages besides English.

Sean Bagshaw is basically the Dean of Luminosity Masks. He probably knows the TK8 plugin better than anyone (except maybe me) and has the skills to explain it so that photographers get the most out of it. His TK8 Video Guide is the definitive guide to TK8 for the English-speaking world. In the video below, he reviews his five favorite new TK8 features. Sean’s YouTube channel has a TK Quick Tips playlist.

Dave Kelly is basically an enthusiastic lab assistant at Professor Bagshaw’s Luminosity Mask University. Dave does a weekly series (“TK Friday”) where he focuses on explaining different features in the TK8 plugin and applying them to various images. Dave’s actually a student of many different photography techniques and enjoys sharing what he learns with others. In the video below, he too looks at some of his favorite TK8 features. Dave’s YouTube channel is here.

I’m not a big video maker, but I usually try to make one when updates are released. Below is the video I made for Sean’s, Antonio Prado’s, and André Distel’s video guide courses. It goes over where to find the new features in the TK8 plugin.

Antonio Prado is the Spanish world’s leading expert in everything TK. He too has a very deep understanding of the different pixel-based masks made possible by the TK8 plugin and explains everything in his Videoguía TK8 series. In the video below, in Spanish, he goes over the new features, and only he could cover this much territory in such a short amount of time.

Rafael Coutinho was a major source of ideas for TK8. He was constantly asking for new features and refinements, and they were all good, so I kept adding them. It’s great to have someone like this to prod me into constantly making a better product. In his video below, in French, he also covers the new features in TK8.

Isabella Tabacchi has been working with and teaching about luminosity masks for many years. In the video below, in Italian, she goes over the differences between the TK7 panel and TK8 plugin.

I hope you enjoy the new TK8 plugin.

Coming Soon: TK8

If things go according to plan, the new TK8 plugin will be released next Wednesday, September 22. This article provides information on several aspects surrounding its launch. Please review it carefully if you are a previous customer or are interested in trying the TK8 plugin.

The new TK8 plugin is built using Adobe’s new UXP architecture for extensions. It contains three modules: Multi-Mask, Combo, and Cx. The main interface of each is shown in the image above. TK8 works on Mac and Windows computers including the new Mac “M” computers. The new architecture required completely re-coding everything. Simply creating a TK7 clone would have saved time and been easier, but I wanted to use some of the new capabilities of UXP and also add several new features. So, I pushed ahead with developing a much improved plugin instead. TK8-beta, released in April this year, was essentially that TK7 clone. The full TK8 plugin goes much further. It’s truly a next-generation plugin that offers new levels of control and creativity in Photoshop. NOTE: The UXP architecture means TK8 will only work in Photoshop 2021 or later.

Important update information

The purpose of this post isn’t to detail all the new features in TK8. I’ll cover those in a future article. Right now I just want to let customers know that the plugin is ready and how to make sure they can get a copy if they’re interested. Below are some important points along this line.

  • Customers who purchased TK7 within the last year (12 months) will receive a free TK8 upgrade (some restrictions apply).
  • Previous customers who purchased the TK7 panel more than a year ago (or even an older version of the “TK” panel) will be offered a 50% discount on the new TK8 plugin.
  • Upgrade/update discount codes will be emailed on Wednesday, September 22 to the email address used when making the original purchase. If you have changed your email address since purchasing, contact me AFTER next Wednesday in order to receive the appropriate discount code.
  • Discount codes and upgrades expire in 30 days and will not be renewed or extended unless prior approval has been requested and approved.
  • Download server capability. While items purchased with 25% or 50% discount codes will NOT be affected, the download server will likely be unable to serve all the free upgrade requests, at least initially, probably for three or four days. If you receive an error message when trying to obtain a free upgrade, please try again the following day. I apologize for the inconvenience. Again, purchases with the 25% or 50% discount codes should be OK, just the free downloads may experience delays.
  • There will be a “soft launch” of the TK8 plugin and TK8 Video Guide on Monday, September 20. This mostly involves adding TK8 plugin information and purchase options to my website. The soft launch will test the website and download server to make sure things are working properly. Previous customers, however, should wait until Wednesday, September 22, to receive their discount codes before upgrading. Refunds will not be issued for purchases that do not utilize the appropriate discount codes.
  • There will be a site-wide 25% discount available during the TK8 launch period, so it’s a good time to get a good deal on any of Sean Bagshaw’s videos on the Panels & Videos page.
  • Free downloads for linear camera profiles will be temporarily unavailable during the launch period in order to allow the download server to provide free upgrades instead. If you’d like to download a linear profile for your camera, please do so before next Monday.

TK8 Video Guide

Just like the TK8 plugin is completely new, so is the TK8 Video Guide. Sean Bagshaw (English), Antonio Prado (Spanish), and André Distel (German) have all recorded new video guides covering the TK8 plugin. Each series reviews the plugin in detail in their respective languages and are probably the best way to quickly become proficient at using TK8. These photographers have been involved with the TK panel for many years. Their videos have been instrumental in making luminosity mask techniques available to photographers world-wide. They do a great job demonstrating the features in the TK8 plugin and each series provides numerous examples of innovative ways to add these masks to your workflow.

There will be special discounts on these video series for previous and new customers as well. These discount codes will be sent in a separate email on Wednesday, September 22, so be sure to watch for them. Sample videos will be available to watch when TK8 soft-launches on Monday, September 20. Check the Panels & Videos page for links.

The videos below are trailers from Sean Bagshaw, Antonio Prado, and André Distel for their respective TK8 video courses. In the first one, Sean Bagshaw provides a behind-the-scenes look at what’s involved in making a video course of this scope. He makes it look effortless, but there’s actually a lot of work that goes into a producing videos of this quality.

El siguiente video es un teaser de Antonio Prado en el que puedes ver lo que vas a encontrar en esta nueva versión de la Videoguía TK8.

In dem Video unten zeigt André Distel eine kurze Einführung seines TK V8 Video Guides in deutscher Sprache.

Final Note

I’m excited to finally release TK8. I think it’s the best “TK” panel yet and am sure you will find it useful. However, during a product launch, things tend to get a bit overwhelming with lots of questions and emails. I’ll apologize in advance for my slow replies. If you have a problem with the plugin, please check and try the recommendations in the “Troubleshooting” section of the installation PDF. If you continue to have problems, feel free to contact me, but please be patient. If you don’t hear from me in a day or two that probably means I missed or accidentally deleted your message. It can also indicate you entered an invalid email address on the contact form (that happens too). In either case, just contact me again. I want to help and I’m sure we’ll be able to connect eventually.

I hope you enjoy the TK8 plugin. I appreciate your patience while it was being developed and also the many recommendations and suggestions that have been incorporated into the final version.