Now Available: TK8 version 1.1.1

Over last few months I’ve continued to refine, fix, and update the TK8 plugin based on my experience using it as well as from feedback from other users. There are now enough changes and bug fixes to release an update to insure everyone using TK8 has access to the latest improvements. This update has been available at the download server since late in the day on January 6, 2022. So, if you’ve downloaded since then, you may already have TK8 version 1.1.1. You can always check your version of TK8 by clicking the “TK” button on any module to open the preferences and checking the lower right corner, which lists the version number.

This TK8 update is free to current TK8 customers. There are two ways to get it.

  1. The easiest and preferred method is to use your original download link. Search your email for “client@e-junkie.com”. This is the download server’s email address. Once you find a match, make sure the email includes a download link for the TK8 plugin and then use the link to get a fresh download. Running the installers in a fresh download will overwrite your previous TK8 modules with the latest TK8 version 1.1.1 modules.
  2. Update emails have also been sent to all TK8 customers via a MailChimp campaign. This email will tell you how to get a new download link if you can’t find your original link or if your original download link has expired. Be sure to check your junk/spam folder if you need to find the email. It was sent to the email address you used to purchase TK8. NOTE: Sean Bagshaw, André Distel (Germany) and Roy Yuan (China) have their own lists and will be contact customers independently. Please be patient until you hear from them.

Photoshop and the Adobe’s architecture for plugins (UXP) continue to evolve. There will likely be additional TK8 updates in the future. Be sure to hold onto your download link. It will always provide the latest version of TK8.

Most of the changes in this update are on the back end to make the TK8 plugin function better. The one thing some users will notice is that the My Channels interface has a list of available channels instead of buttons for these channels. This allows for an unlimited number of channels to be displayed as a scrollable list in the My Channels interface and is no longer limited to just the nine buttons in the previous version.

While not complete, the list below details some of the other changes included in TK8 version 1.1.1:

  • Mask-painting buttons in the Multi-Mask module (White Brush/Black Mask and Black Brush/White Mask buttons) have a bug corrected that affected when the active layer’s visibility is toggled off.
  • Mask-painting buttons also now work correctly when the “Auto-Select Targeted Adjustment Tool” option is toggled on in the fly-out menu of the Properties panel.
  • Brush tool blend mode defaults to Normal when clicking any of the plugin’s Burn/Dodge buttons or the Paint Color button.
  • Corrected a problem causing the error message “The command delete is currently not available” to sometimes display when making luminosity masks on the Multi-Mask panel on some computers.
  • Mask Calculator keypad is managed better (temporarily turned off) in the My Channels and Edit Selection interfaces when using these sections as part of a mask calculation.
  • Added more descriptive messages as to why Select Sky and Select Subject buttons might not work i.e. the active layer’s visibility is toggled off or the active layer is a group layer.
  • Fixed the My Channels “Layer Mask” option so that it now creates the correct layer mask preview even if multiple layers have the same name.
  • Corrected a bug when switching between multiple Color Grading layers to readjust the color grade. The Multi-Mask module now properly reads the color grading of the chosen layer when clicking its color grading square on the color wheel.

Reading through this list I realize that some of these changes might not make a lot of sense, but they will make for a smoother functioning TK8 plugin, especially as you explore the more advanced features it has to offer. It’s also worth noting that Dave Kelly was helpful in uncovering about 75% of the items in this list. His TK Friday video series on YouTube tends to be a bit of a stress test for the TK8 plugin. As such, he unearths problems that would probably never surface in casual use. I’m impressed at Dave’s ability to not only detect problems, but to also figure out the Photoshop intricacies that contribute to them. This update owes a lot to his use and understanding of TK8, and his tenacity in bringing potential issues to my attention.

If you spot a problem with TK8, please be sure to contact me. If I can replicate the problem, there’s a decent chance I can adjust the code to fix it.

TK7: Update 2020

The updated TK7 panel is now available. This is a major update for 2020 that was released on July 1 and starts version 2.0 for the TK7 panel. A subsequent bug fix (version 2.0.1) was released roughly a week later (July 6 and 7) to provide a workaround for changes Adobe introduced in the latest version of Photoshop 2020 v21.2.

Previous customers should have received an email from Sean Bagshaw or me detailing update options and providing appropriate discount codes. These update emails were sent on July 1 and July 2. Be sure to check your junk/spam folder for these dates if you didn’t receive update information. My MailChimp server indicates about 20% of these emails are still unopened. If you can’t find it, contact Sean if you originally purchased from him or contact me if you purchased from me.

If you downloaded the updated panel from July 1 through July 6, before I fixed the bug, you were sent a additional download info for updating to version 2.0.1 on July 6 or 7. Again, you may need to check spam/junk folder. If you didn’t receive the new download link for the bug fix, you can also download again using your original download link. That original link now downloads the bug-fixed version of the panel, version 2.0.1. A fresh download will contain the new installer that removes your previous installation and installs the latest version of the panel. The Go module will say “TK7 v 2.0.1” if you have the most up-to-date version of the TK7 panel installed. I apologize for the inconvenience required by this bug fix, but it didn’t show up until Photoshop 2020 v21.2 was released on June 15, and since most people are unaffected by it, it wasn’t well reported until after the new TK7 update was released. Once I could predictably replicate it, I coded a workaround and released it as version 2.0.1.

panel with version number

Despite having to rectify an unexpected bug that showed up in Photoshop 2020, I’m still very excited about the latest update of the TK7 panel. In addition to keeping all the previous modules and features, it adds the new Go module for making pixel-based masks and several new features in the Combo and Cx modules. The videos at the bottom of this post review and demonstrate some of them.

The Go module is certainly the biggest change. It provides an entirely new way to make pixel-based masks, like luminosity masks. It’s still very fast at generating masks and it still makes 16-bit masks, but it has a new layout to simplify the entire process of generating, modifying, and then deploying these masks. Some of its features are listed below.

  • A distinctive interface for each of the different types of masks (luminosity presets, Zone masks, Infinity Color masks, Saturation and Vibrance masks, My Channels masks, and calculated masks).
  • New Zone masks that provide new ways to control zone width and brightness plus linear Zone mask presets.
  • Color presets for Infinity Color masks and a new method to adjust color mask brightness.
  • More output options on the main interface eliminates the need to open a menu to access common deployment methods. These now include the ability to generate common adjustment layers and also to quickly set up burning and dodging by painting through luminosity masks.

I see the Go module as an evolution of the RapidMask module. Go has most of the same functions, but with a simpler interface that’s easier to learn and navigate and with more core functions accessible directly from the front of the panel.

The Combo and Cx modules have also been significantly improved in this update.

panel with version number

New features include:

  • Live-clipping in order to view when highlights and shadows clip as you’re adjusting the image or when burning and dodging.
  • A dedicated “Apply” button for interfacing with the Channels panel to easily apply channel masks as layer masks or to load them as selections.
  • An image-mask toggle button to switch between viewing the image and the layer mask with no shortcut keys.
  • New actions: Soft Pop and Paint Contrast.
  • User actions that are easier to set up and access.
  • Buttons that can be reprogrammed and renamed to run the user’s actions instead of the button’s default action.
  • Color-tagging for buttons and menu items to help you find your favorites faster.

These new features in Combo and Cx will add improved capability and efficiency within your Photoshop workflow

The videos below review the new features and show how they work.

NOTE: I’ve been working on this update for nearly a year and could not have done it without the input and help from many people. These includes my affiliates: Sean Bagshaw, Rafael Coutinho, Antonio Prado, Roy Yuan, Isabella Tabacchi, and Andre Distel. Bruce Bartholomew was a major contributor in providing new ideas, proofreading, and suggesting improvement. Watching Steve Dell use the panel was also extremely useful in seeing how it worked for others and ways it could be improved. Email conversations with Gerald Vincent also led to improvements. In addition, there were countless emails, conversations, and YouTube videos that triggered new ideas that found their way into various parts of the panel. I am sincerely grateful for the network of photographers who use the panel and provide feedback on how to make it better.

TK7 Update: Infinity color masks and more

I’m happy to announce that the first update to the TK7 panel has just been released. If you already have TK7, check your email for a free download link. It was sent to the email address you used when purchasing. Be sure to check the spam/junk folder as in many cases it ends up there. Also, be sure to add the download server as a contact. That will insure you get these updates in your inbox. The download server’s address is: client@e-junkie.com

This is a really exciting update. It adds two new mask options to the RapidMask module: infinity color masks and “My Channels” masks. Infinity color masks are a huge step forward. They offer a novel way to generate masks based on ANY color found in the image. You’re no longer limited to Photoshop’s Color Range command (bad blending edges) or color sliders (R,G,B,C,M,Y) for making a color mask. You can now select a color directly from the image and the infinity color mask is constructed precisely around that selected hue. Pixel-based hue values are the foundation for these masks, and hue opens up an entirely new dimension for creating masks. It’s all 16-bit and it’s all pixel-based, so the blending through these new masks is awesome. Infinity color masks are essentially a Magic Wand tool for color. You’ll be amazed at what they can do.

The new “My Channels” option allows you to bring your own masks and selections into the Rapid Mask process. This means that user-generated masks can be easily combined with the module’s native luminosity, channel, color, and saturation masks to better target specific elements in the image. So the Rapid Mask engine can now be powered by ANY mask. There are no limits anymore. With “My Channels” every mask and selection is a Rapid Mask.

Infinity color masks and “My Channels” masks offer a significant expansion of the already considerable masking capability of the RapidMask module. There are also some minor updates in a couple of other RapidMask functions. The video below reviews everything in detail.

If you don’t have the TK7 panel yet, you can use the following discount code for 20% off the updated version and anything else on the Panels & Videos page through the end of September: Update20

Infinity color masks are the most significant new feature in this update and possibly best thing to happen to masking since I pioneered the now ubiquitous luminosity mask techniques in 2006. Luminosity masks are excellent if you’re trying to create selections based on pixel brightness, but not so good if your primary selection criterion is color. Completely different colors can have the same level of brightness, and luminosity masks can’t differentiate between them. Adobe’s Color Range command can be used as an alternative to select specific colors (and it’s the basis for the single-color selections in the RapidMask module), but the edges of Color Range selections aren’t very good. I frequently find it hard to get good blending using standard Color Range selections in many situations. That’s why I added the calculated Color Zones to the TK7 panel. Much better blending at the edges than Color Range masks, but they are still limited since there are just six Color Zone masks that can be calculated.

Infinity color masks completely eliminate both these shortcomings. They can be built around ANY color and the blending edges are excellent. In fact, you get to choose both the color AND the edge feathering as you create the mask. Infinity color masks add a whole new dimension to the masking experience because they indeed work in a completely different dimension in the 3-D color model compared to luminosity masks.

3-D Color Model

These new masks are dead-on accurate, have perfect blending edges, and are programmed with an amazing level of intuitive control so they are easily customized. They’re also true 16-bit masks (of course). No 8-bit selections are involved anywhere from creation through deployment. Infinity color masks are definitely better than luminosity masks when you need to make a color-based mask.

Once you install the update, to generate an infinity color mask, go to the SOURCE section of the TK7 RapidMask module and click the Color > Choose menu item.

Choose color option

This opens the Color Picker where you select a color from your image to build the mask around. The RapidMask module then calculates a starting mask and displays it on-screen while the new Infinity Color Mask control window opens on the RapidMask module.

Infinity Color Mask window

While infinite control is possible with these new color masks, you’ll likely find the initial mask generated from the Color Picker selection to be quite good. It properly isolates the selected color and provides the correct feathering for most adjustments and selections. Once you’re satisfied with the mask, clicking “OK” outputs it as a Rapid Mask and then all features in the MASK, MODIFY and OUTPUT sections of the RapidMask module can be used to adjust and deploy it. Infinity color masks are amazing and quite possibly the next masking revolution. They will quickly find a place in any workflow.

“My Channels” is another new masking option and it’s found at the bottom of the SOURCE > Channel menu.

My Channels option

This feature was recommended by another user and I’m a little embarrassed I didn’t think of it sooner as it makes perfect sense for a full-featured masking panel like the TK7 RapidMask module. However, the coding for it is somewhat complicated, so waiting this long has likely resulted in a better overall implementation.

Clicking “My Channels” scans the immediate document environment for user-created masks and selections. This includes:

  • User-created alpha channels on the Channels panel
  • The layer mask of the active layer on the Layers panel (if it has a layer mask)
  • An active selection (if one exists)

It then lists all these options as individual buttons in a new window on the RapidMask module.

My Channels list

Clicking one of these buttons turns that “channel” into the new Rapid Mask. From there, all the buttons in the MASK, MODIFY, and OUTPUT sections of the RapidMask module can be used with it. “My Channels” makes it possible to bring any masks you’ve created and/or saved into the Rapid Mask process, and this includes using them with the mask calculator. So the RapidMask module now not only works with the masks it generates, it also works with any of the user’s own personal masks and selections. This greatly expands the possibilities for making highly custom masks that combine pixel-based masks from the module with detailed masks of specific elements the user has already created. The video above explains how “My Channels” masks work.

In addition to the new mask options in this TK7 update, there are also a couple smaller changes. One that improves workflow efficiency is the new “I/M” buttons.

Image/Mask toggle button

These are simply single buttons that toggle between viewing the composite image and viewing the current mask. You don’t have to move your mouse between separate “Image” and “Mask” buttons anymore to do this. You can just keep your mouse in one place and click repeatedly to check your mask against the actual image. The new I/M buttons are available in the main Rapid Mask interface (above), in Layer Mask mode, and in the new infinity color mask control window.

The last update is the addition of a “Feather Selection” step in the Mask-the-Rapid-Mask MODIFY option.

Image/mask-the-rapid-mask

The action now stops with a suggested feather pixel radius for the masking that will be applied with the user’s active selection.

Feather option

This feather selection blurs the edges of the selection mask to help insure smooth blending. In the original version of the TK7 RapidMask module, this automatically occurred using a calculation based on the size of the image. Some users preferred a different amount of feathering or none at all. To accommodate the different possibilities, the action now stops and lists the calculated pixel radius for the feathering. The user can accept this, adjust it if they choose, or, if they want no feathering at all, click “Cancel,” in which case the action completes without adding any additional feathering to the user’s active selection.

I’m pleased that the TK7 panel is able to continue to evolve in a positive fashion. Infinity color masks are a big improvement, and “My Channels” offers a new level of masking control. And I’m happy to be able to provide these new features as a free update to customers who already have the TK7 panel. If you don’t have the TK7 panel yet, you can get a 20% discount on the updated version for the next couple of weeks with the following discount code: Update20

This code takes 20% off anything on the Panels & Videos page, so it’s a good time to shop for both panels and videos.