Luminosity masking

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I've been exploring luminosity masking lately, and would be interested to hear from members who use it, especially your experiences in regard to where it fits into your workflow.
 
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I've been exploring luminosity masking lately, and would be interested to hear from members who use it, especially your experiences in regard to where it fits into your workflow.
Billtils - I wasn't aware of luminosity masking until you mentined it. I'll check it out and see if I can figure out how to apply it with one of my images. I'm somewhat conversant with PS so if I do get it to work, I'll give you some feedback with, hopefully, before and after comparison shots. Also, if you have any suggestions for luminosity masking tutorials, I'd appreciate suggestions.
 
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I use it in ON1. Not sure if it works the same in PS but in ON1 there is a slider with adjustments for highlights/shadows/midtones. With some tweaking it can be pretty useful. Obviously the more contrast in the image the more effective the luminosity mask is. Really comes into it's own for creating HDR effect from a single frame. I never used it until ON1 in their infinite wisdom broke the auto mask feature and never replaced it with anything nearly as useful. But now out of necessity I'm learning to use it as about an 80% solution for the old automask then completing manually as necessary.
 

Butlerkid

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Luminosity masks are a great way to isolate particular areas of an image in order to apply curves and other adjustments. I have used Tony Kuyper software for years. His s/w includes an extensive user panel to enable easy creation of the masks and then application of various adjustments.
 
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I use it in ON1. Not sure if it works the same in PS but in ON1 there is a slider with adjustments for highlights/shadows/midtones. With some tweaking it can be pretty useful. Obviously the more contrast in the image the more effective the luminosity mask is. Really comes into it's own for creating HDR effect from a single frame. I never used it until ON1 in their infinite wisdom broke the auto mask feature and never replaced it with anything nearly as useful. But now out of necessity I'm learning to use it as about an 80% solution for the old automask then completing manually as necessary.
Thanks Dan. A lot of what I've read seems to suggest that the ability to mask according to the luminosity in the original image is what distinguishes the technique from creating a mask by brushing or lassoing. I'm not familiar with ON1 but highlights/midtones/shadows adjustments are simple in Capture One so perhaps the effectiveness varies according to the editor in use.
 
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Luminosity masks are a great way to isolate particular areas of an image in order to apply curves and other adjustments. I have used Tony Kuyper software for years. His s/w includes an extensive user panel to enable easy creation of the masks and then application of various adjustments.
Thanks Karen. I read an enjoyed the material on the Kuyper link.

I'm still a bit unsure exactly where luminosity masks offer something over conventional masking using a brush or lasso, although Dan does touch on that in post #3. I'll keep experimenting ...
 

Butlerkid

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Luminosity masks are much quicker and accurate. Think of Ansel Adam's gray scale...only on steriods. And then being able to select certain tones (brights, darks, dark darks, medium, etc).
 
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I use luminosity masks quite often to better manage the range of exposures within interior scenes. I create my masks manually...using channels. It takes just a few seconds. Very effective for making quick selections based upon luminosity.

So, a typical application would be for me to create a HDR image...bring in another exposure of the scene that's severely underexposed (but exposes perfectly for the highlights). I'll place the underexposed frame in a layer on top of the HDR image...and then apply a luminosity mask to the top layer which selects only the brightest highlights. Then, just those bright highlights are selected and replaced with the underexposed image. It's a powerful tool.

Glenn
 
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Thanks Karen. I read an enjoyed the material on the Kuyper link.

I'm still a bit unsure exactly where luminosity masks offer something over conventional masking using a brush or lasso, although Dan does touch on that in post #3. I'll keep experimenting ...
Luminosity masks enable you to create a mask based on tonal range. Imagine you have an over exposed sky that includes trees in the horizon. It would be impossible to mask between the tree branches with a brush. With luminosity masking, you can tell the s/w to select areas of the image based on a specific tonal range. If you select a very light tonal range and the branches are darker in tone, you automatically get a mask selecting only the bright sky areas – even around all the intricate little branches. You can also use it to select dark areas for shadow recovery, select mid tones for clarity, etc.

Here is an example in Capture One:

PRE-LUMA-MASK:
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


LUMA-MASK:
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Highlight Recovery limited by LUMA-MASK:
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

Butlerkid

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It is similar to PS/Select/Color range but much more accurate and flexible - at least the Tony Kuyper s/w and the one that Glenn used in the past....I forget the name of that one.
 
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Been using Luminosity masks for quite some time. Started creating mask using channel but then switched to Tony Kuyper's action panel (TK Panel) as it was so much quicker to use, and in the TK panels he has also place pretty much all the adjustments I would normally use. Also use the masks provided by Gregg Benz's luminosity panel. In all cases the masks produced are graduated masks and are more accurate than you could ever brush in as the masks are based on the luminosity of the image itself. Much easier to make intricate selections containing similar or near tones due to the graduated feathering produced. Pretty much use LM on all my images whether it's wildlife, cityscape, landscape or portrait.

One way I use the masks is "Mask the Mask" , for example I may make a LM light selection to select the skies and apply a curves adjustment to add a little contrast. But because the lake has a similar tonal range, a portion of the lake has also been selected. Not wanting the adjustment to affect the lake I can then put the curve layer with the light LM in a group and add a black mast to the group, then paint white with low opacity only in areas of the sky that needed the extra contrast.

As Walter indicated above Capture one version 12 now gives you the ability to apply a luminosity mask to a layer. The ability to use layers was one of the reason I moved from LR to C1 but now with the ability to use LM applied to those layers makes it all the more useful. I Still need to work with C1 LM quite a bit more as I can't at this point get the same refined mask that I can in CS6.

Quite a few tutorial on LM masking on YouTube but some of the best are by Sean Bagshaw.
 
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Thanks Glenn, Walter (very nice illustration), and John.
...It would be impossible to mask between the tree branches with a brush.
Walter, I liked your illustration but not sure about the "impossible" - you can do that selection in Affinity Photo, and also use its layer blending to achieve the same result. However, it does seem that the various LM plugins offer a simpler way to get to the same result.
 
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One more consideration for luminosity masks. They are color agnostic and enable you to select all colors in a given luminosity range vs a color-selection mask. So they give fine detail selection power of a color-selection and the color-agnostic features of a brush in a single tool. In Capture One and other tools, once you make a mask using luminosity you can then fine tune it by adding to or erasing from the mask.
 

Growltiger

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OK Walter - you did it! I was one of the Capture One 11 to 12 upgrade cost objectors but have now done it and (subject to more hands on experience) am happy.
Great! Feel free to ask me questions about it. The new radial mask will also be a welcome addition for you. Far more flexible than the simpler vignette tool. The updated asymmetric gradient tool is just more icing on the cake.

I will try to do some videos on those too.
 
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