Luminosity masks are great, but they needed much improvement. Also, there had to be an easier way to customize it. That is exactly what I found and boy am I excited!

The other day, my friend Thomas Brigantino got a hold of me and told me that I had to check this plugin/extension in Photoshop. I was skeptical, as usual, because there’s a lot of junk out there or things that aren’t really that useful. He said that photographer Greg Benz had come up with a panel that took luminosity masks to the next level.

Curious and pretty skeptical, he got me a copy to play with and we both realized that we came across something that was very very special.

Luminosity masks have been around since…. forever. If you aren’t familiar with what it is, the video below will start by giving you a general overview. Basically, if you want to isolate highlights, midtones, or shadows from the rest of the image, it lets you do that in very general or specific ranges. You can then use this as a mask and combine it with color or curve adjustment layers. It’s very powerful.

So what’s the problem and what was made to fix it?

As you can see from the video below, the cons are:

  • Luminosity masks create many layers in the channels after you run the action.
  • File becomes 7x bigger off the bat. In the example, it goes from 200MB to 1.4GB.
  • It’s complicated for people who are doing it for the first time. You have to know how to select the mask you want to use while also knowing how to use it. It’s a multi-step process.
  • The history generates about 72 history states, so you have a hard time going back.
  • If you make an adjustment layer on your layer stack after you run the luminosity mask, the previews in the channels don’t update and you need to run the action again.

So, Greg Benz found a way to generate these luminosity masks using curves! He told me that he spent over a year figuring out how to make a program that very precisely generates the same exact values through curve adjustment layers.

So this took a long while to make it happen, and Greg does this all on the side for fun. It’s a definite labor of love from someone who loves photography. He wanted to come up with a solution to something that no one else had before. With this, he made Lumenzia. It gives you live previews of each mask, smaller history states, smaller file sizes, masks that you can swap out with one click, automatic mask naming, and more.

As a bonus, it also comes with a vibrance and saturation mask, so you can isolate areas of the image that are oversaturated and areas that don’t have enough vibrance. You can tweak it as is, or combine it with specific color regions of the image for easy masking.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, check out the video to see how it’s used in a real life situation and all the other things it can do.

If you’d like to pick it up or learn more about it, check it out here.


This article was originally published on Pratik Naik’s Tumblr.