Tony Kuyper’s Updated Actions Panel: Great New Features and Photoshop CC (2014) Compatible

June 30th, 2014 by Sean Bagshaw

 

Like the guys here at Photo Cascadia, many readers of the Photo Cascadia blog have been using Tony Kuyper’s luminosity mask tutorials and Photoshop actions for years. Many readers are also aware that Tony recently produced an update to his custom actions panel. Despite how well known Tony’s resources have become in the world of outdoor photography, I’m sure we have some readers who haven’t run across luminosity masks yet or who have heard of them but aren’t exactly sure what they are or what they do. With the recent release of Tony’s update, as well as the release of Photoshop CC (2014), I wrote this article to quickly bring everyone up to speed.

Luminosity masks and Tony Kuyper's actions were essential in many of the adjustments made during the developing of this image.

Luminosity masks and Tony Kuyper’s actions were essential in many of the adjustments made during the developing of this image.

The update of Tony’s TKActions Panel became necessary when Adobe announced that the 2014 version of Photoshop CC (released on June 18, 2014) would require custom panels to be coded in HTML5 and would no longer support the use of panels built with Flash, like the original TK Actions Panel was. One option for Tony would have been to recode an exact copy of the original TK Panel with HTML5, a painstaking process in its own right. However, Tony felt that he could make the panel even better, so he spent a lot of time consulting with myself and other experienced users and adding new actions and powerful new features to the TKActions Panel. As a result, not only does the panel continue to be functional (thankfully) for those of us who are using Photoshop CC (2014), but everyone, including Photoshop CS5 and CS6 users, gets the benefit of all the new features.

The Updated TKActions Panel

The Updated TKActions Panel

So what are Luminosity Masks and what does the TKActions Panel do (this article explains the basics)? Luminosity masks are created with the use of luminosity selections which can be generated from Alpha Channels in Photoshop. One of the most important aspects of Photoshop is the ability to make selections and masks. Luminosity selections are very precise and self-feathering selections based on the luminosity, or brightness value, of every pixel in an image. Using luminosity selections to create luminosity masks provides an unparalleled degree of control over image adjustments and provides access to an endless variety of creative image developing techniques. In the following video I demonstrate some of the basics of luminosity masks.

It’s possible to manually generate all the luminosity selections and masks in Photoshop, but doing so is a time consuming endeavor requiring a carpel tunnel inducing number of mouse clicks. To streamline the use of luminosity masks, Tony started creating Photoshop actions that would automatically reproduce all the repetitive procedures required to make them. The TKActions Panel adds even further efficiency and functionality to the actions. The panel is a command center from which to launch the various actions with a single click.

Some of the features in the updated version of the panel include:
1) A new two-tab layout for improved efficiency
2) Color-coded sections
3) “View” buttons to provide a visual overlay of which pixels are actually selected
4) Zone masks that focus adjustments to very narrow tonal ranges
5) Web-sharpening actions for vertical and horizontal dimensions and for high-definition dimensions
6) Several new buttons to correspond to some techniques discussed in recent blog posts.
7) One-click live selections (instead of Ctrl/Cmd-clicking a mask)
8) New buttons for creating adjustment layers and changing blending modes
9) Simplified subtracted mask generation
10) “Progressive actions” for experimenting with many different options

After years of studying Tony’s tutorials, using his techniques and developing some of my own, he and I began collaborating to produce video tutorials to help people learn how to utilize luminosity masks and get the most Tony’s actions.

If you are interested in learning more about luminosity masks and Tony’s techniques in general there are many resources available. Tony maintains a substantial library of free luminosity mask tutorials on his website and his blog. Additionally I have several videos available to view on-line that will give you a good preview of what is possible. The video excerpts at the bottom of this page are from the tutorial series I produced called The TK Panel. The series is the direct companion and resource for all the new features Tony has added to the updated panel.

In addition, Tony’s luminosity mask tutorials and tools have become indispensable to photographers and Photoshop users around the world. Many have taken time to write about them on their own. Some of these include John Shaw, Alister BennRichard Wong, Michael Breitung, Don Smith, André Distel and Ryan Cary.

All of Tony’s actions and tutorials, as well as the video tutorials I produced to go with them, are available on my website (OutdoorExposurePhoto.com) and also on Tony’s Special Offers page.  I hope this information on luminosity masks in general and the update on the current TKActions Panel has been informative. Feel free to contact me or leave a comment if you have questions or anything to share.

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  • Thanks for the mention, Sean. Tony’s actions are a total game-changer for those who have taken the time to get familiarized with them. And thanks for putting out all these great videos too!

    • Sean Bagshaw

      Thanks a lot Richard. Your endorsement carries a lot of weight…as does your work.

  • Nenad Spasojevic

    Thanx for the update. I own all of the previous actions and tutorials from you guys. Is the update free for people who purchase actions and panels previously?

  • Robert Teague

    Great product, I find it to be invaluable in working in Photoshop. I don’t know how I lived without it before. The only real drawback is that it doesn’t support high resolution monitors very well (Windows 7).

    • Sean Bagshaw

      Interesting feedback Robert. I know that Tony would like to hear your thoughts on this. He and I were discussing the advent of super HD and 4K monitors that are becoming common just the other day.

  • Thanks for the heads up about the update!

  • Andrew Wisler

    Thanks for the write up, Sean. Could you clarify how owners of the previous panel and tutorials can get the upgrade? I might have missed it, but I couldn’t see where to get just the panel rather than the whole package. Thanks!