The Power of Luminosity Masks in Photoshop

Photoshop is a massive and nuanced program, for which there are many ways to accomplish any one task. However, one of the most useful techniques to know is luminosity masks, which are powerful and versatile additions to your editing arsenal. This helpful video will get you started with them.

Coming to you from Matt Kloskowski, this great video will introduce you to luminosity masks, both how they work and how to use them. Luminosity masks are tremendously useful, as they provide a way to create layer masks based on the luminance values; in other words, they allow you to mask effects into the highlights and gradually blend them into the midtones, simply bring up the shadows, and much more. You can also generate them very quickly as opposed to the time it would take to make an intricate selection and then fade the mask to blend it. For example, in the video, notice how when Kloskowski adjusts the exposure of the sky, it also adjusts the reflection in the water, keeping the effect realistic, whereas his quick selection mask misses this. But luminosity masks aren't just for exposure adjustments; you can use them to mask in things like color toning or whatever you want. Check out the video above for more! 

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10 Comments

Tyler Beard's picture

If you are really interested in luminosity masks, check out Greg Benz on YouTube. He does a really good job with helping understand what is going on behind the scenes. He also has a killer luminosity masking plugin for Ps.

I second the plug for Greg Benz, and his PS plugin!

Ryan Luna's picture

Greg is fantastic, but I gave my money to Jimmy Mcintyre, because he's one of those guys that you just want to listen to just for the sake of his voice/tone. His Raya Pro luminosity plugin is fantastic as well.

Laughing Cow's picture

I love Lumenzia!
I also use the RP3 plugins

Andrzej Muzaj's picture

Sean Bagshaw (with original Tony Kuyper's panels) and Jimmy McIntyre (and his panels too) are my favorites for that topic. But I haven't seen Greg Benz so I'll check him out, too!

Nice tutorial.

Though he is wrong about how Shadows / Highlights / etc works in Lightroom.

Rk K's picture

As mentioned before, this guy's got nothing on Greg Benz when it comes to luminosity masking.

Rob Mitchell's picture

I like this, thanks.

Paul Lindqvist's picture

I have Jimmy McIntyre raja pro, never really used it.. Need to revisit it. 👍

JetCity Ninja's picture

personally, i take care of this in lightroom before i even get to PS.