I’m excited to announce some great new enhancements to my Lumenzia luminosity masking panel for Photoshop. New in version 1.2 is a pre-blending tool to simplify manual blending, the ability to make localized luminosity masks in a single step, tooltips/help for new users, and sharpening notes. This is a free update for all Lumenzia customers (who will automatically receive an email with a link to download). Please see the following demonstration and be sure to read below for more details…
Pre-Blending for manual exposure blending
If you haven’t heard of “manual exposure blending” it’s a luminosity masking technique where you can combine images to increase dynamic range – basically it’s like HDR, but you’re in full control and can avoid many of the issues that give HDR a bit of a bad name. However, the process of stacking exposures for manual blending can be a little tedious.
Lumenzia now makes it super easy to blend multiple exposures. Just open the images you need and click “PreBlend“. Lumenzia will create a new document, add the images as layers, align the layers, automatically sort them by brightness, and create black masks on the top layers to start blending. You can then jump right into manually blending exposures.
A couple of quick notes on the limitations of this feature: due to limitations of Photoshop scripting, auto-alignment during pre-blending requires Photoshop CC 2014 or later. But CS6 and CC users can still take advantage of most of the new pre-blending feature to save time (just choose Edit / Auto-Align Layers to complete pre-blending).
Make localized luminosity masks in a single step
You can now apply a luminosity mask and group (local selection) at the same time! This makes it faster than ever to apply a luminosity mask to just a specific part of the image by skipping a step. It’s also much easier to select the right part of the mask while viewing the preview. This is the equivalent of applying a preview, using group, and then using ungroup all in one step! For example, you could click L3 to select highlights, lasso the sky, and then hit “curve” to get a single layer adjustment that lets you adjust the sunset without impacting the foreground.
Tooltips & Help
If you hover over a button in Lumenzia, you now get a little popup box with helpful information. This not only includes a description of what the button does, but suggestions on how to get the most out of it. For example, the tooltip will let you know that the zone(b) mask is a great option for manually blending a lighter exposure into a darker one.
Photoshop CC+ users will also have direct access to the Lumenzia tutorials right from the panel (note that while this new shortcut button is not available in CS6, you still have access to the same content as part of the Lumenzia download and instructions).
Sharpen layers are now named with the radius and threshold used. This makes it easier to compare different sharpening settings, as well as to make it simple to recreate the sharpening layer later if needed.
There are a handful of other updates and bug fixes included in Lumenzia v1.2. For a full list, please see the release notes.