Photoshop tutorial: How To Use Luminance Range Masking

Learn how to save a lot of time when fine-tuning masks in Photoshop CC 2018 (or Lightroom CC Classic)


Luminance Range Masking in a brand new feature in the latest release of both Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom - aka Photoshop CC 2018 and Lightroom CC Classic. It allows you to control the masking of gradients and adjustment brush work based on the tonal range of your image.

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If you spend a lot of time brushing over masks to fine-tune them, Tigz Rice shows how you can shave minutes off your retouching by using this new feature.

Here Tigz is working with landscape shots from a recent trip to Iceland, but this can be used on any form of photography from portrait and products shots to abstract photos. It's also useful when working with masks in both artwork and graphics.

Photoshop CC 2018 also added Color Range Masking. Learn how to use Color Range Masking.

STEP 1

Open your chosen image in Photoshop and clean up any blemishes as necessary. Then, right click on the background layer and select Convert to Smart Object. This will allow us to work non-destructively in Adobe Camera Raw, just in case we need to come back and make any changes later.

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STEP 2

Next, go to Filter > Camera Raw Filter… to bring up the Adobe Camera Raw dialog.

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STEP 3

In the top-left corner of the Camera Raw dialog, click on the Graduated Filter icon. Click and drag downwards on your image, holding down the Shift key to keep your gradient straight.

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STEP 4

On the right-hand side of the screen, I’m going to shift the Temperature slider towards the blue end of the scale, as well as increasing the Saturation slightly.

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I’ve also brought the Exposure down a little and added a touch of Dehaze.


STEP 5

You’ll notice that adding this gradient has affected the white clouds at the top of this image, so at the bottom of the right panel, click on the Range Mask dropdown menu and choose Luminance.

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This will mask off the lighter areas of the image - in this case the clouds - while preserving the changes in the blues of the sky.

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STEP 6

Using the Luminance slider, click and drag the marker on the right side of the slide in so that it now reads 0/50.

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STEP 7

You can also use the Smoothness slider to fine-tune the feathering between masked and unmasked areas. Here I’ve slid the marker up  a little higher.

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Once you’re done, press OK to confirm the charges and head back into the main Photoshop window again.