I discussed the concept of Infinity Masks and the Zone-Picker in a blog post in October 2015. Shortly afterwards I began collaborating on a project that uses a Photoshop plug-in to implement this concept in a different manner. The plug-in provides a unique method of making masks. It uses its own equations, instead of Photoshop calculations, to determine which tones are included in a mask. By changing the variables in the equations the resultant mask can be infinitely defined and adjusted.
The way to use this plug-in is the TK Infinity Mask panel shown below. The buttons and sliders on this panel change the variables in the plug-in's equations and the mask is quickly updated so the user sees the results. The plug-in/panel can make masks based on image luminosity, or it can use data from the red, green or blue channels as the starting point. It can even make saturation and vibrance masks by extracting this information from the image's pixels.
Decision making for the panel is completely mask-based. The user views the actual mask that is being created and changes it as they manipulate the sliders on the panel. It's normally a very fast process once the necessary merge-visible layer has been created. Once satisfied, output buttons at the bottom provide options for using the mask to continue developing the image. Complete information about the panel is in the Instructions PDF. There is also a video at the bottom of this page by Sean Bagshaw that provides an overview of the panel.
While not identical since they are constructed by a different method within the plug-in, Infinity Masks are in many ways similar to luminosity masks:
- They select specific tonal ranges in the image (Lights, Darks, Midtones, off-center midtones, and even saturation/vibrance).
- They provide tonal feathering so adjustments using the masks blend perfectly into the image.
- The bit-depth of the mask matches that of the image (16-bit masks for 16-bit images).
A couple of other important things to know about the TK Infinity Mask panel:
- The plug-in only works in RGB color mode. It does not work in Lab color or other modes.
- The panel only works in Photoshop CC. It does not install or work in Photoshop CS6 or earlier.
I particularly like this panel for doing color-to-black-and-white conversions and monochrome processing. It achieves some effects that are hard to duplicate by other methods in Photoshop. I discuss these techniques in my "Infinity Monochromes" blog post.
The TK Infinity Mask panel is available on the Panels & Videos page. Sean Bagshaw has recorded several videos on how to install and use the panel. They are shown below and are also included in the download folder in a higher resolution format.