Tony Kuyper Photography—Luminosity Painting

T o n y   K u y p e r   P h o t o g r a p h y

luminosity painting

Luminosity Painting

©2008 Tony Kuyper

NOTE: This tutorial builds on the concepts and techniques first discussed in the Luminosity Masks tutorial . Familiarity with the different types of luminosity masks discussed there and a basic knowledge of how the different masks are created and how they function will be important to understanding luminosity painting. If you've not read that tutorial, please visit the highlighted link for more information. Also, this tutorial was originally developed for publication on , an online forum for nature photographers. When "NPN" is mentioned in this tutorial it is referring to that website.

The Burn/Dodge Layer

Luminosity painting is a convenient and controllable method to adjust brightness and contrast by painting on a layer in Photoshop. As its name implies, it uses the luminosity masks discussed in the Luminosity Masks tutorial to achieve its end result.

The painting occurs on a pixel-containing layer, which is a relatively straightforward process in Photoshop. The pixel-containing layer is called a Burn/Dodge layer. It's created in the following manner:

  1. Create a new, empty layer as the topmost layer in the layer stack (Shift-Alt-Ctrl+N).
  2. Change the blending mode at the top of the Layers palette to Soft Light.
  3. Fill the layer with 50% gray (Edit > Fill > Use: 50% Gray, Mode: Normal, Opacity: 100%) as shown in Figure 1.
  4. Rename the layer "Burn/Dodge."
Figure 1
Figure 1

When finished, the Burn/Dodge layer should resemble the top layer in Figure 2.

Figure 2
Figure 2

For convenience, the link below will download a Photoshop action that will make this layer for you.


Burn/Dodge layer action