I have heard about the concept of luminosity masking for about… a year. I never really understood what it meant till about 2 weeks ago. That is when I stumbled across an article on 500px on the basics of luminosity masking. I read it and followed the basic tutorial with my own image and totally botched my first attempt. So back to the drawing boards.
Lets back up a bit though and look into what luminosity masks are. Luminosity masks are masks that select only certain levels of brightness. They are produced by a variety of programs out there that analyze an image and create a series of masks that select a variety of exposures from it.
A better explanation comes from Sean Bagshaw on an interview with the guys from Tripod
Luminosity masks are best used when you have dynamic ranges beyond what your camera can handle. With Canon cameras this is common. When planning a shot using luminosity masks, take multiple exposures that capture the dynamic range from which you are photographing. Then take those images into Photoshop and run the program and begin blending them together.
As for where you should get a free luminosity mask panel follow the link below.
A couple notes
1-This is not a basic technique, if you have not figured out how to use masking in the first place in Photoshop this will make no sense to you.
2-It takes a lot more time to do this. The image above is about an hour or more of work for these end results.
3-Yes this is “photoshoping” an image, get over it.
The above image is a composition of three images.
From here I could use layer masks to select different levels of brightness in the image. For example, I wanted the sun from the left image to pull into the final product. I used some of the brightness from the middle image. The far right image was my base and every other edit was layered on top of it.
I did some global edits, then I shipped it over to Lightroom. From there I used the dehaze tool to clean it up. I used the adjustment brush to paint in sharpness on the ground and used the same tool to clean up some noise in the sky. I boosted the exposure on the ground till it matched what I thought it should look like with this level of light moving across it.
This will open a lot of doors and I now need to go back and look at some of my older images and see what I can do with the originals. Who else is excited?
This image is available for purchase, I bet it would look best on metal, just saying.