on1 (formerly onOne Software) just recently updated their software to version 9.5, giving it some boosts in functionality and processing speed. As many of you know, I’m a fan of on1 and have written several books and tutorials about the software, and I have also been using the new version while it has been in Beta. (BTW, this update is free for all current Suite 9 owners.)

One of my favorite new features of the suite is their newly-added luminosity masks. Some of you may already be aware of how luminosity masks work inside of Photoshop, and now you can do something very similar in Perfect Layers and Perfect Effects! In on1, it can be used as an intense, or even a subtle tool in your workflow. Here are some of the ways you can use luminosity masks in the Perfect Photo Suite:

  • Blend two images that have different exposures together
  • Intensify the darks or light areas of an image
  • Decrease effects in light or dark areas

Here’s a quick preview of luminosity masking in the Perfect Photo Suite 9.5:

(Click on each photo to view larger)

1. For this image, I am working inside of Perfect Effects. I have already added a few layers of effects and I am ready to add another.

2. First, I will add the Normal Blur filter to the image.

3. Then, I change the Blending to “Soft Light”. This really intensified the color and contrast in the image.

4. To tone down some of the contrast that was added to the dark areas, I would like to mask it out using a luminosity mask. So, I go to Mask > Create Luminosity Mask.

5. This is a very subtle change, but you can see the difference a little bit better with the following before/after photo (pay attention especially to the exposed brick area on the lower-left portion of each frame).

6. The luminosity mask can also be inverted. To do this, I activated one of the masking tools (for example, the Brush tool), and clicked on “Invert” on the top-right.

I am hopeful that they add more improvements to the luminosity masking, such as the ability to edit the tones of the mask (using levels or curves adjustments). That in itself would greatly improve an already fantastic feature!

on1 also made other excellent additions and improvements to other parts of the suite. To see more head over to their website here: http://on1.com.