Chapter 1

Welcome to Chapter 1. Here’s where you can learn how to create your first luminosity mask, create advanced luminosity selections and more.


First Luminosity Mask

First Exposure Blend

Isolating Objects With Subtractions

Mid-tone Contrast With Subtractions


45 Responses to Chapter 1

  1. mm
    Steve November 21, 2015 at 2:16 am #

    Got a question about this chapter? Just leave a comment below and I’ll reply with my answer soon 🙂

  2. PeterJones December 9, 2015 at 3:35 am #

    Had a quick look good

  3. KarenParnell-Herrick March 22, 2016 at 12:20 am #

    I’m new to Photoshop so this will differently be a huge learning curve, hope I’m up for the challenge:)

  4. mm
    Steve March 30, 2016 at 10:57 pm #

    Hey folks, I just answered a question I received by email from a member who couldn’t get the “subtracting one channel from another” to work (see mid-tone contrast video) and I thought some of you might find it useful if I posted it here too.

    Here’s what I wrote:

    If it’s just “subtracting” a selection that you’re having the problem with, then the key selection for that on mac is:

    Command+Option then click the mouse on the channel which you want to subtract.

    But you have to have a selection active first before you can do that. So for example, you can click on the RGB channel once, then click “Command+A” to select ALL. Then subtract a “highlights” channel using the above key combination. It will then leave you with a selection that contains shadows and mid-tones.

    I hope this helps. I suspect it may have been the “select all” part which you were missing (this is what I get most questions about).

  5. CharlesGaffan April 11, 2016 at 1:15 am #

    Hello Steve
    In one of the above videos, i believe Chapter 1.5 “Isolating Objects With Subtractions” you stated that you can provide raw files for us to practice on. I cannot locate any files, are they still available? I am having some difficulties following the video without similar files to work on.



  6. LarryGood April 18, 2016 at 1:42 am #

    In your example of the “first luminosity mask”, what is the difference between using say the sliders in Lightroom Develop module the blacks, shadows, highlights and whites to adjust “brightness” or exposure levels?

    They both seem to carve up in quadrants.


    • mm
      Steve June 9, 2016 at 8:37 pm #

      The sliders in LR will get us most of the way there when it comes to making basic shadow/highlight adjustments. There are some subtle differences between that and what I’m showing here in terms of results, but the luminosity masking methods I’m showing in this first video are the foundations that we’ll be building on over the rest of the LMM course. It gets a lot more fun from here on in 🙂

  7. Christian Goransson May 16, 2016 at 7:49 am #

    Hello Steve. I have maybe a rare question, But i have a wounder about blending focus photos and then after that use luminosity mask. Can i blend to much and destroy the pixel. Lets say i do 3 focus shot with neutral exposure and blend then also another 3 focus shot with under exposure and blend. And after that use those two blended pictures using luminosity. Would it make it to much noise problem you think ? Hope you understand my weird question 🙂
    Best regard: Christian A happy costumer

    • mm
      Steve June 9, 2016 at 8:40 pm #

      Hi Christian, I think as long as your method of focus stacking is solid then you shouldn’t have any problem doing what you described.

  8. DavidHannon May 27, 2016 at 5:39 am #

    Why can’t I see the video on my iPad? “Sorry, because of privacy settings it can’t be shown here”

    • mm
      Steve June 9, 2016 at 8:48 pm #

      Hi David, this is actually a known bug with the version of IOS and Safari that you have installed on your ipad. I haven’t experienced or tested this myself, but apparently iOS 9.3.2 fixes this issue.

  9. ChrisLeeland June 6, 2016 at 8:18 pm #

    Hi Steve

    I have had a quick look at all the videos. They look great, just what I wanted, and am now working my way through. I have some queries please on video 1.2:

    1. I have Photoshop CC – does this explain why the selections generated and histograms that I see are not exactly the same as yours? Or have you (for example) made some changes to the camera raw file you use in the video?

    2. At approx. 1 min 47, where you create the layer mask, you are selecting the top half of the histogram ie the main rock is black. When I do it I am selecting the bottom half of the histogram ie the main rock is white. I must be doing something wrong but I can’t work out what it is – can you help please?

    (I haven’t yet tried to go farther as I would prefer to get these early stages right before I do.)

    Best wishes


    • mm
      Steve June 9, 2016 at 9:10 pm #

      1: It’s been a while since I recorded these videos so I don’t remember if I did or not, but it’s possible I made some slight adjustments in RAW before opening the files up in PS… Hopefully they’re not too different though and are similar enough to still get the gist of what’s happening.

      2: It does sound strange that it’s selecting the inverse. If you use the “load channel as selection” icon instead of command+click on the channel, does it do the same thing? (one of the tiny icons down in the bottom right of the channels panel)

  10. ChrisLeeland June 6, 2016 at 10:38 pm #

    Perversely … when I did try the next part – creating the curves layer – the mask was the same as yours insofar as the ‘main rock’ was black/dark. So I seem to get the same result but the intermediate stages are different.

    Plus one other thing that is different …. to remove the red cast, you click on a circle that is diagonally white/black. I don’t have that in the layer panel. So maybe there is a difference in the CC versions we have(?)

    NB if you’d prefer me to raise queries by e-mail just let me know



    PS could you activate my membership of your facebook group too please – it may be that I could find answers in there without having to bother you

    • mm
      Steve June 9, 2016 at 9:06 pm #

      Hi Chris,

      I actually recorded these videos with CS6, but as far as what I’m showing here there shouldn’t be any big differences between this and CC.

      The bit where I remove the red that you’re referring to, when the curves layer is created the mask is active so what I’m doing there is toggling to the curves adjustment itself. Sometimes this half black half white circle is displayed as an icon that looks like a grid with a curve through it.

  11. ChrisLeeland June 10, 2016 at 2:55 pm #

    Thanks Steve.

    The minor differences in the selection are not important – it’s simply that I have a great capacity for getting computer things wrong so I mentioned it in case it helped identify anything I was doing incorrectly.

    Despite my Alpha 1 channel icon being ‘wrong’ the method still works when I create and use the curves layer. Which is the important thing.

    I have used screen print to copy what my screen looks like and prepared a note so that I can remember what is happening. When I get to the end of video 1.2 (or before if you want) I can send it to you in case it helps you deal with similar queries from others.

    I’ll now move on the the next bit:)

  12. RussellCarlson June 14, 2016 at 1:18 am #

    I tried isolating areas in my luminosity masks by changing from normal to overlay then painting with white on the lighter areas and black on the darker areas to give further isolation. Have you done this and does it seem valid? I saw where you used just a normal brush to change lights to pure white but needed to be careful around the dark area edges.

    • mm
      Steve July 11, 2016 at 6:57 am #

      I haven’t done it the way you describe exactly, but whatever works well inside the mask is ok by me 🙂 I also like to use adjustments directly onto a layer mask or saved channel. For example, with the mask active go to “image > adjustments > levels” and you can tweak it with the control points to make blacks blacker and whites whiter.

  13. Kyle DavidTallett LRPS July 1, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

    Are there any actions for an of the above??? like the masking in the first video. Seems that similar processes are being used and therefore i am sure an action can be written, but i am not that bright!!!

    • mm
      Steve July 11, 2016 at 6:52 am #

      I personally prefer not to use actions because I feel manually creating your masks and selections gives you a lot more flexibility. Once you’ve been through these processes enough times and with practice can whip these masks up in a couple of seconds.

  14. Kyle DavidTallett LRPS July 10, 2016 at 5:53 pm #

    second silly question. in the third video, you have two bracketed images which you are blending. YOu start with one image as layer one and the second as layer 2. How do you load seperate images into the layers

    • mm
      Steve July 11, 2016 at 6:55 am #

      If you’re opening them from Lightroom you can select them both in LR then choose “open as layers in Photoshop”
      Alternatively, if you have the images open separately already in Photoshop, then just copy and paste them from their individual documents into one.

  15. AndyBooth July 18, 2016 at 9:58 am #

    Hi Steve

    Firstly thanks for the great work. I find your ‘looking over the shoulder’ style really useful in getting to grips with photoshop. I only wish I’d found your videos sooner as it would have saved a bit of money on books!

    I am working through chapter 1 and have a question on the raw file used in 1.2. I am running your video on one PC and working in parallel on my other PC. It is a PC rather than mac so I am using windows 10 64 bit. I’m using the latest version of photoshop cc (2015.5.0). When I follow your actions I find that the luminosity selections made on my setup seem to be more ‘accurate’ than those on your video. Also the histograms seem to show that the luminosity selection has been more sensitive, if that is the right word. Whilst this is not a problem in terms of following the video I wondered if the my recent upgrade to Photoshop CC 2015 was the reason or it was just that I was not using the MAC version you seem to use for your videos.

    Thanks for helping me slowly get to grips with a very complex piece of software.


  16. JoeLinn July 28, 2016 at 5:43 am #

    I am using PS 2015.5 and I am having the same problem that Chris had. On the channels menu, when I select “save selection as channel” I see the negative image of what you show in the videos. Like Chris when I make a selection from the alpha channel and use it to create a layer mask it creates the same layer mask you show. It just appears to be the alpha channel that is shown as a negative image. It gets confusing when you make another inverse layer of the alpha channel and start using shift option command to limit the range and I have to figure out which version to use (inverse or original when the inverse and original are the opposite of yours) or when you start painting on the alpha channel. If you paint white, I have to paint black to get the same result. Sometimes I have to do the opposite, sometimes not. It makes it really confusing.

  17. CelineMorisset August 3, 2016 at 12:46 am #

    Hi Steve, when I’m viewing your videos they are very fuzzy… king of hard to follow. Am I doing something wrong? I’m on a Mac… any suggestions? Thanks love what I’m hearing but would like to have a clearer view.

  18. cliveellis September 19, 2016 at 11:50 pm #

    Isolating Objects With Subtractions! I have seen a techique called Channel Masking where you pic the channel
    that best isolates the subject, then you use a special brush blend mode to blacken the mask edges.

  19. JavierMartinez October 22, 2016 at 5:55 pm #

    On the first video First Luminosity Mask, the key selection, Command/ALT/ Shift to put the X on the curser doesn’t work for me, I have a mac

    • mm
      Steve October 26, 2016 at 4:54 am #

      Have you had any luck with this since writing? That is definitely the correct key combination. Make sure you’re hovering over the channel thumbnail icon when you do it, that’s the only time the X will show.

  20. johnlee December 8, 2016 at 7:14 am #

    Hi Steve
    SO how do you save these to your computer? If you click on the link you can only save the link, if you open the link e.g. chapter 1.there doesnt seem to be any option to save it.


    • mm
      Steve December 12, 2016 at 7:12 am #

      Hi John,

      If you right-click each link, you should see an option (the wording will depend on which browser you’re using) along the lines of “Save link as” or “Save target as”.

      Give this a go and let me know if you need further assistance

      • johnlee January 15, 2017 at 1:36 pm #

        OK Steve, but all that does is save the link, so not possible to work offline, I was under the impression I could save the files , vids etc to my computer so they could be worked with offline.


  21. GeraldineDavison December 13, 2016 at 10:27 am #

    Hi Steve in the 2nd video 1st Luminosity mask I cant get it to play past the 11:41 mark and the video is extremely blurry on my monitor which isn’t really a problem but it stopping at that point is.


  22. GeraldineDavison December 13, 2016 at 10:37 am #

    Ignore my comment please, blonde moment


  23. DanielKelly January 22, 2017 at 8:02 pm #

    Just purchased this tutorial. It was stated that I could download the source photo’s so I can work along with the video. How do I get the image files please?

  24. NeilFletcher February 10, 2017 at 6:22 am #

    steve is it possible to save to computer to work off line as johnlee asked?

    • mm
      Steve March 24, 2017 at 12:32 am #

      Sure thing, there’s a “Course Downloads” link on the main course page. If you don’t see it, try logging in with an incognito/private browser window.

  25. HeatherRichardson March 3, 2017 at 8:48 pm #

    I’ve been trying for ages to see the brush make a difference to my raw image from the’ introduction video’.
    I’m not sure what ‘can’t rasterize because the pixel data for this layer is not directly editable’ means or needs me to do if that is the reason. The colour picker shows up each time I click on the white box lhs which I don’t see on yours but everything else looks the same as the video. Can you help please?

  26. CharlesBowen March 14, 2017 at 8:52 pm #

    Hi Steve, I really like your class so far.

    Just a small question. In the ‘mid-tone contrast with subtractions’ video, how did you know the white wave crests were blown out? Were you just eyeballing it, did you use the color sampler, or is there a highlight clipping warning in photoshop the way there is in lightroom? I almost always start working on images in lightroom, so the highlight clipping warning is always close at hand (or on continuously) and that is how I would evaluate any clipping. I think the blown-out quality in the image on screen may be less obvious in the videos than in photoshop, perhaps because of how they are compressed. Thanks.

    • mm
      Steve March 24, 2017 at 12:39 am #

      Hi Charles,

      When moving the white point slider towards the left on the Levels adjustment, I could see that I was clipping some of the highlights in the histogram. Then just eyeballing the image I could see where those brightest parts were likely to be.

      If you hold Alt/Opt (on a PC/Mac) while sliding that white point slider, it’ll show you highlight clipping warnings on the image itself.


  27. ChuckAlmarez March 16, 2017 at 2:34 am #

    Help! In Chap 1.2, the three key+hover over the layer (any part of the layer) does change the cursor to show a box with an x. However, when I click on the layer thumbnail I get the Photoshop dialog: “Warning: No pixels more than 50% selected. The selection edges will not be visible. I’m using PS CC 2017 on a MAC.

    • mm
      Steve March 24, 2017 at 12:40 am #

      Hi Chuck – the message you’re seeing is just a warning, not an error. What it’s telling you in laymans terms is just that you won’t see any marching ants for the selection you’ve activated.

  28. SeanGlossop April 20, 2017 at 7:31 am #

    Hi Steve,
    Had a good look now. Have been trying for ages to get some good explanations on this subject. watched all one after the other, really great stuff and well explained. now to work through it all properly and try to re-edit some images I had done totally in lightroom, I can see the flaws in them. I may just be able to correct them now.

  29. CharlesCaudill April 24, 2017 at 8:52 pm #

    I bought this package to use with images shot with my GoPro from my drone. Since I can’t shoot raw files with my GoPro Hero 4 Black, will I get any benefit from this tutorial package? Thanks.

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