Affinity Photo Luminosity Mask Guide


Luminosity Masks have become very popular today for both professionals and beginners. These are “tone-based” selections that allow you to alter certain tones of an image. In short, they make it possible to perform adjustments in the areas focusing on brights, mid-tones, and darks.

If you have a background on Photoshop, you would notice that Luminosity Masks are unlike other selections on the software. As it happens, you would not find it on any menu. Accordingly, you have to create them. And this is basically the reason why many deemed it as a tool that only professionals and experts can do.

Despite what many individuals think of Luminosity Masks, in terms of its level of difficulty, you could actually do it and the steps are pretty straightforward. Just by following the right sequences on your software, especially on Adobe Photoshop, you can effectively create the process.

But, what happens when you use different software, like Affinity Photo?

Introduction To Affinity Photo

For many decades now, Adobe Photoshop has been the leading software for photo editing. In fact, the term “Photoshop,” which came from the software’s name, has been widely used to describe the photo editing processes.

While there have been several competitors that tried to dethrone the software, it seemingly appears that no one has been able to until, probably, today because of Affinity Photo.

Based on claims made by many photo editors, both beginners and professionals, Affinity Photo has been receiving a lot of rave reviews. For these individuals, they are certain that the newly published software can finally “oust” Photoshop from its current position.

Here are some of the reasons why:

  • No monthly subscription; once purchased, it will be a lifetime ownership
  • Lightweight in size; it carries only 344 MB over Photoshop’s 881 MB
  • Fast and effective loading
  • Proactive maintenance and updates
  • Offers 64-bit Adobe Photoshop compatible plug-ins

Click Here for more information about Affinity Photo.

Creating Luminosity Masks

  • Light Luminosity Masks

When using Affinity Photo, creating your first or the “Lights 1” mask is probably the most challenging and complicated step. This is because it will serve as your foundation for all of the masks you will be creating after. Although this may appear as the “black and white” version of your image, it will still be the basis of all the succeeding masks.

Open the image in the software and follow these steps:

  • Duplicate Background layer (Layers Panel): select layer, Ctrl/Cmd + J
    • Click the new duplicate layer, Click Adjustment Studio Panel
    • In the panel, add an HSL adjustment layer
    • In the HSL dialog, reduce the Saturation slider for the Master Channel to 0
    • In the HSL layer, click Merge

Once you’ve created your first mask, it is now the time to save the image as the “Lights 1” mask. You can do this by following these steps:

  • In Channels Studio Panel, click Composite
  • Check the channels indicated with the number 1
  • Right-click on one of the channels
  • Click Create Spare Channel
  • Right-click on the newly created channel
  • Rename: Lights 1

To complete the series:

  • In the Layers Studio Panel, right click the layer then select Duplicate or you may press Ctrl/Cmd + J
  • Set the Blending Mode to Multiply
  • Save the layer as a new Spare Channel
  • Rename Lights 2

Repeat the steps to create the Lights series.

While creating Luminous masks on Affinity Photo may seem simple, many experts contend that it is much easier and simpler to do this on Photoshop. Upon opening the photo on the software:

  • In the Channel Tab, Ctrl/Cmd + Click the RGB thumbnail
  • Once selected, click save
  • Double Click the new channel “Alpha 1”
  • Rename it to Lights 1, or whichever name you prefer for the first mask
  • When deselecting, just press Ctrl/Cmd + D
  • Dark Luminosity Masks

When creating the Darks masks, the process is quite similar to the steps when creating the Lights series. However, you must first “invert” the desaturated layer.

  • To select, click the layer
  • In the Adjustment Studio Panel, click Invert Adjustment
  • In the Layers Studio Panel, right click the new Invert layer
  • Select Merge Down
  • In the Channels Studio Panel, save the merged layer as a Spare Channel
  • Rename Darks 1

To create the darks series, the steps are also the same as the Lights series.

  • In the Layers Studio Panel, duplicate the inverted layer
  • Set the Blending Mode to Multiply
  • Save the layer as a new Spare Channel
  • Rename Darks 2

Simply repeat the steps to complete the series of the Darks masks.

When creating Darks masks on Photoshop, you need to invert first as well the selection.

  • In the Channel Tab, Ctrl/Cmd + Click the RGB thumbnail
  • Inverse the selection by pressing Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + I
  • Save the selection
  • Double Click the new channel
  • Rename to “Darks”
  • Mid-tone Luminosity Masks

Now that you have created your Lights and Darks series on Affinity Photo, creating the Midtone Luminosity Masks is very easy:

  • Ctrl/Cmd + A to select the image
  • In the Channels Studio Panel, right click on the saved Lights 1 channel
  • Select Subtract From Pixel Selection
  • Right click on the save Darks 1 channel
  • Select Subtract From Pixel Selections
  • Right click on the Pixel Selections and save as a Spare Channel
  • Rename the spare Midtones 1

Just repeat the same steps to complete the Midtones series.

In Affinity Photo, creating the Midtones Masks is very easy as long as the Lights and Darks Masks are already done and set up. On the other hand, creating the Midtones series on Photoshop can be a little challenging. Although it may also show similar steps, many experts find the process a little tedious, which makes it much more complicated.

  • Select the entire image by pressing Ctrl/Cmd + A
  • Subtract Brights/Lights by pressing Ctrl/Cmd + Alt/Option + click on the channel’s thumbnail
  • Subtract Darks by pressing Ctrl/Cmd + Alt/Option + click on the channel’s thumbnail
  • Save the new channel
  • Rename Midtones 1

To complete the series, just repeat the steps and select the right channels according to the desired range of the midtones mask.

Final Thoughts

Creating Luminosity Masks on Affinity Photo can be quite challenging, especially for users who are new to the software. But, while the process can be a bit new for some, particularly those who have been using Photoshop since then, the steps are pretty much similar.

So, with a little practice and familiarization with the features and functions of Affinity Photo, Luminosity Masks creation can be as easy and as quick as creating them on Adobe Photoshop.