Removing Background Using Photoshop Luma Mask

photoshop luma mask tutorial
This is a quick tutorial and guide on how to remove background or seperating foreground from background using photoshop luma mask matte method.

Luma Mask Quick Tutorial

photoshop luma mask
Duplicate the photo source into another layer.

photoshop luma mask
CTRL-SHIFT-U to desaturate the new layer. Then, CTRL-L to level adjust the new layer. Try to adjust the image into a black and white image with less gray shade. You can also use the CTRL-M curve adjustment for this step.

photoshop luma mask
Add layer mask to the photo layer. You can access this on the menu via Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All.

photoshop luma mask
Cut and paste the black and white layer into mask channel under the channels tab.

photoshop luma mask
Most of the time, our mask will be inverted since the sky is bright which result in white shade. Since, white is transparent and black is opaque in luma mask. So we need to invert the mask using CTRL-I.

photoshop luma mask
Now, go back to the layers tab and click on the mask. You can start using the eraser tool to remove background elements that are not needed. If you accidentally delete something, use the paint brush tool to repaint the mask. It is very important to make sure you are painting and erasing on the mask, instead of the image.

photoshop luma mask photoshop luma mask
We might need to repaint some of the areas that were accidentally mask since our mask contain gray shade.

photoshop luma mask
And that's it! We successfully mask the foreground object and seperate it from the background.

Luma Mask Tutorial Video

Below is the luma mask tutorial in video format.

Ideas For Your Street Light Painting

Below are two painting timelapse videos of street light.


Some artworks that make use of luma mask.

cirrus cloud starry night


  1. Excellent work! one side question are you working on any animation? (short animations etc)

    Yah bless

  2. Wonderful Tutorial, thanks for putting this together! This is obviously one great post. Thanks for the valuable information.


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