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Separate Parts Of Your Image With Photoshop Channels

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Mar 18

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Why Photoshop Channels Are Useful

Channels are great for making selections that would otherwise be very difficult to make. There are three channels – red, green, and blue. When viewed individually, the image will be lighter where the color is more present and darker where it isn’t. If you took a picture of a red popsicle next to a blue popsicle and viewed it with only the blue channel visible, the blue popsicle would be very light and the red popsicle would be very dark.

This is great for making selections based on color. You can see that in Matakasa’s image the smoke forms a very complex shape that would be almost impossible to select with the lasso or magic wand tools. By making the red and green channels invisible and only viewing our blue channel, it lightens the smoke and darkens the rest of the image significantly for us.

By hitting command and clicking on the layer, all of the pixels lighter than black will become selected. You can then paint on this selection, giving you smoke that won’t become affected by editing the rest of the image!

What are some way you have used channels, or plan on using channels in the future now that you’re more familiar with them?

Photo by Masataka

  • http://twitter.com/artiisan1 ArtiisanPhotography

    Interchangeable color cyclorama

  • http://twitter.com/mr_benbrooks Benjamin D Brooks

    Happy “Early” Birthday and congrats on the new studio. I hope to visit when I visit in a couple of months.

  • Marvin S

    Happy Phlirthday !!! Studio looks awesome and thank you so much for every single tutorial so far ! You are simply the best !

  • http://twitter.com/claude_laramee claude laramee

    I agree with the comment of Marvin (just below) . Cheers to your success story (you and your staff) !

  • Sami S

    My first post but been following you since you launched Phlearn. Learned tons from you and very much appreciated. All the best for more success-you deserve it.

  • Bob Bell

    Great tips Aaron, cheers. Happy birthday Phlearn!

  • http://www.guillaumephotography.com/ Guillaume Megevand

    Happy Birthday!!! Great tutorial as well!!!!

  • Julie Kjærgaard

    Nice photo, I love that his hair all most look aflame!

  • Simon Abrams

    Duplicating a channel, then painting on it with white or black with the brush in Overlay mode is amazing for making complicated selections.

  • Ian Boys

    This was fantastic. So easy now to select light skin areas on the Blue Channel. Thank you!

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Pick up a Color Wheel and use it to create a color palette.