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Mar 18, 2013

Separate Parts Of Your Image With Photoshop Channels

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?

Text-align: right;”>Photo by Masataka

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12 Comments


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  • user image
    Marvin S

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

  • user image
    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.

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    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.

  • user image
    Ian Boys

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

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    Vadim Yelagin

    Another way of separating the white object (smoke) from color (red) background is to use a monochrome channel mixer to subtract the “worst” channel (red) from the “best” channel (blue).