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Learn how to work with channels panel in Adobe Photoshop CS3.
Tags:adobe,adobe photoshop cs3,channels panel,images,photoshop,total training
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Now let's begin the series by taking a quick look at the Channels Panel inside of Photoshop CS3, and to begin this we are going to go ahead and open up our Project Files folder, navigate to Chapter 01 and we are going to select Graduate.psd. I am going to double-click that to launch this file in Photoshop, and I am working in the maximized screen view so if you want to jump into that just go ahead and hit the F key on your keyboard that will automatically jump you right here into the Maximized Screen Mode, and what we are going to do is we are going to take a look at the Channels.
So over here in the Layers Panel there is a tab that says Channels. So just go ahead and click that, and your channels will automatically pop up there. Now my channels are a little bit larger than yours, probably are by default and that's simply because I have an option turned on that you probably do not. So if you have enough room in the Channels Panel just go ahead at the bottom and right-click. I don't have enough room because my thumbnails are so large so I am just going to click this little fly-out menu and we are going to take a look at the Palette Options.
This is going to bring up these little weird icons here and we are going to get into exactly what those are in just a moment, but by default here it's probably going to be set to the medium setting right here in the middle. So I will go and click OK just to show you, this is how your channels probably look.
I am going to go ahead and recommend that you change that back to the large option though. So go ahead and go back to the Palette Options change that back to Large just so we have a better understanding of exactly what these channels look like as we are working with them here inside of Photoshop.
So like I said before, I was going to explain to you what those little icons were that we just saw there just to give you a little bit of better understanding there. If I go back to the Layers Panel and I check down on this fly-out menu again, choose Palette Options this time you see that these are just little pictures of these little Merlin Wizard type people that they have stored inside of Photoshop here. So that's exactly what you are seeing there, you are just seeing them in Channel View and that maybe gives you a better understanding of what channels are. Channels are essentially just grayscale images that represent the color values inside of your image.
So if I go ahead and click back on the Channels Panel here, you see here that in this RGB image, I have the RGB Composite Channel, a Red Channel, a Green Channel and a Blue Channel and what these are, are just different grayscale images, if I click on one you will see it's just completely grayscale there. And what that is, is the representation of the luminosity values of that color inside of that channel.
Now we are going to be getting more in-depth with the RGB colors in another lesson, so I won't go into exactly what these RGB values are and how they interact with one another, I just want to give you an understanding of exactly what these channels are here inside the Channels Panel and how they are in Grayscale Mode.
Now also at the bottom here you are going to see that I have a black and white image down here that's called Mask. Now that's an Alpha Channel and that's going to be something that we'll talk about in the later lesson as well. So don't worry about that channel for the time being.
Now if you want to quickly access any number of these channels here you can use the keyboard shortcuts which are associated with those. As you can see they are listed right out here to the side, for instance, if I wanted to jump to the Green Channel and I would just hit Command+2 on the Mac, Ctrl+2 on the PC, it would automatically jump me to that Green Channel, same if I wanted to get back to the Blue Channel I would just use Command+3 or on the PC Ctrl+3 and I can cycle through these channels by using those keyboard shortcuts so that I don't have to take my mouse out of the Image Window each and every time I wanted to see those when I am working.
Now I am going to go ahead and I am going click back on the RGB Composite Channel because this is the only way that you can see all the channels in color by default. Now there is a way and we are going to discuss this in the next lesson on how to view your channels in color, but I don't recommend that you do that necessarily, simply because when you are working inside of the Channels Panel, you want to make sure that you have full control and full visibility over the luminosity values so that when you are editing these channels you have a better understanding of where all the colors lie.
Now when you are working in these channels the darkest areas of the image, the black areas are going to be where the color does not lie and the whiter areas are going to be where you have the most of that particular color. So, for instance, in the Blue Channel here you see that we don't have a lot of blue in her face because blue is generally not up color that's associated with skin tones.
So you can kind of get an idea of exactly how these channels interact with one another. If you start to just combine them together. So, for instance, if I wanted to turn on the Blue Channel with the Green Channel, you see there that we get the blue and the green, but we are going to talk a little bit more about how those interact inside of the RGB channels lesson by itself.
So now, what we are going to do, is we are going to take a look at how to utilize these channels and view them in color and some instances on why you might want to do that.