If you are first starting out navigating the Photoshop waters, learning to select fine details and masking an object can be time consuming and frustrating. Once you do all that work isn’t there away to save it so you don’t have to go through the entire song and dance again? YUP! (Now if your thinking “Oh, just save it as a path”. Yes. You could do that, but there is a much better way!)
Take a look at this. This is called the Channels palette.
For a long time I ignored this palette. I didn’t understand it. It seemed complicated but when I finally realized what this palette actually did I got excited! This thing is brilliant! Replace the word “Channels” with the word “Selections”. AH HA! Cool huh? Channels are actually a technical term for “Selections”. The Red, Green, Blue channels are basically PS’s way of selecting different colored pixels. That is why it’s so powerful. It takes a lot of frustration out of making selections yourself. It also allows you to save your channels (selections) when you need to. Here’s how…
1. Make your selection with one of PS’s various selections tools. Once you have your selection just right, click on Select>Save Selection.
You will then get this dialogue box.
2. See where it says “Channel”? When you save this selection it is essentially creating a new “Channel” and you will then be able to find that saved selection in the Channel’s palette. In this case we want to create a “New Channel”. For this tutorial I will name it “Dog”. I’m so creative…LOL!
Now you will see your new saved selection in the Channels palette. If you want to grab that selection back, then click on the channel you need and click the little dotted lined circle at the bottom on the channels palette. It will then load that selection again for you.
These channels are very editable as well.
As you can see above… If you need to make changes to your selection you can save over and replace one you have already created. If you forgot to select a portion of your object, you can then select that little portion and add it to an existing channel. You can even subtract and intersect an existing saved selection.
Now that channels have been somewhat demystified, I think you will find yourself relying on them much more. They can really save a lot of valuable time when doing composites.
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