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Aug-Sep 2014 Merge Channels Contest

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Old 08-09-2014, 10:06 AM
T Paul's Avatar
T Paul T Paul is offline
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 2,987
Aug-Sep 2014 Merge Channels Contest

This contest is a bit different from our previous contests. The provided link is to a single image of multiple grayscale images. One image is the red channel, one is the blue channel, and one is the green channel. There are various ways of combining them to make a color image.

My approach would be to first create each grayscale image as its own layer and lower the opacity to make sure that they all line up (using the difference mode may also be helpful). Once you have the images lined up, I would crop the overall image to remove the extra areas. Next you will need to create each layer as its own individual grayscale image—same pixel dimensions. Remember that the new images must be flattened (have no layers). Then combine the multiple grayscale images as channels into a final single image. The result will be a color image.

Once you have your color image, then you will need retouch it as necessary to complete the color restoration.

Source Image: Woodcutters on the Svir River. Courtesy of Library of Congress.

Note you only need to download ONE of the files. The files are of the same image, just in different file formats for ease in downloading.

Click here to download TIF version (33.6mb)

Click here to download JPEG version (196kb)

If you are having trouble downloading the links try right-clicking on the above links and selecting save file or download linked file.

New to the contests? Please review the FAQs

Prize: "Winner's Choice" of any two RetouchPRO LIVE Video Rentals!

How Do I Merge Channels? - From

Multiple grayscale images can be combined as the channels of a single image. The images you want to merge must be in grayscale mode, be flattened (have no layers), have the same pixel dimensions, and be open. The number of grayscale images you have open determines the color modes available when merging channels. For example, if you have three images open, you can merge them into an RGB image; if you have four images open, they can become a CMYK image.

1. Open the grayscale images containing the channels you want to merge, and make one of the images active. 

You must have more than one image open for the Merge Channels option to be available.

2. Choose Merge Channels from the Channels panel menu. 

3. For Mode, choose the color mode you want to create. The number of channels appropriate for the mode appears in the Channels text box. 

4. If necessary, enter a number in the Channels text box. 

If you enter a number that is incompatible with the selected mode, Multichannel mode is automatically selected. This creates a multichannel image with two or more channels.

5. Click OK. 

6. For each channel, make sure the image you want is open. If you change your mind about the image type, click Mode to return to the Merge Channels dialog box. 

7. If you are merging channels into a multichannel image, click Next, and select the remaining channels. 


All channels of a multichannel image are alpha channels or spot channels.

When you have finished selecting channels, click OK. 

The selected channels are merged into a new image of the specified type, and the original images are closed without any changes. The new image appears in an untitled window. 


You cannot split and recombine (merge) an image with spot color channels. The spot color channel will be added as an alpha channel.

1. Contest will run from 9 Aug to 21 Sep 2014. Deadline for entries is 6pm (U.S. Central Time).

2. I will not answer questions concerning the rules. Interpretation of the rules is as important as execution.

3. Tasks:
  • Combine the provided grayscale images into a single (one frame) color image.
  • Retouch the resulting color image as necessary to complete the restoration into a quality color image.

4. When you submit your entry, put your username in the filename (ie: tpaul.jpg). This is so users can save the images to a local directory and remember who did what--important when it comes time to vote.

5. Post your entries to this thread. Links will not be accepted. Please restrict your comments, questions or discussion to the Contest Discussion thread. Inappropriately placed posts will be deleted.

6. Only one entry per person. You can change your entry up to the deadline.

7. Voting will run from 22 to 28 Sep 2014. Only those with entries may vote.

8. Voting:
  • Submit the 5 best entries (by artist name) in order, starting with your favorite.
  • You cannot vote for your own image.
  • Once you have voted, do not change your votes. The votes are tallied as they come in so any changes in the votes may not be reflected in the final results.

Finally, please remember that this is a friendly contest and suppose to be a learning experience. Tips and suggestions to help others are highly encouraged. Also please don’t limit your comments to just the top 5 when you vote. Most members are eager for feedback about their images, so remember to help each other out.
Old 08-12-2014, 10:33 PM
Foghorn002 Foghorn002 is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Melbourne Australia
Posts: 1
Re: Aug-Sep 2014 Merge Channels Contest

This is where I got to after a quick couple of hours. I realise the it requires a little more attention with colour work and cleaning up, although not sure if I will have any free time.
Any feedback would be much appreciated.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg Quickfix.jpg (96.0 KB, 225 views)

Last edited by Foghorn002; 08-13-2014 at 05:49 PM.
Old 08-13-2014, 02:50 PM
hthampton hthampton is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 1
Re: Aug-Sep 2014 Merge Channels Contest

Whew, that was interesting! Hope you like this version!
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File Type: jpg hthampton.jpg (74.4 KB, 203 views)
Old 08-13-2014, 05:13 PM
tchas1949 tchas1949 is offline
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Location: Laredo, Texas
Posts: 2
Re: Aug-Sep 2014 Merge Channels Contest

After cropping the three versions to different files, I copied and pasted to a single file. I hid one of the upper copies, turned the other down to 50% opacity, and aligned with the bottom layer. Then I switched other layer on, the first copy off, and aligned with 50% opacity again. Set the both upper layers to 100%, chose a selection that avoided the black frame (and some trash) in each image, then cropped. Each layer was copied and pasted to a new open file, and flattened. I adjusted levels on each one to visual consistency. I chose one to set to multichannel, pasted in copies of the others as new channels, then converted the mode to RGB. (And Got Lucky! Not sure if Photoshop analyzed to see which was red, green, or blue, but it came out fairly well. I was expecting to go through trial and error to get the right combination.) I used Topaz Clarity and iCorrect EditLab Pro to adjust hue, saturation, and tone. There were areas with color problems in the trees and on the right. I selected the dark tones of the trees and replaced the color with a foliage yellow-green, then decreased the saturation so it wasn't as obvious. On the right, I borrowed color from the left to recolor the right, though it wasn't as successful as I hoped. Final run through iCorrect and save.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg ccoats.jpg (90.0 KB, 213 views)
Old 08-13-2014, 06:43 PM
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xgi93 xgi93 is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Clarksville, Tennessee
Posts: 18
Re: Aug-Sep 2014 Merge Channels Contest

I've never tried merging channels before, so I was interested in how it's done. I followed the instructions posted above (from and Moderator T Paul) and was pleasantly surprised. What's here is what popped out after OK'ing the Merge Channels dialog box, and I tweaked the Color Balance a tad just to see what would happen. The 3 images seemed to have aligned pretty well and the color balance isn't too weird. I can see why you have a pretty long contest period--there's one heck of a lot of retouch/restore work to do on this after one finally gets the color right, and I haven't yet. The question is, am I at least in the ballpark regarding the nuts & bolts of producing the image itself? Comments and criticism welcome.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Woodcutters.jpg (74.9 KB, 159 views)
Old 08-13-2014, 09:05 PM
rambaldi92 rambaldi92 is offline
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Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 1
Re: Aug-Sep 2014 Merge Channels Contest

Here's my take. Would have loved to do more retouching but I'm afraid I can't stop.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg challenge.jpg (99.3 KB, 150 views)
Old 08-14-2014, 12:26 AM
venanzio venanzio is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Aug-Sep 2014 Merge Channels Contest

My first cut at it. a very interesting problem
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File Type: jpg venanzio_520-hihg_60.jpg (98.5 KB, 100 views)
Old 08-14-2014, 01:21 AM
Tsykhra Tsykhra is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
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Re: Aug-Sep 2014 Merge Channels Contest

My version
I've decided not to remove sun's yellow cast completly


Far from perfect buy perfection takes hours )
Attached Images
File Type: jpg tsykhra2.jpg (99.3 KB, 180 views)
Old 08-14-2014, 08:49 AM
edgework edgework is offline
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Re: Aug-Sep 2014 Merge Channels Contest

Fun stuff.

Edit: color move.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg chart.jpg (96.0 KB, 55 views)

Last edited by edgework; 08-14-2014 at 01:00 PM.
Old 08-14-2014, 11:40 AM
kuasar kuasar is offline
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Posts: 10
Re: Aug-Sep 2014 Merge Channels Contest


It is my first time in a contest here ^.^ I found it really interesting and even wrote an entry on the steps taken to achieve my result. You can read it and see intermediate screenshots over here:

First of all I found that channel red was overexposed, so I corrected levels on each of them before starting with anything else.

I did not only align the channel layers, I also dealt with the chromatic aberrations due to the fact that the guy in the middle moved (and white shirt plus faces from other two boys) and cleaned the artifacts from the image as if restoring an old photograph, only that because it was being kept in different channels weathering affected them differently so this had to be dealt with three times, one for each layer separately.

Finally I applied some good ol' frequency separation technique to sharpen the focus and blur any disturbing details.

I could really go on a little longer... but I guess I'd rather go out for a coffee... so here it is! . And by the way, feedback is greatly appreciated.


Swaped (because these are negatives and the original picture would've probably been taken like this):
Attached Images
File Type: jpg kuasar.jpg (94.1 KB, 74 views)

Last edited by kuasar; 08-14-2014 at 12:23 PM.
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