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Channel Mixer

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Old 01-15-2004, 04:55 PM
T Paul's Avatar
T Paul T Paul is offline
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Channel Mixer

Image>Adjustments>Channel Mixer

The channel mixer is a wonderful tool and should be explored especially when you are creating black & white images. Experiment with the different color channels and you may be amazed at the dramatic changes they make in your image. First make sure Monochrome is checked. This will allow you to mix your channels in a grayscale workspace. Now try the following:

Red Channel:
The Red Channel is often referred to as the Contrast Channel because it usually is the brightest channel and contains the most contrast in the image. Enter 100 for the red and leave the Green and Blue channels set to 0. You’ll get a very bright almost glowing portrait image. This setting also tends to smooth out skin tones and can be very flattering for portraits of women and children.

Green Channel:
The Green Channel is often referred to as the Detail Channel. It is usually the most even channel and contains quite a bit of the image detail. Enter 100 for the green and leave the Red and Blue channels set to 0. This setting should create a fairly accurate greyscale image. However, it may leave your image looking a bit flat, so you will probably have to adjust the other channels to add a bit more punch to your image.

Blue Channel:
The Blue Channel is often referred to as the Noise Channel. Typically the Blue Channel is where noise, grain, and other nasty little artifacts love to hide out. The Blue Channel tends to be the darkest channel of the three -- unless, of coarse, it is a picture of a blue sky or other blue object. Enter 100 for blue and leave the Red and Green channels set to 0. This should create a very high-contrast image causing freckles, wrinkles and lines to really stand out. This may be an ideal setting especially if you want to emphasize the character in an aged face.

You will have to experiment with the setting on your own and they will differ from image to image. Just remember to make sure that all three channels add up to a 100.

Got some other tips about the channel mixer? Add them to this thread!

Last edited by T Paul; 01-15-2004 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 01-15-2004, 09:01 PM
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Jeff L Jeff L is offline
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: Chicagoland
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An interesting technique I have seen done using the channel mixer is to create an Ansel Adams look grayscale.

Using the channel mixer, bring the blue channel to -200, and fiddle with the red and green channels to a total of +200. Looks pretty cool on landscapes.
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Old 01-15-2004, 09:48 PM
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T Paul T Paul is offline
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Posts: 2,987
Interesting technique Jeff. I will have to give that one a try. Thanks for posting it.

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