# Meet the Channel Mixer

## Video: Meet the Channel Mixer

In this exercise, I am going to introduce you to the Channel Mixer command which allows us to mix color channels together in order to among other things, craft our own custom black and white image which is what we're about to do. I am looking at the image called YSM. psd. YSM of course stands for you are smooshing me because this guy right here is going hey, hello. How are you? I am star of the image and this poor woman is going help, you are smooshing me! Something along those lines.

## Meet the Channel Mixer

In this exercise, I am going to introduce you to the Channel Mixer command which allows us to mix color channels together in order to among other things, craft our own custom black and white image which is what we're about to do. I am looking at the image called YSM. psd. YSM of course stands for you are smooshing me because this guy right here is going hey, hello. How are you? I am star of the image and this poor woman is going help, you are smooshing me! Something along those lines.

At least, as I say, that's the story I am reading into the image. Your version may vary. In addition to the you are smooshing me image, I have got a couple of other variations here that I have created, that I created in the previous exercise that is to say, and you can go ahead and open them up as well if you want to. The first one is called Method 1(composite).psd so called because that was an RGB to Grayscale Composite Conversion and then we've got Method 2(green).jpg so called because I kept the Green channel, and threw away the Red and Blue channels. I could adjust this easily, kept the Red channel or kept the Blue channel if I wanted to.

Then finally, we've got Method 3 (lightness).jpg. I went ahead and converted the RGB image to Lab, then I selected the Lightness channel and converted it to grayscale, threw away a and b. So we have three different grayscale conversions going just for the sake of comparison. Each one of these by the way is found inside of the Ways to gray subfolder which is found inside of the 13 Channel mix folder. I am going to return to this guy right here the YSM.psd image and let's go ahead and apply the Channel Mixer function. Now, I could go up to the Image menu and choose Adjustments and then choose Channel Mixer if I wanted to apply a flat conversion. The Channel Mixer command in this case is dimmed because I can't affect the pixels directly inside of a smart object inside Photoshop. So instead, I am going to apply a more versatile adjustment layer.

So I am going to click on Close couple once again here inside the Layers palette. Then, I will press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, click-and-hold on the Black/White icon and choose Channel Mixer. Thanks to the fact that I have the Alt or Option key down, that bring up the New Layer dialog box. I will name this layer B&W and then I will click OK in order to bring up the Channel Mixer dialog box. Now, the first thing that the Channel Mixer dialog box allows us to do is to mix the Red, Green, and Blue channels into each of the Red, Green, and Blue channels, meaning for example, right now I am affecting the contents of the Red channel and I could change the Red channel to include so much Red like I could reduce the amount of Red, I could increase the amount of Green and I could increase the amount of Blue as well. So that I am adding green and blue to the Red channel.

Now, notice in this case, I have just applied some arbitrary values, but I am adding 57% Red to 71% Green and 27% Blue and I see that the Total is 155% altogether meaning that I am brightening the heck out of the Red channel. I am increasing it beyond 100%. I love this new addition inside of Photoshop CS3 the fact that it does the math for you, so that you don't have to track the math for yourself. In this case, this little warning is saying, hey, you are going too high. You might want to tone something down. So I would go ahead and reduce the amount of Red in this channel for example and notice as I do, it's tracking the total for me. It's telling me I am still too high. I will go ahead and take it down another ten down to 2% and as soon as I do, the little warning icon goes away.

It tells me that I am at 100%. I don't get a warning if I go too low. Notice that, if I go under 100%, there is no warning anymore which I think is kind of a strange decision on Adobe's part but that's the way it is. It still does track the total, that's nice. So that would give me sort of this goulish couple right there. If I were to modify their contents of the Red channel in such a way here, I can also change the Green and Blue channels if I want to. Now, if I am mixing my own custom black and white version of the image, then I want to turn on this checkbox right here Monochrome. So that I am mixing Red, Green, and Blue into a new gray version of the image as it were. So I will turn on the Monochrome checkbox, notice my Output Channel is now Gray. I can see that I am getting a grayscale version of the image.

By default, Photoshop wants to give you 40% Red mix with 40% Green and 20% Blue. Notice that, that adds up to 100%, if I were to change the values, I would get a new total as well. But for now, I am just going to accept these default values here and I am gong to click OK. So it's mostly Red and Green, equal parts Red and Green with half as much Blue added in. Then, I will go ahead and click OK to accept that modification there and let's go ahead and Shift+Tab away the palette so that we can see the entire custom grayscale version of the image. This is the Channel Mixer version of the image compared with the Composite Grayscale Conversion. It looks very similar. This is Method 1(composite).psd, so I just switch to this image.

So this is, once again just for the sake of comparison, this is the Channel Mixer version. Take a close look, and now I am going to switch this is the composite version. You'll see very, very little difference, just a slight little switch on screen. But they are not identical, so there are some differences. For example, if we switch back to the YSM image which is the Channel Mixer version of the image, you can see that the background is darker. Check out the background, slightly darker, it lightens up when we switch to the Composite RGB to Grayscale Conversion. So it's a slightly different mix of the channels and when you go from RGB to Grayscale, you do indeed mix the channels according to a predefined equation. Doesn't happen to be the equation we just applied but it is a predefined equation.

Now, let me show you, let's go back to the YSM.psd image right here. I am going to Shift+Tab up my Layers palette, so I can see it once again. I am going to double-click on the adjustment layer, so that I can revisit the Channel Mixer dialog box, there is my default settings. Here is the actual equation that most applications use to convert from RGB to Grayscale, not exactly this equation because actually Photoshop makes us in a little bit of color management as well, so it alters the equation according to your color settings inside the program.

But this is basically, this is a base equation. It's 40% Red plus 50% Green, so I have raised that value to 50% and then I will Tab to Blue and I will press Shift+Down Arrow to lower that to 10%. So 40% plus 50% plus 10%, why is it a lot Red even more Green and barely any Blue, because of the way that our eyes react to light. We have more red and green cones in our eyes than we have blue cones. So we're not seeing much in the way of blue light when we're looking at the world and of course the RGB to Grayscale Conversion takes advantage of that.

This is also why the Green channel bears the closest resemblance to a Composite Grayscale Conversion because the Composite Grayscale Conversion is mostly green. So it's 40%, 50%, and 10%, that's your base conversion. This isn't Photoshop by the way, this is the world in general. This equation actually hails from the days of black and white television and so on. I will go ahead and click OK in order to apply that conversion, let's Shift+Tab away the palettes now, let's compare this to the Composite Grayscale version.

This is the YSM image obviously subject to the Channel Mixer adjustment layer and this is the Method 1(composite) image which we created by converting the RGB image to Grayscale, using Photoshop's default settings. You can see that they are very similar to each other. This is one and this is the other, and the slight, slight, slight changes you are seeing are mostly the result of the way that Photoshop is calculating the High Pass smart filter on the fly here at the 50% View mode.

So that gives you a sense not only of how the Channel Mixer function works, but also of how industry standard RGB to Grayscale conversion works. In the next exercise, I will show you some more thrilling ways and some more custom ways of course to use the Channel Mixer command.

Show transcript

#### This video is part of

190 video lessons · 26327 viewers

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2h 13m
1. The Odyssey Continues
2m 39s
2. Mapping one image onto another
7m 12s
3. Making a custom contrast mode
7m 10s
4. Luminance blending
8m 40s
5. Forcing the visibility of underlying layers
4m 4s
6. Adjusting the appearance of clipped layers
4m 34s
7. Selecting a Blend If channel
6m 12s
8. Enhancing highlights by hiding them
5m 9s
9. Smart Object first, layer mask second
7m 22s
10. The Fill Opacity Eight
4m 30s
11. Blending Smart Filters
7m 24s
12. Cleaning up edges
7m 39s
13. More fun with luminance blending
6m 22s
14. A first peek at the Calculations command
12m 11s
15. Masking a softly focused model
11m 46s
16. Moving layers and masks between images
7m 35s
17. Matching colors
9m 13s
18. Building transitional blended layers
6m 33s
19. Restoring normal colors
6m 50s

2h 33m
1m 20s
2. Rotating and stretching
7m 54s
3. A jet of motion blur
9m 18s
4. Keyboard tricks
5m 4s
5. Merging sky and landscape
6m 3s
6m 37s
7. Creating two windows into an image
7m 42s
8. Whitening teeth and adding other highlights
3m 46s
9. Mapping a texture onto an image
4m 1s
10. Isolating a texture with a layer mask
6m 44s
11. Welcome to the glass composition
3m 18s
5m 51s
7m 24s
9m 23s
15. Adding and blending the goldfish
8m 45s
16. Assembling the perfect group photo
5m 12s
17. Aligning photographs automatically
5m 26s
18. Masking in each person's best shot
5m 18s
6m 17s
20. Crafting the perfect final poster
5m 16s
21. From the improbable to the impossible
1m 56s
22. The fantastical "world of clones" effect
10m 0s
23. Upsampling and blurring a background
8m 39s
8m 3s
25. Choking edges with Gaussian Blur and Levels
3m 46s

2h 27m
1. The corrective power of masking
1m 6s
7m 22s
3. Brightening and neutralizing the eyes
8m 22s
5m 52s
6m 4s
6. Averaging away irregular flesh tones
3m 52s
7. Modifying specific colors
7m 46s
6m 0s
6m 40s
10. Adjusting the edges around fabric
7m 56s
11. Perfecting hair
9m 35s
12. Sharpening with a High Pass layer
10m 12s
4m 48s
8m 48s
15. Fashioning a depth map
6m 12s
16. Invoking a depth mask from Lens Blur
6m 38s
17. The perfect depth-of-field effect
6m 25s
18. Sharpening an archival photograph
7m 7s
8m 29s
20. Making a High Pass sandwich
7m 46s
6m 2s
4m 6s
4. ### 13. Channel Mixing and Other Tricks

2h 3m
1. Channel Mixer, I am your father!
1m 39s
2. Three ways to gray
7m 49s
3. Meet the Channel Mixer
8m 26s
4. Mixing a custom black-and-white image
7m 10s
5. Creating a professional-level sepia tone
5m 36s
6. Employing the Black & White command
8m 1s
7. Extreme channel mixing
4m 50s
8. The infrared photography effect
6m 43s
9. Taking shadows to the brink of black
3m 56s
10. Elevating highlights, leeching saturation
5m 58s
11. Deepening a black-and-white sky
5m 49s
12. Infusing luminance levels with color
5m 44s
13. Creating an opposing colorization scheme
4m 58s
14. Bolstering contrast with the Green channel
5m 37s
15. A tiny improvement to a terrific technique
7m 39s
16. The simple (but wrong) approach to red-eye correction
6m 39s
17. Channel-mixing red pupils
9m 18s
18. The expert approach to red-eye correction
5m 20s
19. Fixing problem coronas (pupil edges)
8m 9s
20. Making pupils match
4m 8s
5. ### 14. Calculations (aka Channel Operations)

2h 33m
1m 37s
2. The Calculations command
8m 16s
3. Blue Screen blending
7m 40s
4. Refining the Blue Screen mask
5m 53s
5. Brushing away color fringing
7m 24s
6. Locking the transparency of a layer
6m 22s
7. Nondestructive layer painting
7m 36s
8. How the Add blend mode works
8m 40s
9. How the Subtract blend mode works
6m 43s
10. Focus, noise, and other masking challenges
5m 33s
11. The Add mode in action
7m 51s
12. The Subtract mode in action
8m 25s
13. Comparing two channels with Difference
5m 24s
14. Enhancing the contrast with Curves
9m 11s
15. Gathering details with Apply Image
9m 43s
6m 6s
17. Dodge and Burn in action
8m 24s
18. Painting in the scalp
10m 1s
19. Painting away the face and chin
4m 53s
20. Compositing complementary images
4m 13s
21. Multiply, Minimum, Blur, and Apply Image
6m 40s
22. Crafting the final composition
7m 7s
6. ### 15. The Pen Tool and the Paths Palette

1h 57m
1. Mark of the Pen tool
1m 35s
2. The big paths project overview
6m 51s
3. How to make a path
8m 25s
4. Corner points and freeform polygons
8m 6s
5. Editing paths with the arrow tools
5m 2s
5m 15s
7. Adding and deleting interior points
6m 6s
8. Converting a path to a selection
3m 35s
9. Converting a path to a mask
6m 38s
10. Smooth points and control handles
8m 57s
11. Making cusp points
6m 0s
12. Combining paths in a vector mask
7m 55s
13. Turning a path into a shape layer
8m 57s
14. Combining paths to make a layer mask
7m 52s
15. Mixing layer and vector masks
10m 14s
16. Editing character outlines as paths
8m 39s
17. Using the Convert Point tool
7m 8s
7. ### 16. Masking the Tough Stuff

3h 17m
1. Where there's a will, there's a way
1m 18s
4m 10s
3. Applying the cast show
4m 2s
3m 7s
5. Applying an arbitrary map
3m 50s
7m 17s
7. Roughing in an object mask
6m 49s
8. Drawing missing details with the Lasso tool
4m 7s
9. Combining flesh and object masks
3m 53s
4m 10s
11. Selectively choking edges
3m 58s
12. Power duplication in Photoshop
7m 9s
5m 48s
14. Using Levels to mask iterations
3m 14s
15. Drawing an iteration boundary
4m 55s
16. Merging the best of two Levels iterations
4m 4s
17. More fun with Dodge and Burn
6m 14s
18. Fixing edges with the Pen and Stamp tools
7m 29s
19. Pulling from another file with Apply Image
4m 52s
20. Blending clipped layers independently
5m 43s
9m 22s
22. Amplifying the flame
3m 53s
23. Masking an image against a busy background
5m 15s
24. The Freeform and Magnetic Pen tools
6m 52s
9m 32s
26. A more deliberate approach to arb maps
10m 51s
27. Combining arb maps with paths
9m 28s
28. Masking with the help of the History brush
11m 38s
29. Creating a High Pass mask
7m 25s
30. Coloring in the outlines
8m 31s
31. Mastering Calculations
7m 29s
32. Subtracting and merging the beak
11m 6s
8. ### 17. 16-Bit/Channel and HDR

1h 33m
1. The meaning of bit depth (and why you care)
2m 50s
2. Scanning line art in 8-bit and 16-bit
5m 9s
3. Measuring the 16-bit difference
8m 9s
4. Correcting 8-bit images in the 16-bit space
9m 31s
5. Opening a raw image directly in 16-bit
6m 13s
6. Editing in Camera Raw, opening in 16-bit
8m 22s
7. 16-Bit/channel vs. 32-bit/channel (HDR)
8m 18s
8. Working with auto-bracketed photographs
5m 6s
9. Using the Merge to HDR command
6m 0s
6m 0s
11. Building a 32-bit sky mask
6m 29s
12. Properly exposing land and sky
4m 25s
13. Modifying a layer mask in 32-bit
4m 56s
14. Converting to and correcting in 16-bit Lab
12m 7s
9. ### 18. DMaps and Lighting Effects

2h 8m
1. Photoshop flirts with the third dimension
1m 13s
2. The displacement map
8m 24s
3. Making custom waves
7m 14s
4. Creating a Gaussian distribution
4m 32s
5. Using a two-channel displacement map
6m 28s
6. Creating a rustic edge effect
8m 21s
7. Distorting and shading with a DMap
6m 34s
8. Moonlight reflecting off water
8m 48s
9. Mapping the reflection onto the water
7m 7s
10. Dipping the moon into the water
6m 18s
11. Turning flesh into stone
7m 55s
12. Wrapping the stone around the face
7m 27s
13. Softening a displacement map
8m 5s
14. Making a repeating watermark pattern
9m 22s
15. 3D embossing with Lighting Effects
10m 48s
16. The amazing credit card type effect
6m 56s
17. Lightening the credit card letters
6m 16s
18. Wrapping the background around the text
6m 27s

1m 43s
1. Goodbye
1m 43s

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