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The elusive alpha channel remains one of the most misunderstood yet powerful tools in Photoshop. Alpha channels are collections of luminance data that control the transparency of an image, and they inform just about every aspect of Photoshop. As he builds transitional blended layers, fashions a depth map, makes edge adjustments, and takes on extreme channel mixing, Omni Award-winning expert Deke McClelland teaches Photoshop users that where there's a will, there's a way. Photoshop CS3 Channels and Masks: Advanced Techniques covers mapping texture on an image, turning flesh into stone, using vector masks, working with all different channels, creating a rustic edge effect, and much more. Exercise files accompany the tutorials.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts for Channels and Masks from the Exercise Files tab."
Welcome to the final chapter in this series. It's been a long time coming, but now here it is. In this final chapter we will take a look at two highly-specialized functions in Photoshop that employ independent channels to create 3D quality effects. The first, the Displace Filter uses a single or double channel fire called a Displacement Map to move pixels, effectively taking one image and wrapping it along or around another. The second, Lighting Effects lets you light the edges between the black-and-whites in an Alpha channel to create a custom 3D embossing effect.
In other words, the first command provides the 3D distortion; the second provides the 3D lighting. Both employ channels to make their magic work, and although neither feature has been updated since it was first introduced years and years ago. Each produces exceptional results. Just as you'll experience firsthand in the following exercises.
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