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Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, updated for CS5, follows internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland as he dives into the workings of Photoshop. He explores such digital-age wonders as the Levels and Curves commands, edge-detection filters, advanced compositing techniques, vector-based text, the Liquify filter, and Camera Raw. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, and enhancing colors without harming the original image. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisite: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
I finally saved my progress as Alpha channel.tif, so called, because I've saved that to selection outline that we created using the Color Range command and then modified in the Quick Mask mode. I've gone ahead saved it as a permanent Alpha channel, and it's called general lips, down here at the bottom of the Channels panel. Now you may wonder how on the world did I do that. You can either click on this icon, down here at the bottom of the Channels panel, the one that says Save Selection as Channel, and that'll go ahead and create an Alpha channel, like so.
And it'll automatically name that Alpha channel, alpha1. If you want to name the Alpha channel as you created it, which is when I did, then go ahead and Undo that modification by pressing Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac, and then Alt+Click or Option+Click on this icon, and that forces it to display the New Channel dialog box. You can establish a color that will be associated with this channel if you decide to view the channel and the RGB image at the same time. And I decided on the name general lips not because that's the rank of the lips, but rather because this is my first general step in creating a selection outline that encompasses the lips and little bit too much with the teeth, as you can see here.
Anyway, then I clicked OK, and that's how I got these lips right here. I am going to cancel out. Now, if you're catching up with me and you want to regain this selection outline right here so that you have exactly the same selection I do. Well, I'll show you what to do. I'll press Ctrl+D Command+D on the Mac, to deselect the image, and then you loaded this Alpha channel as a selection by pressing and holding the Ctrl, here on a PC, or the Command on a Mac, and clicking on this channel, and that goes ahead and converts it to a selection outline.
If you don't like that technique, for whatever reason, you can also go up to the Select menu, and you can choose the Load Selection command. This is the manual way to do it. And then you would go ahead and make sure your document is set to my document, which is Alpha channel.tif, or whatever the name of your document is. Then finally, you had channel set to the Alpha channel here. The one disadvantage of using this command is you can't load the Red, Green and Blue channels; you can only see your Alpha Channels. And then you load them as a New Selection, or you can Add them to the selections, subtract and intersect, all that jazz.
You can even Invert the selection, as you load it. However, that Ctrl key technique I was showing you where you Ctrl+Click or Command+Click on one of the thumbnails that does work with the Red, Green and Blue channels or any channel inside of any color model image. Right, anyway, I'm going cancel that here. Finally, why did I use the TIF mode? Because originally, the name of this file was Lips.jpg, and now it's alpha channel.tif. The reason is that the JPEG format does not support Alpha Channels.
So when I working with a flat image like this one right here, doesn't have any layers, notice that, but it does contain Alpha Channels then I'll go ahead and save my image to the TIF file format. If the image also contains layers, in addition to Alpha Channels, now I'll go ahead save it to the native PSD file format. And the reason is even though TIF supports layers PSP is just more generally compatible with other programs where layers are concerned. All right, so that's it. I just wanted to give you a sense of what's going on with an Alpha channel here.
You can save a selection outline out as an Alpha channel. The advantage of working that way is that you can permanently save the selection along with the image so you can retrieve it anytime you like. Also, if you're saving the image to the TIF file format, for example, if I go up to the File menu and choose Save As command or press Ctrl+Shift+S, Command+Shift+S on a Mac, and then decide to name this file something else. I'll go ahead and call it My new mask. tif, or something like that.tif, make sure Alpha Channels is turned on so that you're saving the Alpha channel along with the image.
Click on the Save button, and then inside of your TIF options, definitely turn on LZW Compression. First of all, that's lossless compression so it doesn't hurt the image. Secondly, it really works great for Alpha Channels because you have such a wide region of the channel that's absolutely black and so many pixels that are absolutely white. They compress really easily. Big areas of same color pixels compressed down to nothing when LZW is turned on. And than you'll set Pixel Order to the Interleaved like usual, and then Byte Order can be either IBM, PC or Macintosh; that doesn't matter.
All right, I'm going cancel that because I have already that. And there you have the basics of using an Alpha Channel to permanently store a selection outline along with an image, inside Photoshop.
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