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Single-channel grayscale

From: Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals

Video: Single-channel grayscale

In this exercise, we are going to take a look at the Single-channel mode which is grayscale. But first I'm going to reset my view of the channels to grayscale by pressing Ctrl+K. or Command+K on a Mac, which is the standard shortcut for the Preferences command. Then I'll click on Interface, turn off the Show Channels in Color check box and click OK. Now I can once again see my Color Channels in grayscale which is by far the best way to view them, when you're masking images in Photoshop. Now I am going to duplicate our composition at hand by going up to the Image menu, and choosing the Duplicate command.

Single-channel grayscale

In this exercise, we are going to take a look at the Single-channel mode which is grayscale. But first I'm going to reset my view of the channels to grayscale by pressing Ctrl+K. or Command+K on a Mac, which is the standard shortcut for the Preferences command. Then I'll click on Interface, turn off the Show Channels in Color check box and click OK. Now I can once again see my Color Channels in grayscale which is by far the best way to view them, when you're masking images in Photoshop. Now I am going to duplicate our composition at hand by going up to the Image menu, and choosing the Duplicate command.

And I'll go ahead and name this image Grayscale bird. And, by the way, before you do anything radical to an image like Convert it to Grayscale, for example, it's always a great idea to duplicate the image. That way you don't run the risk of accidentally overwriting the original. I'll go ahead and click OK to create the new image and I will zoom in. Now, let's go up to the Image menu, choose the mode command and choose Grayscale. Now we are going to get a couple of warnings. The first one is asking as hey, do you want to Flatten this image or leave it layered. The obvious downside of flattening is that you fuse away all your layers.

However, Flattening will also do a better job of maintaining the appearance of the image. For example, in our case, the Flatten button would do a better job of retaining the definition in the background, albeit, without any color. However, I am going to click on Don't Flatten, because I want to keep the layers and I want you to see what happens with that gradient background, so I will click Don't Flatten. Next, I get another alert, which is Photoshop's way of telling you that there's a better way to create a grayscale image. When you choose a grayscale command, you let Photoshop be in charge of the tonal conversion, whereas if you were to choose the Black & White command instead, you could make your own custom grayscale.

I am going to go ahead and click Discard, because I want to abandon my channels. And notice I almost certainly have. Here in the Channels panel, the Red, Green and Blue Channels have been fused into a single Gray Channel. I do however keep my alpha channels which contain my masks. I am going to go ahead and switch over to my Layers panel here, you can see that this Grad layer which is selected in my case, is rather losing everything. They used to be set to the Hue blend mode, so that the colors we are mixing in with the background. Well, the Hue blend mode is not supported in a grayscale image, so the mode is switch back to Normal and as a result, I'm just covering up the background with this gradient.

So I will turn off the gradient to reveal the original Background. Now at this point, you may wonder why it is Photoshop can't communicate color in a Single-channel. I will go ahead and switch back to the Channels panel so we can see that Single-channel there. Well, consider the way color must work. You have three ingredients to the color of any pixel. You've got the core Hue value, which is essentially all of the colors in the rainbow, whether that color is red or orange or yellow and so forth. Then, you've got what's known as Saturation, which is the intensity of the color, whether it's a drab orange which is going to look brown or a very vivid orange instead.

Then finally, you have Luminance which is the brightness from very dark to very light. Those are three different dimensions that are associated with color. No matter what to represent color, you need at least three channels. Those channels may be organized differently but they have to be there. Alright, now let's take a look at another way to create a grayscale image. I am going to switch back to our composition, go up once again to the Image menu and choose the Duplicate command. And I will go ahead and name this one, Single-channel grayscale and then click OK in order to create that duplicate.

And now, let's say I want to retain just one of the three channels. I will go ahead and click on Green because it's the best looking channel to me, and then I'll go up to the Image menu, choose mode and choose Grayscale. This time, Photoshop isn't going to give me the option of keeping the layers. It's going to tell me hey, you've got to flatten this image, because after all channels do not support layers. So I will go ahead and click OK. Now, it's going to ask me Discard other channels, which is Photoshop's way of saying I'm not going to mix the channels, I am just going to get rid of red and blue, click OK.

Now, I have a Single-channel image. I don't even have the mask anymore. If I go back to the Layers panel, all I have left is the Background and nothing more. But this is a very different view of the image than we saw before, so this is the grayscale mix of the bird. And incidentally, a typical grayscale mix inside of Photoshop, generally speaking, these are very broad strokes, by the way,. It's roughly 40% red, 50% green and 10% blue. And that's a wild oversimplification, because there is some color management that goes on as well.

But that's essentially what we are seeing in the case of the grayscale bird whereas, in the case of the Single- channel grayscale image, we were seeing 100% green channel and nothing more. Now the good thing about converting to grayscale, especially where a straightforward conversion is concerned, where you allow Photoshop to mix the channels, is that you get yet another view of your image that may prove helpful for masking. However, you're even better off if you mix your own grayscale version, and I'll show you what that looks like in the next exercise.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals
Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals

128 video lessons · 31038 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 15m 25s
    1. Welcome
      1m 12s
    2. Loading my custom dekeKeys shortcuts
      3m 45s
    3. Adjusting the color settings
      4m 29s
    4. Setting up a power workspace
      5m 59s
  2. 1h 0m
    1. The channel is the origin of masking
      1m 54s
    2. The Masks and Channels panels
      4m 48s
    3. How color channels work
      7m 7s
    4. Viewing channels in color
      3m 24s
    5. How RGB works
      4m 12s
    6. Single-channel grayscale
      5m 12s
    7. Mixing a custom "fourth" channel
      5m 15s
    8. The other three-channel mode: Lab
      5m 45s
    9. A practical application of Lab
      4m 55s
    10. The final color mode: CMYK
      7m 5s
    11. Introducing the Multichannel mode
      5m 56s
    12. Creating a unique multichannel effect
      5m 18s
  3. 44m 27s
    1. The alpha channel is home to the mask
      1m 40s
    2. The origins of the alpha channel
      3m 40s
    3. How a mask works
      7m 10s
    4. Making an alpha channel
      4m 2s
    5. Using the new channel icons
      6m 27s
    6. Saving an image with alpha channels
      4m 23s
    7. Loading a selection from a channel
      4m 7s
    8. Putting a mask into play
      3m 55s
    9. Loading a selection from a layer
      4m 27s
    10. Loading a selection from another image
      4m 36s
  4. 1h 0m
    1. The mask meets the composition
      1m 8s
    2. Viewing a mask as a rubylith overlay
      6m 13s
    3. Changing a mask's overlay color
      5m 34s
    4. Painting inside a mask
      6m 3s
    5. Cleaning up and confirming
      5m 18s
    6. Combining masks
      5m 10s
    7. Painting behind and inside a layer
      5m 27s
    8. Blending image elements
      6m 1s
    9. What to do when layers go wrong
      6m 3s
    10. Hiding layer effects with a mask
      4m 22s
    11. Introducing clipping masks
      5m 29s
    12. Unclipping and masking a shadow
      3m 50s
  5. 1h 35m
    1. The seven selection soldiers
      52s
    2. The marquee tools
      6m 31s
    3. The single-pixel tools (plus tool tricks)
      6m 48s
    4. Turning a destructive edit into a layer
      5m 34s
    5. Making shapes of specific sizes
      7m 7s
    6. The lasso tools
      5m 49s
    7. Working with the Magnetic Lasso tool
      7m 19s
    8. The Quick Selection tool
      8m 13s
    9. Combining Quick Selection and Smudge
      4m 52s
    10. The Magic Wand and the Tolerance value
      6m 55s
    11. Contiguous and Anti-aliased selections
      6m 58s
    12. Making a good selection with the Magic Wand
      6m 34s
    13. Selecting and replacing a background
      6m 55s
    14. Resolving edges with layer effects
      7m 52s
    15. Adding lines of brilliant gold type
      7m 28s
  6. 1h 11m
    1. Selections reign supreme
      55s
    2. Introducing "selection calculations"
      4m 19s
    3. Combining two different tools
      7m 29s
    4. Selections and transparency masks
      5m 17s
    5. Selecting an eye
      7m 1s
    6. Masking and blending a texture into skin
      5m 1s
    7. Painting a texture into an eye
      4m 19s
    8. Combining layers, masks, channels, and paths
      4m 54s
    9. Moving selection outlines vs. selected pixels
      5m 36s
    10. Transforming and warping a selection outline
      7m 45s
    11. Pasting an image inside a selection
      7m 26s
    12. Adding volumetric shadows and highlights
      6m 54s
    13. Converting an image into a mask
      4m 42s
  7. 1h 5m
    1. The best selection tools are commands
      1m 5s
    2. Introducing the Color Range command
      5m 59s
    3. Working in the Color Range dialog box
      7m 7s
    4. Primary colors and luminance ranges
      4m 12s
    5. A terrific use for Color Range
      4m 57s
    6. Introducing the Quick Mask mode
      7m 43s
    7. Moving a selection into a new background
      5m 43s
    8. Smoothing the mask, recreating the corners
      8m 43s
    9. Integrating foreground and background
      4m 44s
    10. Creating a cast shadow from a layer
      2m 51s
    11. Releasing and masking layer effects
      3m 11s
    12. Creating a synthetic rainbow effect
      4m 30s
    13. Masking and compositing your rainbow
      4m 46s
  8. 1h 17m
    1. The ultimate in masking automation
      1m 6s
    2. Introducing the Refine Mask command
      6m 58s
    3. Automated edge detection
      8m 23s
    4. Turning garbage into gold
      6m 19s
    5. Starting with an accurate selection
      7m 11s
    6. Selection outline in, layer mask out
      7m 48s
    7. Matching a scene with Smart Filters
      4m 29s
    8. Cooling a face, reflecting inside eyes
      4m 45s
    9. Creating a layer of ghoulish skin
      4m 28s
    10. Adding dark circles around the eyes
      5m 20s
    11. Creating a fake blood effect
      5m 38s
    12. Establishing trails of blood
      7m 40s
    13. Integrating the blood into the scene
      7m 3s
  9. 1h 48m
    1. Using the image to select itself
      1m 37s
    2. Choosing the ideal base channel
      5m 7s
    3. Converting a channel into a mask
      6m 34s
    4. Painting with the Overlay mode
      7m 27s
    5. Painting with the Soft Light mode
      5m 55s
    6. Mask, composite, refine, and blend
      4m 40s
    7. Creating a more aggressive mask
      7m 2s
    8. Blending differently masked layers
      7m 0s
    9. Creating a hair-only mask
      6m 0s
    10. Using history to regain a lost mask
      3m 42s
    11. Separating flesh tones from hair
      8m 28s
    12. Adjusting a model's color temperature
      4m 30s
    13. Introducing the Calculations command
      7m 22s
    14. Extracting a mask from a Smart Object
      6m 34s
    15. Integrating a bird into a new sky
      5m 40s
    16. Creating synthetic rays of light
      6m 4s
    17. Masking and compositing light
      7m 39s
    18. Introducing a brilliant light source
      7m 5s
  10. 1h 34m
    1. The synthesis of masking and compositing
      1m 36s
    2. White reveals, black conceals
      6m 45s
    3. Layer masking tips and tricks
      5m 8s
    4. Generating a layer mask with Color Range
      5m 38s
    5. The Masks panel's bad options
      5m 18s
    6. The Masks panel's good options
      3m 50s
    7. Creating and feathering a vector mask
      3m 42s
    8. Combining pixel and vector masks
      3m 50s
    9. Working with path outlines
      7m 10s
    10. Combining paths into a single vector mask
      7m 52s
    11. Sharpening detail, reducing color noise
      4m 27s
    12. Recreating missing details
      8m 49s
    13. Masking glass
      5m 50s
    14. Refining a jagged Magic Wand mask
      5m 53s
    15. Masking multiple layers at one time
      5m 15s
    16. Establishing a knockout layer
      6m 6s
    17. Clipping and compositing tricks
      7m 37s
  11. 1m 17s
    1. Next steps
      1m 17s

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