Have you found yourself needing to create a selection that you can use in an application outside of Adobe Photoshop CC 2017, like Flash or PowerPoint? How can you make one? In this video, Richard Harrington walks through how to save a selection in Photoshop as an alpha channel so it can be used elsewhere.
- There are many reasons to save an alpha channel. If you're creating graphics for use in other applications, or maybe in a video project, an alpha channel can store transparency so the graphic can be composited over another source. Well, in order to generate that alpha channel there's a few things you need to know. And even if you're just looking at this photographically it's still useful to know how to store an alpha channel. Let's open up two documents here, and I want you to take a look at what's happening.
In this particular case, I've got a logo, and if I command click on that logo, it makes a selection, and that's great. If I go over to channels, I can simply click the new button here to save the selection as a channel, and you'll notice that it creates an alpha channel that will cut out the areas. The black area is going to be the full graphic, and where it's white it'll read as transparency. But sometimes that doesn't work. If you add things like layer styles to an image where there's a drop shadow, command clicking doesn't actually work.
Now if you were to try to create that channel again, you'll notice that it doesn't respect the drop shadow. That's because layer styles don't actually create pixels in the channel data; they're applied after the fact. The way around this is to take advantage of a couple of things. Now, one of the things you can do is right click on the layer, and convert that to a smart object. If you do, and you command click, you'll see now that it properly selects those pixels.
Switching over to channels and clicking the save selection as channel button does make a new alpha channel, but this one actually did read the data in from that soft transparency. This is an easy way to work around that. Now in the future, if you needed to and you wanted to adjust those layer styles, just double click on the smart object to step inside. You can now easily modify properties such as the bevel. Close, close and save, and it will properly update.
All right, that works quite well and that's an easy way to generate a proper alpha channel. Any selection can be saved as an alpha with the save selection as alpha command at the bottom of the channel's panel.
- What are selections?
- Creating masks from selections
- Moving a selection
- Selecting with the Quick Selection tool
- Transforming a selection
- Using the Refine Edge command
- Selecting a color or tonal range throughout the image
- Making a selection with the Pen tool
- Saving a selection as an alpha channel
- Creating a selection from multiple channels with the Calculations command