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Learn Photography

Photoshop Elements > Layers >

Separate RGB Channel Layers >

1 - Introduction

Photoshop Elements doesn't have a Channel Mixer.

In Photoshop, the Channel Mixer is used to access each of three color channels, red, green, and blue.

However, with Photoshop Elements, you can create red, green, and blue channel layers.

Here's what they look like.




Green Channel Layer


Red Channel Layer


Blue Channel Layer

Note how the skin tone, pink cuff, and the yellow note pad, change from channel to channel.

What Are They Good For?

Red Channel - Contrast

The red channel is often called the Contrast Channel.

This channel is usually the brightest channel with the most contrast.

You can often use this channel for making a selection.

Green Channel - Detail

The green channel is often called the Detail Channel.

This channel is usually looks more like a B&W version of the photograph than the other channels.

That's because this channel usually has the most image information.

The human visual system is most sensitive to green.

Therefore, there are twice as many green photosites on a camera sensor, compared to red and blue photosites.

This channel is often used when making a color to B&W conversion.

Blue Channel - Noise

The blue channel is often called the Noise Channel.

This channel is usually the darkest, and contains the most noise.

Thus, noise reduction techniques are often applied to this channel.

Make Separate

Red, Green, & Blue Channels

The following sections were adapted from a tutorial by Richard Lynch, author of the Hidden Power of Photoshop Elements.

But first, have a look at Elements+.

It may do what you want to do with less work.

There are a lot of steps below!

2 - Make a Red Channel

3 - Make a Green Channel

4 - Make a Blue Channel

• To restore the separate color channels back to color, go to 5 - Recombine RGB Channel Layers to Color.

Separate Luminosity & Color Layers

You can also separate the luminosity information and color information.

Go to Separate Luminosity & Color Layers.