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Adobe Photoshop Unmasked: The Art and Science of Selections, Layers, and Paths by Nigel French

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Chapter 6. Channel Masking

Some images defy even the most dexterous use of the Pen tool, the most subtle choking of a layer mask, the most stealthy use of adjustment layers. You know the type of image I’m talking about: the woman with the frizzy hair, the flower arrangement with the seemingly infinite number of detailed edges, the dog or cat with the wispy fur. For such images we need a different approach: a channel mask.

The premise of channel masking is the same as that for “selecting” with adjustment layers: somewhere in your image is a built-in mask waiting to be teased out. For a channel mask the clues are in the color channels. The process involves copying whichever color channel has the most contrast between subject and background. This ...

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