Photoshop: Channel Painting Basics

Uploaded by fxmah on 16.03.2010


okay, i want to go over some basics
of channel painting I have two layers here: a white layer
and a black layer

ok, if I switch over to the channels, here
and I'm going to... just
turn on the red channel and switch over
to the gradient tool
and select a black to white gradient
and just draw into the red channel
this is the result I go from
black to red where the gradient is white, I am adding
red to the overall color, which is
the combination of the red, green, and blue
now, if I switch over to the
white layer, and do the same thing
with the red apply the black to white gradient
now you'll see
I've gone from cyan to white
now, what happens here is that
this gradient is black, these values are being
subtracted from the overall white "color"
it takes all
three channels with the same value
with the same grayscale value of 255
to create white and as this gradient moves
from 255
as black is applied these values are being subtracted from white
and the resultant color is cyan
now, let me undo this
I'll go back and ... undo this
if I do the same thing on the green channel
in the black layer
with the green channel, apply
the gradient I will go from black to green
and there we have it from black to green
and if I switch over to the white, I am going to get
the secondary colors
because, as you subtract
from white
in the green channel the resultant colors are the magentas
you go from the primary to the secondary color
primary here being green secondary being magenta
on the red channel: the primary is red and the
secondary is cyan and on the blue channel the secondary is
going to be yellow and
that's how channel painting works
you're changing the values of the
grayscales for each channel to create
a colorization
ok, let's go back to the beginning here we're going to here
and we're going to create a new layer turn these off
I need to fill this layer with
something, so I just fill it with black [ channels are related to masks! ]
and switch over to the channels panel
and using the same gradient
and for each one of these channels
draw one this way go down to the
green draw one this way... go to the blue
and do a diagonal... like this
and we end up with this...
really wonderful...
gradient of colors and they're all here: red,
yellow, green, cyan, blue, magenta

you can use this for overlays or other kinds of colorizations
and there is
no easier way to get this effect

[ setting up the demo ]
what i want to do is colorize this image, posterize it actually
by drawing into the
channels and for
the first one, I want the magentas here, so I'm going to go into
the green channel and draw a gradient
I'm going to pick the black to white gradient
(black to white)
and I'm going to change the mode to
hard light
and, I will start in this corner and move up
in this direction I want about that much of the corner
in magenta
and there you have
the magentas coming up in here
ok for
this corner over here, I want kind of yellows so I'm going to go
to the blue channel and draw
a gradient up through here
and then I'll go to the red channel and I'll draw a gradient
just from about here and down

When I use the hard light mode to paint this over
it really doesn't destroy all the
information in the grayscale

[ duplicating the original from another document into the current document ]

... bring in a copy of the original switch over to hard light

since I want to posterize this a little, I'll go
in to adjust the levels, and I'll bring this
up some, take the darks down
just a hair
and.... move this to the right
and that's all you need to do
for this getting this
illustrated look, and
it's been colorized in the corners like that it's a very simple little
when you try this out with your own projects, feel free
to experiment with the layer blending modes
for the
original that you overlay
you can use the
fill or the opacity to adjust how much gets
back in
but I find usually that hard light works
the best...
also in photoshop
this is not the only way to
obtain this effect there are other ways
of blending colors like that, for example
If we turn this back to normal
and adjust the levels
and we overlay with our
and we can set this

and it's almost the same effect
we can intensify the effect here by adding a levels
adjustment, like this

and, basically
you end up with the same sort of thing