Using Channels in Photoshop

Last Sunday, I gave Gimmi a despedida (Chavacano for “going-away party”), consisting of a lunch treat at McDonalds, an afternoon trip to La Vista del Mar (’s prettiest beach resort) and lots of hugging and kissing (and no crying!) afterwards.

While he’s having fun playing doctor in Dapitan for a month, I’m amusing myself by digitally manipulating the photos we took that day. (Poor, poor me. I don’t have the money to go visit him, not like last time. Someone give me money?)

I took this photo lying down with Gimmi looking down upon me. Now, that’s always a bad idea since in daylight the only light source comes from above, which means Gim’s face was bound to be darker than, um, it already is, but Gimmi knows that’s the way I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh. *cheeky grin* So, anyways, to remedy this effect, I used Photoshop to lighten up my sweetie.

First of all, in the Layers toolbar, I duplicated the background layer twice then deleted it. Now I had two layers of the same image. Then I selected the top layer. (I also clicked on the eye icon of the lower layer to hide it so it wouldn’t distract me later.)

In the Channel toolbar in Photoshop, I selected the Blue Channel. That showed the photo in grayscale, with the blue parts of the image showing up lighter than the reds and greens. (Selecting the channel doesn’t alter the image, though. It just shows you which parts of the picture are red, blue or green depending on which channel you select.)

Using the Magic Wand Tool, I was able to smoothly select the entire sky. Then I selected the RGB Channel to revert it to full color again. Then I deleted the sky. Not to worry, I still had the sky in my lower layer. Then I inverted the selection (Shift+Ctrl+I) so now I could digitally edit my Gimmi without affecting the other parts of the layer (since I needed the other parts clear of anything so the sky would show up as is from the lower layer).

There are a number of ways you can lighten up an image. But my favorite is using the Curves tool (Image Menu -> Adjustments -> Curves) since it often gives more natural looking results than other adjustment tools. I especially don’t like Autocolor or Autocontrast, they never do what they’re supposed to.

Having done that, Gimmi was now all lightened up and looking quite handsome. So I clicked again on the eye icon of the lower layer to show the sky. But there were some weird outlines around my Gimmi which I had to do away with. So I gave the top layer a bit of an outer glow (Right Click the Layer -> Blending Options), emphasizing its spread so it blended seamlessly onto the lower layer.

And there you have it. The image looks much better now. The original image is the left one, the modified image is the right one. Like I had to tell you. :-P

I dearly miss Gim. I’m trying my hardest not to cry. :-( So far I’ve only shed tears once, and that was during a phone call to Gim a few hours ago. So far, so good. Right..? :D

I hope November comes really, really fast. But thank goodness for Globe Unlimitxt. :-)


  1. lovedoo! you made me look darker! the real pic is the lighter one! hehe

    but i agree. you really are good with digital stuff.