How do I extract each seperate R, G & B channel into seperate layers

Posted By
Oct 17, 2005

I would like to try a different way of converting my color images into black and white and read about a method that you need to extract each seperate red, green and blue channel into it’s own layer and then you can play with each colors layer and image area that you want to work with. This is verses the old channel mixer standby. I do not know how to do this though and have been unsuccessful trying to find any info that explains this. Can anyone help me out?

Thank you in advance!

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Oct 17, 2005
Brad, hope i am not writing something that you already know.

The color channels have the same behavior as A-channels after all.

You could click on red channel (so rgb goes off), select all (control A or Command A) and copy the channel and paste it in a new layer. Do the same thing for the other 2.

(If you want to select only the white ones pixels from each channel and produce 3 layers with white pixels only above a black background, click on red channel (so rgb goes off), and then control click (command click) to select the white one pixels (try not to lose the selection area). Make a new layer and after setting as foreground color white by pressing D, go to edit/fill and chose foreground 100% normal. Do the same thing for the other 2 channels.

If you do that right, you’ll have the 3 channels on 3 layers. The rest is yours to try your tonal experiments. Use the modes from the layer palette, the opacity, just to mix up the pixels.

Hope that was helpfull
Regards, Themistoklis
Oct 17, 2005
You could make three duplicate layers (keeping the original). Name one "Red Layer", and Shift-Click on the Red channel in the Channel Palette. This will deactivate the Red Channel, leaving the other two channels active. Fill the layer with black, and return to RGB-composite (Ctrl+tilde).

Repeat similarly with the Green and Blue layers. Setting the upper two layers to Screen mode will give the same appearance as the original.
Oct 18, 2005
Depending on your version of PS, you may not be able to copy a channel to a layer, but you can go to the channel and use "define pattern" and fill a layer with the pattern. To reconstruct the original, you will need to use advanced blending and select the R, G, and B buttons appropriately.

There is another way to look at the channels as a nongreyscale image. You can duplicate the layer two times and use advanced blending to select the channels to see. (there are R, G, B toggle on/off buttons) If you select only one channel in each layer, you will need to invert the layers and add a invert adjustment layer on top of all the layers (and have a white filled layer underneith all). (If you don’t do these inversions and have selected only one channel per layer, they will look yellow, cyan, and magenta)
Oct 18, 2005
Thank you for all of your help. I think I have it figured out now due to all of your advice.

Oct 18, 2005
S’easy peasy is CS2

1 – open RGB image

2 – switch to Channel panel

3 – prod the little triangle

4 – choose split channels

5 – I used Photoshop Help > split channels

There is a method for merging channels with 3 composites automatically forming an RGB image and 4 forming a CMYK one

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