How to use custom shapes with Photoshop channels tutorial

How to use Photoshop custom shapes with the powerful channels (red and green and blue) to create amazing color effects in CC 2017 2015 CS6 CS5 etc

Channels and Photoshop custom shapes

color channels and Photoshop custom shapesApply a Photoshop shape as a 'fill pixels' option to one channel, apply a shape to another color channel, combining Photoshop shapes across channels creating stunning RGB images.

1) Select the custom shape / CSH tool

2) Select color "channels" panel (from the window menu if not visible)

3) Select fill pixels (for shape) - top bar

4) Select one of the channels only (say RED)

5) Apply current selected artwork to RED channel

6) Select green channel

7) Apply current selected artwork (you don't have to use the same artwork), perhaps offset from red design (or smaller or apply effect as well)

8) Click RGB on channel panel to return to standard RGB view.


There are also many other features of using the color channels with the Photoshop custom shapes such as splitting the channels and merging etc


You can use the color channels to create some really weird and wonderful designs, I must admit it is a pity that not more of the features of Photoshop use this and split the channels within the effect plugin dialog (as is generally available in the wonderful Adobe After Effects) and my Andrew's Photoshop plugins / filters


You can use the custom shapes supplied with Photoshop as with sets available on the site such as twirl custom shapes and torus custom shapes and swirl custom shapes and tribal custom shapes


different overlap for the color channels in Photoshop custom shapes flower

Using different image modes and channels

You can also use the RGB channels (as well as LAB channels and CMYK channels etc) to use visual effects to each channel in turn. The vector CSH artworks can be added just as easily to the Lightness and a and B channels of LAB Image mode as well as the cyan and magenta channels etc of the CMYK image mode.


You don't have to use all the channels either, you can use the Lightness only and ignore the AB ones.


cats spread across custom shapes and color channels


Split channels for the custom shapes in Photoshop

You can add the artworks to the the various channels via the the panel but you can also work with them split into individual files for the red and green and blue channels. You can split them into individual files via the right side menu. The only thing, the split does not add the files as RGB etc but adds them as grayscale which is of little use if you wish to use the artworks with various effects that can only be used in RGB etc (and will not work in grayscale). You can resolve that by going to each of the red and green etc (or cyan and magenta) and changing the image mode to RGB via the image menu and then adding the effects and additional vector paths to the artwork (the advantage of the split is also that you can then use them as layers instead of just pixels and then you can add styles into the mix).


You can then use the merge feature (right side of the panel) by selecting the mode (RGB etc) and number and then select which file is used with each channel in the merge. You can, of course, also add to the RGB as well as the red and green etc




Youtube Video Tutorial

A quick video showing some uses of the Photoshop shapes and channels [Youtube]


cats again


text across channel photoshop