How to use channels with Photoshop shapes tutorial

How to use Photoshop custom shapes with the powerful channels (red and green and blue) to create amazing color effects in CC 2018 2017 2015 CS6 CS5 etc.

Custom shapes and Photoshop color channels

how to use color channels and Photoshop custom shapes
  1. Select the custom shape / CSH tool

  2. Select color "channels" panel (from the Photoshop 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

  6. Select green

  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 in Photoshop


Tutorial on the subject by (youtube)


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Apply to the red or green : You can apply custom shapes to the red or the green or the blue entry in the panel.


You can apply to only a single red or green etc, you don't have to fill the blue etc.


You can apply the artwork in different colors and to different positions as well as combine with different effects if available via the filter menu.


You can apply the design once or multiple times. You can also add brush strokes to the artwork.


To change channels (no remote needed) select the required red or green etc and then apply the artwork in the current color


Using other modes : labThe vector CSH artworks can be added just as easily to the Lightness and A and B of LAB Image mode as well as the cyan and magenta etc of the CMYK image mode.


You can use the Lightness only and ignore the AB ones if you wish. This is not a tutorial about the LAB mode so the benefits of each mode is best left to another tutorial.


You can use the LAB mode for all kind of vibrant color effects to your graphics.


Split command : There are sometimes situations when you wish to apply an effect to a design but that effect is not available in just the red or green or blue and in that situation, the easiest approach is to use the split command.


You can split them into individual files via the right side menu of the panel.


The split command 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. Once you are finished in the split mode, you can use the merge command to return them to before


Why use the split mode ?

mergeIf you try and use the panel with the layers (and not pixels) then you cannot. If you split them into normal files then you can use the artworks as layers and paths as well as just using the designs in pixel mode.


Using them as a layer means you can add styles to the artworks as well as gradients and shadows and patterns and much more. You can use the artwork in the red and you can use the artwork in a different way in the green and as a layer. In the red, you can use the shadow in one direction. In the green you can use the shadow in a different direction and so on. The split mode is super useful in that way. Again, once you are happy with the results then use the merge command to return the designs back to a single RGB file.


Using them in split mode is also useful with effects as well as there are some effects that cannot be used in the standard red or green etc but if you want to use them in that mode, you can get around that limitation using this approach.


There is one limitation, to use the merge you still have to lose the color and return the art to grayscale


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