Jul
4

Cutouts in Photoshop using the Colour Channels

by
Matt Bennett

There are many ways to cut out objects in Photoshop, but none are simpler then this.

Start
Start

There are many ways to cut out objects in Photoshop, but none are simpler then this.

Using the Colour Channels tool we’ll reveal just how easy it is to select an area to cut out. You should note that this method of won’t work with every subject. Use it on images with a clear contrast or colour difference between subjects.

For this tutorial you will need a copy of Photoshop and two starting images.

Step 1 – Channels

Step 1 - Channels
Step 1 - Channels

Open the starting image, go Windows>Channels and select the Blue Channel and Duplicate it. By default it will be named Blue Copy Layer. Next go to Image>Levels and create a stark contrast between the shadows and highlights. Drag the dark marker right and move the white marker left. Click OK.

Step 2 – Load section

Step 2
Step 2

Next go to Select>Load Selection and the area will automatically selected. Reselect the other Colour Channels and deselect the Blue Copy Layer. Next go to the Levels palette and double click on the background Layer to unlock it. By default it will become Layer 0.

Step 3 –  Bring in the view 

Step 3
Step 3

Hit delete and the window space will disappear. Open the image that will be the new view and drag it into the working file. It will become Layer 1. Move the Layer 1 underneath the Layer 0 in the Layers palette.

Step 4 – Rescale and burn the edges

Step 4
Step 4

If you need to rescale Layer 1 go to Edit>Transform and hold down Shift key as you adjust the size to keep the proportions in scale. Get rid of the red fringing around the edges by either going to Layer>Matting> Defringe, or alternatively use the Burn tool and dull down the edges.

TIP! Cut out hair with Channels!

Dealing with hair
Dealing with hair

Photoshop’s Channels can also be used to cut out fiddly subjects such as hair. Go about it in exactly the same way as explained in these steps and the Blue Channel again will work best.

  • Tell a Friend
  • Our Twitter provides the latest photography news and our Facebook fan page is the best place to communicate with other Digital Photographer fans.
    • Great tutorial of
      cutouts in photoshop using the Channels