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Chapter 12. Channels > Understanding Alpha Channels

Understanding Alpha Channels

Alpha channels are like big storage bins for selections. Whenever you spend more than a few minutes creating a selection and there's the remotest chance that you might need it again, you should transform it into an alpha channel for safekeeping. That way it will be available for you to use again and again. And the great thing about alpha channels is that they're not limited to being just a storage device; the channels are also malleable, like modeling clay, so that you can sculpt and manipulate your selections in ways that are not possible with mere mortal selection tools. Mastering alpha channels is the mark of a true Photoshop virtuoso.

Loading and Saving Selections

If you make a selection, and then choose Select > Save Selection, Photoshop will store the selection at the bottom of the Channels palette (Figure 12.38). Go ahead and try it. Make sure the Channels palette is open, so you can see what's going on. An alpha channel is a saved selection—it's that simple (well, almost).


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