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Channel Mixer

So far, most of the adjustments we've talked about have been relatively straightforward. You usually tell Photoshop what you want to change (midtones, highlights, and so on) and then tell it what you'd like to shift them toward. But the Channel Mixer is a different beast. It forces you to think about how Photoshop works behind the scenes. The Channel Mixer lets you literally mix the contents of the channels that show up in the Channels palette (Window > Channels).

When you choose Image > Adjustments > Channel Mixer, you can choose the channel you'd like to affect from the Output Channel pop-up menu. Then you can move the Source Channels sliders to brighten or darken the output channel (Figure 11.81). Because RGB mode creates your image out of red, green, and blue light, moving sliders toward the right will add more light and therefore brighten the output channel based on the contents of the channel whose slider you moved. Moving the slider in the opposite direction will reduce the amount of light being applied to the output channel. CMYK mode creates your image out of four colors of ink, so moving a slider toward the right will add additional ink to the output channel, thereby darkening it. Moving a slider to the left in CMYK mode will lessen the amount of ink in the output channel, effectively brightening it. This might sound complicated at first, but once you see a few examples, you should start to see the simplicity behind it.


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