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Color Channels

Like selections and masks, color channels are represented as greyscale bitmaps. White pixels in one of the channels represent full intensity in the channel; for example, a white pixel in the Red channel’s bitmap represents full-intensity red. Black pixels represent no intensity—a black pixel in the Red channel’s bitmap represents no red at all. Colors in digital images are produced by combining the greyscale bitmaps that make up the separate color channels.

The RGB Color Model

The Red-Green-Blue (RGB) color model is the one typically used for images for display on a video screen, such as Web graphics. Under the RGB color model, a 24-bit image is a composite of three channels: one Red channel, one Green channel, and one Blue channel. You can take a look at each of the three channels of an image separately by choosing Image > Split Channel > Split to RGB to split the image into its RGB channels. Figure 5.11 shows an image along with its three RGB channels.


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