Skip to main content

Channels and Channel Mixer

Lesson 36 from: Fine Art Conceptual Photography from Shoot through Post-Processing

Bella Kotak, Pratik Naik

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

36. Channels and Channel Mixer


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Artistic Vision and Inspiration


Personal Projects


Creative Motivation and Defining Your Story


Organizing Your Inspiration


Building A Character


Creating Wardrobe and Props


Location Scouting


Lesson Info

Channels and Channel Mixer

I feel like her skin is a little bit too red, so I'm going to show you one more color adjustment- Yes. That I quite like. Show as much as you like. Okay. Since you asked so nicely. You didn't ask, I just told you, what I was going to do. (laughs) So we're going to go to channel mixer. Again, color adjustment- oh wait, hang on. Sorry. I made a mistake. I forgot that should be selected. There we go. Top of the layer. Top of the layer. Always work systematically. Okay, we're going to click on here, scroll down to channel mixer. And do you want to tell us what channel mixer does very quickly? Yeah, so basically it's kind of like when you saw the curves and how they work when we're adjusting red influence and green influence and so forth. These have a little bit more to adjust. So if you're not familiar with what channels are, basically channels are located here, window channel. And every image is made up or red, green, and blue. In the sense where, if you click on the blue ch...

annel, and I just keep that on, it shows you where most of the blues of the images are hiding by being highlighted. So there's a lot of blue in the skin, as well as greens and reds. And they stack on top of each other to create that white, or beige skin tone. Now where it's dark, it's saying that there's not a lot of blue, in those regions. Same thing for green. If I keep that on, there's not a lot of green, because the bush was red. But if I click on red, you see there's a lot. It's white, showing you that most of the reds are in that area. That's what a channel is, really quickly. Now, let me go back and actually reset that really quick. R-G-B, turn that off. So a channel mixer does something very similar. If I start adjusting the red in the red channel, it basically adds more reds in the red channel. So you saw in the red channel, there was a lot of reds in the flowers. So it adds more reds in those flowers. If I pushed greens, it would add more greens in the flowers and everywhere that was red. So it shifts the dynamic of the image, but also it has different presets. You can do different black and whites based on those channels. So you saw the blue filter. We saw the red filter, and there again with the red filter there's a bunch of red over here, which is why it's white. So that's kind of what that is. Thanks. It's especially very good to know, because I noticed immediately that there was too much red on the skin. And this is just a way of- if you don't know- if your eye can't see it, this is a great way for the program to tell you, "this is where all the reds are." because sometimes when you're looking at color for so long, half the time, you can't tell what you're looking at. Am I the only one? Yeah, exactly. When you're looking at color for too long, at some point, they all start merging into one. And you're like, "is it too red? Is it too blue? I don't even know anymore." And that's when, I would say get up and walk away, and come back with fresh eyes. But this is a very quick and easy way for the program itself to tell you that, yeah, you've got a lot of red in her skin, and you might want to work on that. And also see where your balance is across the image, in case you're red-dominant, or green-dominant, or blue-dominant. You can adjust that way. That's right. Okay, so from that point, would you say that this is just a visualizer? Yeah. Well actually, I knew that it was red-dominant, so I'm going to use channel mixer to- let's take that off and get back to where we were. Okay. So very quickly, we are going to, in the red channel, bring this down a tiny bit. And I'm going by eye hue. Were going to look at the greens, then look at the blues. And I'll turn this off and on, and see what's happening. Okay, now drop the opacity to 40% or 50 to 60%. And I feel that that's a little bit more balanced, and we're going to our greens, just a little bit to see what's going on. Add a little bit of red. The changes are so minute, it's literally like one here, two there, and there you go. Okay. I think I'm happy with that. I think that's beautiful as well. Yeah. But let's actually put these two together like this, command G. And turn these two on and off to show you where we've come. So this is the before, that we started with, which is amazing because I didn't even remember that. And then now, the after. It's really impactful. It's incredible. I'm going to hit F, for full screen. And then do that one more time, so there you go.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Practice PSD File - Sleeping Beauty
Pratik Naik Retouching Actions
The Royal Collection - Fine Art Actions
Practice PSD File - Location Shoot (~700mb)
Practice PSD File - In Studio Shoot (~1.3gb)

Ratings and Reviews


Great class and great instructors. Genuine and informative. Practical tips to create stunning images. Seeing them work through the process from shoot to finished image was great and I loved that they shared the thought processes behind the creative decisions. Definitely recommended!


Truly a remarkable duo. Bella is so down-to-earth and humble for a photographer with such a strong beautiful and ethereal voice. Her explanations of her process really inspired me--I was sketching concepts throughout the class. Pratik's process really opened my eyes to "smart" retouching--understanding what can be done in fewer brush strokes and slimmer PS files. All in all a really unique and inspiring class that makes me excited to realize my next conceptual shoot. They're also adorable together!

Mai Her

I've gained sooooo much from this I can't even contain my appreciation and excitement! So much inspiration and so much generous advice and tips to help me! Thank you so much Bella and Pratik and Creative Live!

Student Work