A Good Mix Channels Example

Mix Channels

In a recent post, I mentioned that the Color Contrast feature gets overlooked.   On the other hand, I think the Mix Channels function gets misunderstood.  Many editors have this feature.  It can be very useful but the usefulness of it sometimes gets overlooked.  I have a video tutorial on it here:

And here (Part II, which is shorter but has some advanced examples)

Here is an example I came up with that I think shows how useful mixing channels can be.  First, here is the original image:

Original Image

Original Image

After using the mix channels, here is the result:

Image After using Mix Channels

Image After using Mix Channels

As you can see, this image is quite different!  The image was Auto Balanced to brighten it a little. Then, after the Mix Channels was used, the Undo Brush was then used to only put back the skin.  As I’ve mentioned before, to really get spectacular images, it’s important to use multiple functions, and the Undo Brush is a must in order to really bring out some areas and subdue others.  But, the real star in this instance is the Mix Channels, helped along with the Undo Brush to isolate only the areas we wanted to keep (the hair, lipstick, and paint).

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2 thoughts on “A Good Mix Channels Example

    • That hits a chord with me, because I’ve dealt with the same issue. I believe I may know why that happens, at least in a lot of cases (and in my particular experience).

      This may not be what is happening with your editing, but here is one of the major things I’ve noted about this issue.

      In a lot of cases, when you add skin tone, the entire image ends getting the same ‘tone’, which then is effectively a cast. Also, we can make anything an off-color, too saturated, tinted, whatever — except for skin. It pretty much has to be just right or the picture looks off.

      When I add tone to skin, I bring out the tone I want and then undo everything else. For example, if I want to add red to the skin and I add a red tone to the entire picture to get the skin red, it just causes a cast that makes it look unrealistic, even if the skin tone is ok.

      If I either mask the skin first (the hard way, but easier to see direct results) and then add the color, or add the color and then undo things like the whites of the eyes, shadows, etc — everything but the skin, then it looks realistic.

      Often, though, one needs to be careful that when adding skin tone that it’s not making up for a general tone problem in the entire picture — then everything else will look off. But, that’s just general editing.

      So, that’s my take on part of it. I actually just tried an example to make sure what I’m saying makes sense, and I can see how that happens.

      Like I said, it might not be applicable to how you edit… But, if you want, it would be interesting to do a small tutorial on it with a video, because I think this a pretty interesting subject and one that probably comes up a lot.

      Rob

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