Using channels in Photoshop to extract transparent smoke

While blend modes and masking are excellent compositing options, there are times when the luminance information needs to be extracted from an image. This can often best be done via channels as opposed to trying to make complex selections within layers.

TIMELINE

0:00 – Introduction

1:30 – Separating smoke from a black background

  • Using curves to make near black colours a solid black.
  • Extracting luminance information from the Composite, Red, Green or Blue channels.
  • Converting a channel selection into a layer containing transparency.

7:57 – Creating the composition

  • Smart Objects
  • Free Transform
  • Masking

ORIGINAL IMAGES

Dancer: https://unsplash.com/photos/POd35V_uE4k (David Hofmann at unsplash.com)
Smoke 1: https://unsplash.com/photos/TIYZFa_831w (Daniel Thurler at unsplash.com)
Smoke 2: https://unsplash.com/photos/l9H7FkGjpAE (Daniele Levis Pelusi at unsplash.com)


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