How to View Channels in Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

Like with layers, channels have their own panel in Photoshop CS6 that acts as command central for viewing, creating, and managing tasks. The first step is accessing channels by choosing Window→Channels. The Channels panel appears.

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How to view channels in Photoshop CS6 without a remote

Selecting a channel in the Channels panel automatically makes it appear in the image window. To select a channel, click the channel thumbnail or name in the panel. To select more than one channel, Shift-click. To show or hide a channel, click in the eye column in the far left of the panel. You can also drag through the column to hide or show the channels quickly.

CMYK, RGB, and Lab images have a composite channel, in addition to their individual channels. This composite channel is the combination of all the channels in the image and is named after the color mode. For example, the composite channel above is the first one, called CMYK.

How to change the default channel view in Photoshop CS6

The default setting is to view your channels in grayscale. You can, however, view them in color. To do so, choose Edit→Preferences→Interface (Photoshop→Preferences→Interface on the Mac) and select Show Channels in Color.

Although this option graphically exemplifies the way an image comprises separate color channels, it really does you no good if you want to work with your channels for editing. That’s because the color view obscures details and makes measuring the impact of adjustments and filters more difficult. You need to see the channels in their true grayscale form for that.

If you select or show more than one channel, even in the default grayscale view, the channels always appear in color.

To change the size of the thumbnail that appears, select Panel Options from the Channels panel menu. Select your desired thumbnail size. If you’re working with several channels and you have a dinosaur of a computer, you can also choose None to turn off the thumbnails — which improves performance.