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miurajiro
02-06-2008, 04:38 PM
I have a beginner question. Could you define a situation in your work or design when
it would be appropriate to use paths or channels? I guess i'm looking for a definition
and when to use either/or. For instance, i have an idea in my mind, and as you visualize how to start, you realize, oh..this needs to be done via channels, this needs to be done via paths... How do you know? Examples would be appreciated. Thanks.

TheNeverman
02-06-2008, 07:03 PM
Well, I'd say it depends on the situation of the task at hand...

Do you have some specific effects in mind? It would be easier to give answers on a case-by-case basis than a generalization of graphic design as a whole...

miurajiro
02-07-2008, 12:13 AM
Thanks for answering. I don't have a specific effect in mind. I'm trying to grasp the main concept/application behind paths/channels. I did an exercise recently where i colored in a drawing which i scanned using channels and then chose paths to fill each section with different brush types and colors. So, i think the main purpose of using paths is to select a particular portion of a drawing or pic to edit/colorize and mask into a separate layer. I don't understand fully why channels were used in the beginning of the exercise. I think i have a temporary brain freeze. ;)

evanfotis
02-07-2008, 01:38 PM
paths give you the vector editing advantage. they are more accurate, and you can easily alter their shape.

Masks/channels have the bitmap advantage.
Gradiations, textures, hand drawing effects.

suztv
02-07-2008, 02:48 PM
paths give you the vector editing advantage. they are more accurate, and you can easily alter their shape.

Masks/channels have the bitmap advantage.
Gradiations, textures, hand drawing effects.

I agree. Paths/Shapes are great for when you need something scalable - just like in Illustrator you make that Path as big as you want without loss of quality. Channels and masks are great for getting that soft edge or gradient that you need. However - I do tend to use both interchangeably. I usually create masks with channels but often use the path to create alpha channels (ctrl-click the path, select the channel palette, click on the "new alpha channel" at the bottm) or as the base for an alpha channel or spot color channel. I also use channels to create highlight and shadow layers - something that cannot be done with a path - but I do use paths to create the initial selection area though.

I think that when you start working on something you should primarily focus on the end result and how you would achieve it. Photoshop is primarily a rastor program but if elements you are going to create in that image need to be scalable, paths might be a good starting point (of course let's not forget that smart objects open up a whole new world).

Paths/Shapes - vector, scalable, easily changed, several paths on one path layer, use for selecting parts of an image

Channels - rastor, soft edges, gradients, highlights, shadows, spot color, alpha transparency (TGA), color correction (there are tons of tutorials that speak to this), use for selecting parts or color of an image

Both can be used to create layer masks and both can be used as layer masks at the same time.

miurajiro
02-08-2008, 05:50 PM
This is VERY helpful. Thanks.
Any other thoughts that come to mind with how you use
channels/paths?

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