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Color Ranges and Color Channels


Color ranges and color channels are not the same thing.  A color range is a series of one or more colors that are contiguously located on the color wheel, as shown in Figure 1.  Cyan is a color range.  Yellow-green is another color range.

A color channel, as described in the Channels and Bit Depth page, contains the information that defines the color and tonal information for just one of the colors in a color model.  As seen in Figure 2, the RGB color model has three color channels; one for red, one for green and one for blue.  The red information is stored in the red channel.  The green information is stored in the green channel.  And the blue information is stored in the blue channel.  All three channels blended together create the color image.  In the Adobe Photoshop Channels panel, channels are represented as black and white masks.

When working with color channels, we are working with any pixel that has information in that channel.  When working with color ranges, we are working only with those pixels whose dominant color is in the selected range.

Color Ranges Figure 1.  Color Ranges as shown in a Color Wheel

Color Channels Figure 2.  Color Channels