Selecting Colors With Calculations Command in Adobe Photoshop

Selecting colors with Calculations command in Adobe Photoshop

Although you can use Color Range command in Photoshop to select specific colors (Reds, Yellows, Skin Tones in CS6…) from Select drop-down list, sometimes you will end up with warning message: No pixels are more than 50% selected.
No pixels are more than 50% selected warning dialog in Photoshop

Solution is to use Calculations command from Image menu. Calculations dialog allows you to combine and blend channels using blending modes. Result is immediatelly visible as grayscale image (with Preview turned on) and can be saved as New Channel or loaded directly as selection on image. From Result drop-down menu in Calculations dialog you can tell to Photoshop what to do with selection. When you save selection as New Channel, load it using Ctrl + Alt + number of channel or from Select > Load Selection.

Templates, Actions, Patterns, Styles, Frames

There are some formulas how to select specific colors from this dialog. Here is the list with settings you will need to select:

Yellow dominated colors:
Source 1: file name, Layer: Background or Merged, Channel: Gray
Source 2: file name, Layer: Background or Merged, Channel: Blue
Blending: Divide
Opacity: 100%
Result: New Channel

Red dominated colors:
Source 1: file name, Layer Background or Merged, Channel: Gray
Source 2: file name, Layer: Background or Merged, Channel: Green
Blending: Divide
Opacity: 100%
Result: New Channel

Select greens/blues:
Source 1: file name, Layer Background or Merged, Channel: Green
Source 2: file name, Layer: Background or Merged, Channel: Red
Blending: Divide
Opacity: 100%
Result: New Channel

Pink/magenta areas:
Source 1: file name, Layer Background or Merged, Channel: Blue
Source 2: file name, Layer: Background or Merged, Channel: Green
Blending: Divide
Opacity: 100%
Result: New Channel

Bibliography:
The Hidden Power of Blend Modes in Adobe Photoshop

Reference:
Photoshop / Channel calculations

Product used in this tutorial: Adobe Photoshop CS6

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