4

Is there a way in Photoshop to use a channel (for example red or Lab luminosity) as a mask for a layer?

5

Yes, two ways I know of:

  • Go to the channels palette.
  • Select the channel you want.

    enter image description here

  • Ctrl-click (Cmd-Click on a Mac), to copy the channel.
  • Then go back to your layer and add your mask

    enter image description here

or

  • create a blank, white mask on your layer
  • make sure the mask is selected
  • go to Image > Apply Image

    enter image description here

  • select the channel you want from the channel dropdown

  • click ok

I use a red mask when doing skin softening, because skin will show up light in the red channel. I describe this in my answer to this question: What is the best techinque to smooth skin?

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