I am working with a third party model and need to change the specular map. The model material is using the spec map's alpha channel information. I have opened the spec map in Photoshop and if I go to the Channels tab I can see the Alpha 1 channel with the alpha information that I need to change.

What I would like to do is make a copy of this original and drag it into the Layers tab, so that I can revert back to this if need be. I can then duplicate this again and paint over it to create the new alpha map. Once done I can then copy and paste it as the new alpha channel, keeping the original preserved in the Layers tab.

The problem is how do I get the Alpha 1 channel into the Layers tab to make the edits? I cannot click and drag it there; and if I do Select All, Copy and Paste into a new layer nothing is pasted. How can this be done?

If I'm not using the best workflow for editing an existing specular map please suggest an alternative way. I basically just want to edit the alpha channel but keep the original as well.


1 Answer 1


I have managed to work this out. It is actually quite a strange process:

1) Go to the Channels tab

2) Hide all the Channels except Alpha 1

3) Do Select All to highlight the entire canvas

4) Select the Alpha 1 channel only

5) Edit > Copy

6) Go to the Layers tab and create a new blank Layer

7) This will hide the Alpha 1 channel and show the other channels

8) Go back to the Channels tab and again hide all the Channels except Alpha 1

9) Back in the Layers tab select the new empty layer and do Select All to highlight the entire canvas

10) Edit > Paste

This will basically convert the Alpha 1 from a channel into a layer. So now you can duplicate this Alpha 1 Layer and preserve it. You can also use any of Photoshop's tools to edit it into a new spec map. Once you're done, copy and paste the new spec map back into the Alpha 1 Channel to override the existing alpha with the new one. Hopefully this helps someone.


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