Channels are very similar to layers, however, each layer corresponds with a particular level in the color model of the image (RGB, HSV or CMYK). Channels can be selected in any combination, and are shaded gray if currently active. You can also view and edit the channels separately, making changes to a single color while viewing the full-color image in your image window. Choosing what channels to display is done the same way as choosing what layers to display. Simply click the box next to it, and an eye will appear, indicating that the channel is displayed. Keep in mind, a channel can still be edited even if it is not displayed. This can lead to problems if you don't catch it early, and may require undoing a large number of edits to fix.

At the time of this writing, GIMP only supports the RGB (Red, Blue, Green) and the HSV (Hue, Saturation, Value) representation of the color model. CMYK isn't natively supported by GIMP, but a plug in giving some functionality is available at the website below.

The GIMP also supports the adding of custom channels allowing for even more advanced editing.

Layers · Decompose

Layers · GIMP · Decompose