Change Color Like Magic

In this Photoshop Elements tutorial we will change color of a shirt from green to a blue that we pickup from a different garment in the same photo.

This technique only works if the original color and the color you're changing to are roughly the same weight. By weight I mean close in the same amount of brightness and saturation. You can not use this method to change a white or black item to a different color.Let's get started.

STEP 1
Open an image you want to change the color on.




STEP 2
Change the Foreground Color.

Let's change the green shirt on the guy with his back to us. We will match the color of the blue shorts on the woman next to him.

If you want to change it to some other color, you can double-click on the Foreground Color icon (the big square at the bottom of the Toolbox) to bring up the Color Picker.

The Color Picker gives you several options for choosing a color. You can use the slider on the vertical color bar or click inside the big color area and move the circle around to get different colors.

You can also enter HSB, RGB, or Hexadecimal values. You'll get the hang of how it works by playing around in there for awhile.

Once you get the color you want click OK and the Color Picker will close and that will be your new Foreground Color.

I want to match the blue shorts in the photo. So instead of choosing a color in the Color Picker I will use the Eyedropper tool to pickup the blue for my Foreground Color.

Select the Eyedropper tool from the Toolbox. Click with the Eyedropper on the color you want to pickup and it will become your Foreground Color as illustrated below.




STEP 3
Make a selection of the area you want to change.

Zoom in at least 200% and make a selection of whatever you want to change the color of.

In this case I want to select the green shirt. I used the Magnetic Lasso tool to get my selection close and then cleaned it up using the Polygonal Lasso tool. You can use whatever selection method you like best.

Once you have a good selection give it a slight Feather so the transition to the surrounding areas is not too harsh.

Go up to the Select menu and choose Feather… to open the Feather Dialog window. The amount of Feather radius you choose depends on the size of your photo. Usually somewhere between 0.5 to 2.0 pixels works well. I gave my selection a 1.0 pixel Feather.




STEP 4
Create a Solid Color Fill layer.

In the Layers palette create a Solid Color Fill adjustment layer by clicking on the half white/half black circle. Choose the top item called Solid Color…

The new Layer will appear at the top of the Layers palette with a Layer Mask representing the area we selected in white.

Your photo will now appear to have a blob of the Foreground Color over the area you selected.

What do you mean you don't like the results? I said we would change color and we did! Just kidding, don't worry, it's only temporary. We're going to fix it next.

Go to your Layers palette again. Make sure your new Solid Color Fill layer is active by clicking on it. Now click and hold on the box that says Normal to reveal the list of Blend Modes.

Go way down near the bottom of the list and choose Color for the Blend Mode. Presto! all the detail comes through in your image.

Here's a look at the before and after:

That wraps up this Photoshop Elements tutorial on how to change color. Click on the following link for lots more tutorials. Photoshop Elements Tutorials

Until next time,
Rick

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