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Feb 06

Photoshop Color Replacement Tool

2006 at 09.08 am posted by Veerle Pieters

Photoshop Color Replacement ToolSome tools don’t get enough attention, this tool might be one of them. You could compare it somehow with the Healing Brush, although there is a difference. This tool works like a regular paint brush, it manipulates the color on your image while the underlying texture stays unaffected. Because of this, you can apply a color change in a more precision way.

If you select the tool in the Toolbox, you'll get to see the various options in the Options bar like different Modes to work with in which the Replace Color Tool can be applied: Hue, Saturation, Color and Luminosity. The Hue will apply the replacement in the most subtle way, while the Color mode might result is a far too vibrant effect.

Sampling determines the source for the color replacement. "Continuous" means you will be continuously sampling as you go. "Background Swatch" uses the background swatch as a pre-defined sample color. Only areas containing the current background color will be replaced. "Once" will replace the targeted color only in areas containing the color that you've first clicked.

You also have Limits options. "Contiguous" will replace colors that are contiguous with the color immediately under the pointer "Discontinuous" will replace the sample color under the pointer wherever you go. "Find Edges" will replace connected areas containing the sampled color while preserving the sharpness of the shape edges.

The Tolerance is a bit like with other tools, the higher the percentage the broader the range and the more colors will be replaced. Check the antialiasing option to get softer edges, although it could give you a less precise result. You can use the "Find Edges" options to limit the antialiasing.

The foreground color will be used as your new color that will replace the unwanted color.

Before and after

Compare both 'before' and 'after' effect

This is what I did:

  • choose the "Once" option for the more dangerous areas and the "Continuous" for the safer areas
  • used the "Hue" mode for a more subtle replacement (the others will create pretty drastic results)
  • used the "Color" mode in combination with a less vibrant color to enhance the pink color of the shirt
  • used the "Background Swatch" sampling option to resolve the grey areas

Experimenting with different modes and colors - Fixing the grey areas using the Sampling Background Swatch

Want to learn more?

VECTORTUTS+ Vector Tutorials and More A good and not expensive source to learn more about Illustrator, Photoshop, or web design is by joining the Tuts+ sites. You get access to the source files for just $9 a month. So your ONE membership gives you access to members-only content for ALL the Plus sites. I've written a tutorial for the Vector Tuts section.




permalink this comment AkaXakA Sun Mar 5, 2006 at 04.26 pm

Tried this myself the other day (though as your journal was offline at the time, I had to do it from memory) - and ehm, I need practice :)



permalink this comment JohnXarc Mon Mar 6, 2006 at 06.49 am

Thanks for the tips, much appreciated.

Nice and simple.

Love the site. You’re getting rave reviews in Ireland, by the way.



permalink this comment muha Wed Mar 8, 2006 at 12.24 am

i tried myself but i couldn’t



permalink this comment Dann Winter Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 08.08 pm

I think you must be especific in each step cause there are newbies that don´t understand it.



permalink this comment Clark MacLeod Tue Mar 14, 2006 at 08.32 pm

You are using CS2 I guess?



permalink this comment Silus Tue Mar 28, 2006 at 01.55 am

I always wondered how those options worked, thanks!

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