Have you ever wanted to change the color of something in a photograph? If you’ve been involved with graphic design or photography for a while, I’m sure this task has crossed your mind at least once or twice. Changing the color of the clothes people are wearing, the color of cars, bicycles, houses, you name it – there are tons of different reasons you might want to do something like this.
The process for accomplishing this task is actually very simple. The trick is getting it to look as natural as possible and that’s going to take the preservation of the original color saturation as well as the luminance. If these two things aren’t preserved, then you’re going to end up with something that looks more fake than anything else. And no one wants that.
The process goes like this; select the object in the photo that you’d like to change the color of using one of the many selection tools in Adobe Photoshop. Then, create a new layer in the Layers panel. Be sure to make that new layer active by clicking on it. Then, right click inside of the selection in the work area while still using the selection tool you used previously. When the menu appears, select the Fill option. Then, when the Fill dialog appears, choose the Color option from the Contents drop-down. Press the OK button to accept that change. What you’ll be left with is a completely colored over selection, which is good (albeit weird looking), but it’s not finished yet.
The colored area should be in its own layer. To make it appear natural in the image, you’ll need to change the blend mode of that layer to Hue, so head up to the blending mode drop-down in the Layers panel to do that. Once that’s completed you’ll be finished. For a more thorough explanation on how to change the color of something using Photoshop, please check out my recent blog post on the topic.
Here’s a great example of this technique. The first image where the girl is wearing the blue jacket is the original and the second where she’s wearing the red jacket is the colorized one.
Do you see the way the saturation and luminance of the original has been maintained? That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
Now, there is a second method for taking care of the same task. If you wanted to create a new layer before doing anything else and then use the Brush Tool to paint your desired color over the object, you can do that as opposed to first making a selection and then filling it in. Both of these options will get you the same exact thing. They’ll apply a color over something. Then, if you’re using this second method, you can simply change the blend mode of the new colored layer to Hue and you’ll be done with it.
Do you have any other ideas for changing the colors of things using Adobe Photoshop? If so, please leave them below. Also, if you have any questions about this process, leave them below as well. Thanks!