Question: I’m having the strangest issue right now. I set up a brand new document in Adobe Photoshop because I’m going to be making a business card. I have all the text typed out and I’d like to include a selected part of a photograph on the card as well. To do this, I opened the photo in Photoshop and made the selection. I copied the selection by using the Ctrl+C keyboard shortcut, but when I paste it into the business card document by using the paste keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+V, it seems like the selected part of the image’s color is completely different. It’s shifted somewhat. I know the keyboard shortcuts aren’t important here, but I thought I’d tell you that I used them anyway. My question is basically, why does the color of a photo or graphic change when you move it from one document to another inside of Photoshop? This is super frustrating!
Answer: Okay, there may be many causes for what you’re experiencing. The trick here is to find out which one it is. First, check the opacity of your source layer or document. Is it 100% or is it less? If it’s less, that opacity value won’t carry over to the new document, which will make things look very strange. The same is true for a blending mode that you’ve applied but have forgotten about.
Next, check to see if you have any adjustment layers that you’ve applied to the layer in question. It’s easier to notice something like this if you’re dragging over the entire layer because you’ll be looking straight at the Layers panel when you go there to start the dragging, but if you’re making a selection and then copying and pasting, this is much less noticeable. Have you applied any adjustment layers to the source layer? If so, they won’t carry over, so expect some color shifting there.
What’s most likely going on is that you’ve got two separate color profiles for the two documents you’re working with When you created the business card document, Photoshop most likely set that up using an sRGB color profile. The image you’re using probably doesn’t use that profile, therefore you’re seeing color changes when you bring elements of one file over to the other.
Here’s a quick test you can use to see if this is what’s going on. Visit the Edit > Assign Profile menu item in your source document.
When the Assign Profile dialog box appears, click the Profile drop-down and change the value to the sRGB option. If you see the color change, then this is the problem.
To solve the problem you’re experiencing, you can visit the Edit > Convert to Profile menu item.
When the Convert to Profile dialog box appears, click the Intent drop-down and choose either the Perceptual or the Relative Colorimetric option. Click the OK button. That should put things in good shape. Now, when you copy from the source document and then paste into the target document, you shouldn’t see any color changes or shifting.