How to Quickly Replace a Color on an Image in Photoshop

How to Quickly Replace a Color on an Image in Photoshop

Changing Colors in Photoshop

Obviously, there's more than one way to make pretty much anything in Photoshop, and the ways to replace a color on an image are so myriad it's almost funny. Besides replacing colors using traditional methods like adding a color layer and masking an area or playing with the Hue/Saturation layer, there is a very quick way to replace colors in Photoshop only on the specific areas that you want. ​

In Photoshop, we have the "Color Replacement Tool" available at a click of the mouse. It is a very useful tool but not perfect - and will not always work as expected - but it should be the first thing you try prior to masking and tweaking the Hue and Saturation layer when you need to replace a color on an image.

Step 1

Open your image in Photoshop.

Step 2

Click on the Foreground Color in the Tools Panel, set the color to the one you want to paint, which in this case is #edda03 and click OK.

Step 3

Click and hold over the Brush Tool and select the Color Replacement Tool (B) from the menu.

Step 4

In the top toolbar, click on the Brush Size icon and set a brush size that works best for you. In this case, I will setup mine at 70px to work more comfortable.

Step 5

Be sure to have the Mode set to "Color".

Step 6

Next, choose a Sampling method that works best for you. You may choose between "Continuous" (which will sample the color to be replaced as you go over the image), "Once" (which will sample only the color you pick from your image) or "Background Swatch" (which will use your Background color as a sample color). In this case, I will pick the "Once" sampling method.

Step 7

Under Limits, you can as well choose different methods: Contiguous, Discontiguous and Find Edges. Depending where you want to replace the colors and where the color areas that you want to replace are you may pick the one that works best for you. In this case, as the areas I will replace are close to each other, but there are some loose spots, I will choose the Discontiguous one.

Step 8

In tolerance, you must evaluate how many different tone shadows you have on your image on that area you want to replace the color. If it is a very plain color area, the tolence can be set as low as 5% but if you have a medium tone variation (with subtle light and shadow variation), it is reccomended to set the tolerance between 30-40% like in this case.

Step 9

With the brush already set, it is time to paint over the image. Now, with the Color Replacement Tool still selected, click and drag over the color you want to replace to paint as you normally do. Note: the initial click (before dragging) is the color that will be sampled.

Step 10

Keep painting until you cover all the areas that you want to replace the color.

Step 11

If you note that you can't paint on some areas, that is due the color sampling and the tolerance. As you see, there are areas of the left part of the house that was not painted, to solve that, simply click and drag over any other pixel of that area and keep painting.


The Color Replacement Tool is not perfect, but it can for sure save you a lot of time depending on how detailed the color replacement you need should be, the final image size, etc. It could be a great tool if you want to have a closer idea on how a color will look on certain areas without having to change the Hue/Saturation to match the color you want, you simply set a foreground color and paint. In the following example, you can see how you can use different colors simply by changing the Foreground color to the one you want to paint.



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