Pick a Color in Photoshop CC

If you want to apply a specific color to your image in Photoshop CC with a painting tool, you have to be able to select that color, right? Photoshop provides you with a number of ways to select a color:

  • Click a saved color swatch in the Swatches panel.

  • Enter numeric values or drag sliders in the Color panel.

  • Click a color swatch at the bottom of the Toolbox, on the Options bar, or in the Color panel to open the Color Picker.

  • Select a sample size and specify which layers to sample in the Options bar. When set to Point Size (the default), the eyedropper samples only the one pixel directly under the cursor.

    You can set the Eyedropper to set the foreground color to an average of a 3x3 sample to avoid having one stray pixel misrepresent the area of the image you want to sample. The sample size average can be as large as 101x101 pixels. (Remember, too, that you can right-click with the Eyedropper to change the sample size without having to visit the Options bar.)

  • Specify which layers to sample in the Options bar. When working with layered documents, the Eyedropper offers a number of sampling options.

    You can elect to pick up the color on the currently active layer, the active layer and the layer immediately below it in the Layers panel, all layers, all layers except adjustment layers, and the current layer and the next pixel layer below (ignoring any adjustment layers in between).

The Eyedropper’s Options bar offers the Show Sampling Ring option. When active and the Eyedropper is in use, the Sampling Ring is a pair of concentric circles (as shown to the right in the figure).

The outer ring is neutral gray to isolate the inner ring from surrounding colors. The bottom half of the inner ring shows the current foreground color, whereas the top half shows the color over which you have dragged the cursor. If you find it distracting, disable it in the Options bar.

Use the Color Picker to define colors with precision. The Eyedropper’s Sampling Ring is visib
Use the Color Picker to define colors with precision. The Eyedropper’s Sampling Ring is visible to the right.

In both the Toolbox and the Color panel, the foreground color is shown in the swatch to the upper left, and the background swatch is partially hidden behind it. Swap the foreground and background colors by pressing the X key on your keyboard. Reset them to the default black and white by pressing the D key.

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