How to Replace One Color with Another in Photoshop Elements 14 - dummies

How to Replace One Color with Another in Photoshop Elements 14

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

Photoshop Elements has some handy tools to help you make changes to your photos. The Color Replacement tool allows you to replace the original color of an image with the foreground color. You can use this tool in a multitude of ways:

  • Colorize a grayscale image to create the look of a hand-painted photo.

  • Completely change the color of an element, or elements, in your image. Look below to see where the field of pumpkins behind the girl was painted with the Color Replacement tool using the color black.

  • Eliminate red-eye (or yellow-eye in animals) if other, more automated methods don’t work to your satisfaction.

    The Color Replacement tool replaces the color in your image with the foreground color. [Credit: &#1
    Credit: © Image #4233667
    The Color Replacement tool replaces the color in your image with the foreground color.

What is particularly nice about the Color Replacement tool is that it preserves all the tones in the image. The color that’s applied isn’t like the opaque paint that’s applied when you paint with the Brush tool. When you’re replacing color, the midtones, shadows, and highlights are retained.

The Color Replacement tool works by first sampling the original colors in the image and then replacing those colors with the foreground color. By specifying different sampling methods, limits, and Tolerance settings, you can control the range of colors that Elements replaces.

Follow these steps to replace existing color with your foreground color:

  1. In Expert mode, select the Color Replacement tool from the Tools panel.

    The tool looks like a paintbrush with a small blue square next to it. Press B to cycle through the Brush, Impressionist Brush, and Color Replacement tools. You can also select any of these tools and then choose your desired tool from the Tool Options.

  2. In the Tool Options, choose your desired brush tip from the Brush Preset Picker panel. Further adjust your brush size as needed. Then adjust the hardness, spacing, roundness, and angle under Brush Settings.

  3. Choose your desired blend mode.

    Here’s a brief rundown of each one:

    • Color: The default, this mode works well for most jobs. It will change the color without changing the brightness levels, thereby retaining your tonal range. This mode works great for eliminating red-eye.

    • Hue: Similar to color, this mode is less intense and provides a subtler effect.

    • Saturation: This mode is the one to use to convert the color in your image to grayscale. Set your foreground color to Black on the Tools panel.

    • Luminosity: This mode, the opposite of Color, doesn’t provide much of an effect. It changes the brightness levels, with no regard to color.

  4. Select your Limits mode.

    You have these options:

    • Contiguous replaces the color of adjacent pixels containing the sampled color.

    • Discontiguous replaces the color of the pixels containing the sampled color, whether or not they’re adjacent.

  5. Set your Tolerance percentage.

    Tolerance refers to a range of color. The higher the value, the broader the range of color that’s sampled, and vice versa.

  6. Set your Sampling method.

    You have these options:

    • Continuous allows you to sample and replace color continuously while you drag your mouse.

    • Once replaces color only in areas containing the color that you first sample.

    • Background Swatch replaces colors only in areas containing your current Background color.

  7. Select the Anti-aliasing option.

    Antialiasing slightly softens the edges of the sampled areas.

  8. Click or drag your image.

    The foreground color replaces the original colors of the sampled areas.

If you want to be very precise, make a selection before you replace your color.