Using the Color Replacement Tool in Photoshop Elements 4 - dummies

Using the Color Replacement Tool in Photoshop Elements 4

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

The Color Replacement tool in Photoshop Elements 4 enables 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, as shown in Figure 1.
  • Eliminate red eye if other, more automated methods don’t work to your satisfaction.

The Color Replacement tool preserves all the tones of the image. The color applied isn’t like the opaque paint that is applied when painting 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. Select the Color Replacement tool from the Tools palette in Standard Edit mode. (It shares a flyout menu with the Brush and Pencil tools.)

Alternatively, press the B (or Shift+B) key.

2. Specify your desired brush tip diameter and hardness from the Brush preset picker drop-down palette.

3. Choose your desired blend mode.

Color: The default, this mode works well for most jobs. This mode works great when eliminating red eye.

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

Saturation: This is the mode to use to convert your color image to grayscale. Set your foreground color to Black in the Tools palette.

Luminosity: This is the opposite of Color and doesn’t provide much of an effect.

4. Choose your sampling method (represented by the icons):

Continuous: Samples and replaces color continuously as you drag your mouse.

Once: Replaces colors only in areas that contain the color you first sampled when you initially clicked.

Background Swatch: Replaces colors only in areas containing your current Background color.

5. Select your limits mode:

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 are adjacent.

6. Set your tolerance percentage.

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

7. Select anti-aliasing.

Anti-aliasing slightly softens the edges of the sampled areas.

8. Click or drag on your image.

The foreground color replaces the original colors of the sampled areas. In the example shown in Figure 1, the foreground color is black.

The Color Replacement tool replaces the color in your image with the foreground color.

Figure 1: The Color Replacement tool replaces the color in your image with the foreground color.