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Can you replace all of one color in photoshop?


Replacing all instances of a single color in an image is a common task in Photoshop. Whether you want to change the color of an object, make a background transparent, or alter the hue of a photo, being able to selectively target and replace a specific color can save a lot of time compared to manually masking and painting over areas.

Fortunately, Photoshop provides several simple ways to replace one color with another across an entire image or selection. In this article, we’ll look at the various methods and options for replacing a solid color in Photoshop.

Using the Replace Color Tool

The easiest way to replace all instances of a color in Photoshop is to use the Replace Color tool. Here’s how it works:

  1. Open the image in Photoshop and select the layer you want to alter.
  2. Select the Replace Color tool from the toolbox (or press J).
  3. In the tool options at the top, click on the color you want to replace in the image to set the target color.
  4. Adjust the Fuzziness slider to control the color tolerance or range of the replacement.
  5. Select a new color to replace the target color with.
  6. Paint over the image to replace the target color with the new color.

The Fuzziness slider is important for controlling how closely the colors have to match for the replacement to happen. A higher fuzziness value will replace a broader range of similar hues, while a lower value will restrict the effect to closer color matches.

Benefits of the Replace Color Tool

Some benefits of using the Replace Color tool include:

  • Straightforward and intuitive controls.
  • Ability to sample colors directly from the image.
  • Live preview so you can see the effect as you paint.
  • Works across multiple layers at the same time.

The main downside is that the color replacement can sometimes appear spotty depending on the fuzziness setting. It may take some trial and error to find the right tolerance for a smooth effect.

Using Color Range Selections

You can also select and change colors in Photoshop using the Color Range command. Here are the steps:

  1. Go to Select > Color Range in the menu.
  2. Use the eyedropper to select the color you want to select. Adjust the Fuzziness slider.
  3. Click OK to create a selection based on the color range.
  4. Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to alter the color (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation).
  5. In the Hue/Saturation controls, adjust the Hue slider to change the color.

This gives you more control over the color correction compared to the Replace Color tool. You can also turn the selection into a mask for advanced editing.

Benefits of Color Range Selections

Some upsides to using Color Range include:

  • Lets you adjust and fine-tune the selection before altering the color.
  • Gives you access to Hue/Saturation controls for flexible color shifting.
  • Easy to save and reuse color-based selections.
  • Works well for subtle color changes.

The main limitation is that it’s a bit more tedious than directly painting with the Replace Color tool. The selection process also may not capture narrow details well in some images.

Using Layer Blending Options

You can replace colors globally on a layer using the Layer Style blending options:

  1. Select the layer and go to Layer > Layer Style > Blending Options.
  2. In the Blend If section, alt-click on the bottom-right slider for the channel of the color you want to replace.
  3. Drag the slider inwards to remove that color channel.
  4. Change the Layer Style blend mode to Color to replace the removed color with the blend color.

This replaces all of one color with a new color in a single step. It works well for background colors and large objects or fields of a single color.

Benefits of Blending Options

Advantages of the layer blending method include:

  • Fast way to replace a solid color.
  • Adjustable slider for blending range.
  • Allows blending with lower layers.
  • Useful for backgrounds and large fields of color.

The limitations are that it only works on standard colors channels, and can’t be used to easily select and alter more precise color ranges.

Using Find and Replace

Photoshop’s Find and Replace mode provides extensive options for searching and replacing colors:

  1. Go to Image > Adjustments > Replace Color.
  2. Click on the color you want to replace in the image preview.
  3. Adjust the Fuzziness and range sliders to fine-tune the selection.
  4. Enable the Selection preview to see what will be replaced.
  5. Choose a replacement color from the palette.
  6. Click OK to replace the colors.

This tool gives you additional sliders like Lightness and Masking to precisely control the color selection. The downside is that the actual color replacement is applied immediately as a hard adjustment rather than a live preview.

Benefits of Find and Replace

Some upsides to the Find and Replace method:

  • Very precise control over the color selection.
  • Allows targeting lightness and color ranges independently.
  • Masking slider prevents unwanted color bleed.
  • Good option for photos with similar colors.

Limitations include the lack of live preview for the color replacement and having to re-run the command to tweak settings. But overall it offers advanced selection flexibility.

Using Channel Mixer for Monochrome

To quickly replace all color in an image with shades of gray, the Channel Mixer can convert to monochrome:

  1. Go to Image > Adjustments > Channel Mixer.
  2. Select Monochrome in the Presets dropdown.
  3. Click OK to convert to black and white.

This removes all the hue and saturation, leaving only the luminance values. You can adjust the slider to tweak the grayscale conversion.

Benefits of Channel Mixer

Some advantages of using Channel Mixer include:

  • Fast way to convert any image to monochrome.
  • Adjustable slider to control grayscale mix.
  • Works with color images, duotones, monochromes.
  • Easy to apply the effect as an adjustment layer.

The main limitations are lack of advanced controls beyond mix levels, and that it solely converts to grayscale rather than allowing color replacement.

Using Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layers

For basic hue shifts, Hue/Saturation adjustment layers offer a simple way to replace one color with another:

  1. Add a Hue/Saturation layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation).
  2. Move the Hue slider to shift all hues to a different value.
  3. Optionally reduce Saturation to make the color change more subtle.

This globally replaces all colors in the image by the same hue offset. You can restrict the effect to certain areas by adding layer masks.

Benefits of Hue/Saturation Layers

Some upsides to this adjustment layer technique:

  • Quickly replaces all hues in an image.
  • Allows adjusting opacity to blend the effect.
  • Easy to combine masks and blending modes.
  • Preserves original image content as a separate layer.

Limitations are less control over individual colors compared to tools like Color Range and Replace Color. But it works great for general hue shifts.

Choosing the Right Color Replacement Method

With all the options in Photoshop, which color replacement technique should you use? Here are some guidelines:

  • For simple hue changes, try Hue/Saturation adjustment layers first.
  • Use Replace Color to quickly paint over and change one solid color.
  • For precision alterations, use Color Range or Find and Replace.
  • Convert to monochrome with Channel Mixer.
  • Remove solid backgrounds using Layer Blend Options.

In many cases, a combination of tools may work best. For example, you could use Color Range to mask out a specific color, then apply a Hue/Saturation layer to colorize it differently.

Tips for Effective Color Replacement

Here are some tips for seamlessly replacing colors in Photoshop:

  • Use small Fuzziness values to minimize color bleeding.
  • Enable Selection Previews to see what will be altered.
  • Try Color Range or Find and Replace for colors with subtle differences.
  • Add Layer Masks to restrict changes to certain regions.
  • Use brush tools at lower Opacities to build up the effect smoothly.
  • Adjust layer Blend Modes like Color or Luminosity to blend color edits.

Replacing colors convincingly takes some practice and experimentation. But using the right tools and adjustments, you can selectively alter colors in photos and designs non-destructively in Photoshop.


In summary, there are a variety of ways to replace all instances of a single color in Photoshop:

  • Use the Replace Color tool to paint over and change solid color areas.
  • Make Color Range selections to precisely target color regions for adjustments.
  • Remove and blend colors globally using Layer Style options.
  • Find and Replace mode offers advanced control over color selections.
  • Convert images to black and white with the Channel Mixer.
  • Shift hues using Hue/Saturation adjustment layers.

Combining these tools and techniques allows you to powerfully modify colors and remove backgrounds in photos and designs. With some practice, you’ll be able to accurately and efficiently replace one color with another color using Photoshop.