How to swap colors in Photoshop

The Replace color command in Photoshop Creative Suite 6 enables the users to swap one set of colors with another. The replace color command creates a mask using the colors selected. It then works by replacing colors that you have selected. You can change the saturation, hue, and lightness of the images in specific areas by using the selection and color options. This command is best used for changing colors of specific and defined areas.

The steps involved are:

  1. In the given image below, we will recolor the lightblue to another color. Select the purple color box using a selection tool. The magnetic lasso tool is one of the best selection tools for undefined areas.
  1. Choose Image–> Adjustments –> Replace color

A ‘Replace color’ dialog box appears.

  1. There are two options- Selection, and Image. Select either of the two.
  • Selection- This shows a masked image in the preview window. The masked area is in black, the semitransparent portion is gray and the unmasked area is white.
  • Image- The image is shown in the preview window. Use this option to select colors easily if the picture is zoomed in, and you still want to view the entire image in the preview.


  1. In the picture click on the portion of the color to be replaced. This color will appear in the color swatch at the top corner of the dialog box. You can click the color areas in the preview window or the image itself. The areas that have the matching color are displayed as the selection in the dialog box. We can now adjust the fuzziness value.


  1. Use the eyedropper tool( with +sign) to select more colors.

  1. The fuzziness option is used to refine your selection and the hue, saturation, and lightness values can be adjusted with the sliders.
  1. Tap on the areas where you want to change the color. If you click on an area where the color need not be changed hit command/ctrl-Z to undo.
  1. Use the minus(-) eyedropper tool to remove colors.
  1. If you are not very satisfied with the selection effects, select the Localized Color Cluster option. This will enable you to select a more precise color selection. This option is very handy if the color you are selecting varies in tones and shades. ( You can also lower the fuzziness value instead)

  1. Once all the colors are selected, and you have adjusted the hue, saturation, and lightness, The result swatch get updated automatically.


Click the Result swatch. Select the final color from the color picker. The hue, saturation, and lightness get adjusted accordingly.

  1. Click OK. Save the new file in a separate document such that the old and new color change files are separate.

Note: The replacement sliders do not work for black in a CMYK document. That adjustment has to be made by the CMYK working space. Go to EditÞsettings.





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