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Tutorial: Changing Hues in Photoshop

Several years ago, I made the change from paper scrapping to digital scrapping and have never looked back. One of the many reasons I switched over is for the shear convenience of digital scrapbooking. I cannot tell you how much time I spent in the craft store trying to find papers to match the outfits in my pictures, or spending hours mulling over the thousands of choices when it came to elements, only to find the element I wanted was just a shade or two off.

Now, four years later, if I find a digital kit I want to use I never worry about whether or not my photo will be the right shade of blue or if my alpha comes in the color I want for my layout, instead, I alter the image or the digital paper, element, or alpha to get just the shade I want. Today, I am going to teach you a quick and easy way to alter the color on your image or paper.

To begin, open the image that you would like to change. I will be changing the color of my alpha to match my layout, so I have everything already opened on my desktop.

layout using Sweet September by Mye De Leon and Mandy King

If you have taken my clustering class, than you would know that part of the art clustering is scrapping using the rule of thirds as well as the triangle rule. In order to create my triangle of color so as to incorporate my title work, I need to change the color of some my alpha to the purple color of the flowers, Today, I am going to alter the color of the words “of fall”.

Start by selecting the element or paper that you wish to change the color of in your layers palette. I am starting with the letter “o”.  With my letter “o” selected in the layers palette, I will then go to my tools palette and set the foreground color by clicking on the black or white box, whichever color is on the top. The default color is set to black. Once you click on the foreground color, a dialogue box will pop up prompting you to choose a color.

I want my alpha to be the same color as the purple flowers, so I am going to float my mouse (which now looks like a dropper) over the flower I want to mimic the color, and click on it. You can click on it in several places until you find just the color you want. Once you have selected the color you want, you can click OK.

After you click OK, it looks like nothing has changed. Don’t get worried, that is supposed to happen! Now, this is where the magic happens! In your layers palette, at the bottom, is a circle that is half black, half gray. That is the Create New Filler or Adjustment Layer icon. Once you click on that icon a new adjustment layer, with mask, will open above the element that you want to recolor.  A dialogue box will also appear.

Click on the colorize box. Once you click the colorize box, it will instantly change that new layer to the color we selected earlier. Everything below the layer that we just chose will turn that pretty new color.

Of course, we don’t want it to stay that way, so now we need to clip the new adjustment layer to the alpha.

We will now use the same method we learned last week to clip the adjustment level to the alpha. In Photoshop, you will need to hold the ALT key +left click on the line BETWEEN the new adjustment layer and the element or paper you are recoloring. This will then clip the color to only that element.

If you need to, and sometime you WILL need to, once you have clipped the color to your alpha, you can go in and fine tune the color by sliding the Saturation and Lightness level up and down. DO NOT play with the HUE slider, or you will lose the base color that you wanted.

Once you have the color you want, the easiest way to recolor the rest of the alpha is by duplicating the adjustment layer, dragging it on top of the new letter and clipping it. You can duplicate the layer easily by selecting the Hue/Saturation layer and hitting CTRL+ J or by selecting the layer you want to duplicate, and, while holding the ALT key, drag your adjustment layer to right above the new letter. This is my method of choice as it is quick and easy!

Once you have duplicated all the Hue/Saturation layers, and clipped them to your element, you are left with a newly colored element! Of course, of you want to erase anything, you have the mask already added to your adjustment layer so you can select your brush and the color black, and “erase” any unwanted color.

Wasn’t that easy?? Here are a few more examples of how you can use this color changing method:

To recolor a part of a photo

Here, I wanted to change my daughter’s dress to black. I used the Quick Selection Tool in my tools palette and roughly selected her dress. It is surrounded by the marching ants.

 Next, I will select the Hue/Saturation icon and add the adjustment layer to above her picture.

Since I do not actually want to change this to a new color, but instead remove the color from the dress, I will NOT choose the colorize box. This time, I will go in and lower the saturation level all the way down and then play with the lightness slider only slightly.

When you remove or change the color of an item in a photograph, you need to remember that that color often reflects onto other objects, just as Rachael’s dress did on the bench she is sitting on. In order for this to look like we didn’t just recolor her dress, we will need to remove the blue color from the bench as well. That can be easily achieved by selecting your brush tool in the tools palette, making sure that you have the color white set as your foreground color, because in this instant, the mask is black, and we need to do the opposite in order to reveal the new color on the bench, and by setting your brush opacity to 50%.


With your mask selected in your layers palette, brush over the bench area. If you make a mistake, select the background color (black) and paint over the area that you accidentally changed the color of. Then hit X on the keyboard (this flip flops the colors for you) and begin painting the area again.

 Changing selective colors on patterned paper

When it comes to changing a paper or element with a pattern, it can be done. You just have to be patient.

Here, we have a paper from Mye’s “Some Like It Hotter” kit. I want to change it up a little to match a photo. So, I will select both the photo, for reference, and the paper I want to change, and open them both.

Next, I will select the area of the paper that I want to change by selecting the magic wand tool  in my tool box.

Then, I will click on the area of color that I want to change. On this page, I want to change the purple area to a different color, so, with by magic wand in hand, I will click on the area that I feel has the most of that color. It will select some or all of it…depending on the paper. Once I have it selected, the easiest way to get it to select the rest of it is to go to Select>Similar (make sure you choose Similar and NOT Similar Layers) It will select all of the similar colors of the selection.

Your paper should then look like this…the marching ants will be marching all over that paper!

Once you have selected it all, it is time to add that adjustment layer again. Click on the circle icon at the bottom of the layers palette, and your new adjustment layer will appear. Check out that layers mask!!

IF you had wanted to match the color in your photo, now is when you would click colorize on the layers adjustment box. If, however, you just wanted to play around with the colors, you can do that by sliding the hue slider to get the color you want and then playing with the saturation and lightness sliders to fine tune the color.

Now you can be done there, OR, you can go back and select the red color, and, using the same method we just learned, add a NEW Hue/Saturation adjustment level, and follow the same procedures to change that color as well.  When you are all done, flatten your image and you are ready to go with your newly recolored paper!

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial this week. This is a lesson that I promise, you will use over and over again! Recoloring is one of the BEST perks of digital scrapbooking and one of the easiest lessons to master!

Have a great week, and, until next time,  happy scrapping!


comments +

  1. Tami Miller says:

    Awesome! I actually didn’t know about the colorize method, thanks!

  2. […] Tutorial: Changing Hues in Photoshop – 1 freebie(s)? […]

  3. dulce says:

    You rock! Thanks for the tutorial.

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I'm Mye De Leon

I'm a mom with a desire to give the best for her family and turned a lettering hobby into a multi6-figure business. These days, I eat strategy for breakfast and turn other businesses into successful empires.

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I'm Mye


My business is to help your business generate more revenue so you can be who you want to be.

I'm Mye


My business is to help your business generate more revenue so you can be who you want to be.