How to Change the Color of Objects in Photoshop CS5

I have had occasions where I have to modify the color of clothing in a photograph. We took a series of photos for our new marketing materials last year. One of the models, the mother of an employee, showed up wearing a red shirt. It was not what I wanted, but knew that it would be an easy change in Photoshop. The following example is not that photo, but is a stock photo I purchased. The photo I used for the publication is at the end of this article.

This is very easy to do and can help enhance your photos when you need to match a color to your design.

I am sure there are other ways to do the color change, but this technique works best for me.

Original Photo
Original Photo

Here is my sample photo.I want to change the color of the shirt on the doctor.

First off - create a new layer for your color. Note that in the above photo, I added Layer 2 above Layer 1. Then, use the lasso tool to select the area to change. I get as close as I can to the shirt area. If you select areas outside of the shirt, don’t worry – you will be erasing most of that.

Select the color you want. Note that this color can be changed later. For now, I chose this color.

Adjust the layer to Hue. You will see that the fill color has blended into the shirt and changed the color.

Use the eraser tool to take out the overlap of color. I always leave a very small amount of color near the edges to help it blend in. If you erase too much, you can see the original color on the layer beneath. The original shirt color reflects on the white lab coat. By leaving a small amount of the new color, it will cover that up.

You can see in this picture that there is a small amount of blue from where I took out too much of the new color. Chose your brush tool, select a soft edge, and paint the new color back in.

Here is the completed color change. You can adjust the amount of opacity on the color layer to set the amount of color to blend in.

I repeat these same steps to change the color of the shirts on the other doctors. Here are all three doctors with new colors. You can do this to anything on a photo, not just clothing. I have changed the colors of desks, walls and jewelry.

If I don’t like any of the colors, go back to the color layers and adjust using the Hue/Saturation/Brightness tool. Combine it with opacity adjustments on the layer to get your desired color.

There are other ways to do this effect so play around with the layer settings. Choose Soft Overlay, Color, Luminosity, etc.

The actual photo we used on our marketing materials started with the photo above: red shirt, lots of damage to the wheelchair, a label on the chair, and a blank name tag on the nurse.

It ended up like this. The color of the shirt changed, I added a graphic to the nametag, and did extensive retouching on the wheelchair to remove all the scrapes and label.

I hope this was of interest to any of you out there looking for Photoshop tips and tricks.

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Comments 6 comments

The Odd Spartan profile image

The Odd Spartan 5 years ago from Hamilton, NJ

Awesome tutorial. I could definitely use this for future projects. Up/useful


TTC12 profile image

TTC12 5 years ago Author

Glad you enjoyed it. I had fun doing these projects and look forward to do more.


holdmycoffee profile image

holdmycoffee 5 years ago

Very interesting hub, thank you for sharing. As a photographer and designer myself, I am always looking for good ways to change available photos into photos I need. Keep up the good work!


Oracle2025 4 years ago

You've skipped some steps. After selecting the area, did you add a new layer, then select the color you want, then use the bucket tool to fill in the color?

You seem to have quite a bit of layers you've made and I can't figure out what they say due to the low resolution so would you mind filling in those blanks?


TTC12 profile image

TTC12 4 years ago Author

I fixed the missing layer addition. thanks for letting me know about it. I can't change the resolution as all the source files are gone now. I will try to fix this problem. The only layers used besides the main image are the color layers - one per new color that you want to introduce.


angeliki 2 years ago

Hi,

I need to fill a white comforter with a pattern design, but I want it to absorb all the creases and folds so it looks realistic. Can you point me to the right direction?

Thanks and thanks for the amazing comprehensive tutorials.

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