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How to change the color of an object in Photoshop without a selection

Change Clothing or Object Color in Photoshop

What is an adjustment layer?

An adjustment layer manipulates the color and tone of the layer or layers beneath. These layers are non-destructive, which means the pixel values do not change and the image can still be revealed after turning off layers.

Changing the color of an object is a common need while using Photoshop, and there are many ways to do it. Methods like replace color, or color balance are hard to use with complicated images or without an accurate selection. Achieving an accurate selection can be hard even while using auto-select tools like select subject or select color range, and quick selections or pen tool can give rough results.

Using a Hue and Saturation Adjustment Layer

Use a hue and saturation adjustment layer first to accurately select and change colors non-destructively with little to no masking at the end. This can be particularly helpful for products in multiple colors, or targeted color correction.

1. First add a hue and saturation adjustment layer. Once the adjustment layer is open, select the pointing hand icon.

2. Hover over the image. The cursor should be an eyedropper. Click the color that is going to be changed, in this case, pink for the coat.

3. The dropdown menu next to the hand icon will change from “Master” to the color range that was selected, in this case, reds. Change the hue to get an idea for what was selected.

4. Narrow the color range with the bottom slider.

5. Next, click the “+” eyedropper and click and drag over the image anywhere the colors are banding, or not included in the selection. Notice the change in color range when adding all of the pink.

6. Switch to the “-“ eyedropper and click and drag over colors that should NOT be included in the selection.

7. Widen the color range using the bottom slider to smooth the colors, then adjust hue, saturation, and lightness to any color including white or black.

8. With this method, any masking is done at the end, avoiding some of the tedious selecting, rough edges, or unrealistic color. In this example, the model's lips and some of her neck were changing color with the pink coat and had to be masked out.

This method works best when the object changing has a different color than the rest of the image. Images that lack contrast may need a mask from the beginning, or require more adjustments at the end. Hue and saturation works extremely well on its own, but sometimes masks and touch-ups are still required.

Tips

Once the adjustment layer is deselected, the presets disappear. To go back in and edit the original presets, make sure the targeted adjustment tool (hand icon) is selected and click the subject, in this case the coat. The presets then reappear in the properties panel and can be adjusted without repeating the process.

Use this same method within a selection to fix color banding.

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