Photoshop tutorial: How to change the colours of objects in a photo

Fashion photographer Tigz Rice reveals pro techniques for changing the colours of specific elements in photos with realistic results.

Intro


When editing your photos, you may find that sometimes that you love an image, but would prefer it if an element such as some jewellery was a different colour, or the model was a brunette rather than a blonde. By learning how to change these elements in Photoshop, you might be able to save yourself time and money by not having to schedule in another full day of shooting. 

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In this tutorial, we’ll cover the basic steps of colour mixing in Photoshop by turning the model’s gold jewellery and the detailing on her dress into silver. Once you’ve mastered this, you’ll be able to adapt these skills to a number of different applications including garments and hair.

Time to complete

Less than 5 minutes

Software

Photoshop CS5 or later

Step 1

STEP 1

Open your chosen image in Photoshop and focus in on the areas of the image you will be manipulating. As jewellery and detailing are often quite intricatel y detailed, you may find it best to complete your editing at 100%

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Step 2

STEP 2

In the Adjustments panel, click on the Channel Mixer icon to create a new adjustment mask in the Layers panel. Before we alter the colours, we first need to limit its effect to the areas of jewellery and detailing.

See also: 86 Best Photoshop tutorials

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Step 3

STEP 3

As we are working with such small areas of the image, it’s better to begin with a negative layer mask. With the adjustment mask selected, press Cmd/Ctrl + I to convert the mask from white to black.

See also: 86 Best Photoshop tutorials


Step 4

STEP 4

Next, we need to expose the jewellery and detailing on our layer mask by selecting the appropriate areas and making them white. There are many ways to do this, including using the Curves tool or Refine Edge to select your area.

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However, as it’s such a small area, you may find it quicker and more practical to brush in the areas loosely with a white brush. Although you won’t notice any physical changes to the image, you should see areas of white start to appear on your layer mask.


Step 5

STEP 5

Back in the Adjustments panel, you’ll see an Output Channel drop-down menu, which is currently set to Red. This selects which of the red, green or blue channels you want to affect. Underneath this there are Red, Green and Blue sliders to add or subtract detail from the other colour channels. Set the Green Slider to 100 and the Red and Blue sliders to 0.

See also: 86 Best Photoshop tutorials

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Step 6

STEP 6

Using the drop-down menu, change the Output Channel to Blue and once again set the Green Slider to 100, and the Red and Blue sliders to 0. The jewellery should now be a dark grey/pewter colour, which is our base colour we will improve on.

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Step 7

STEP 7

Experiment by moving the sliders within the Channel Mixer panel to find your desired silver effect. For this image, I added an extra 20% blue on the Blue output channel to remove some of the warmth and give a more metallic finish. My layers sidebar in Photoshop now looks like that shown. 

See also: 86 Best Photoshop tutorials


Step 8

STEP 8

Once you’ve found the perfect colour mask, select a small black brush and neaten up your masking areas.

See also: 86 Best Photoshop tutorials

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