• How to Recolor Parts of More Complex Solid Color Images with Adjustment Layers in Photoshop and PSE

    One of the most wonderful things about digital scrapbooking is the having the ability to recolor images to match any project. With a few recoloring techniques in your bag of tricks, you can stretch your crafting resources and get the look you see in your mindís eye.

    In this series of tips, we have been exploring different ways to recolor embellishments and template components. We've learned how simple it is to recolor the entire image or selected parts of an image. In this tip, we'll work on recoloring parts of more complicated images like word art, brushes or journaling blocks where you may want to use several different colors. When making a selection with the Marquee tool is too difficult, this more advanced method gives you greater control.

    • In Photoshop or PSE, begin by opening an image you want to recolor. You can also open an image such as a paper or photo that contains the colors you want to use for recoloring if you like.
    • Choose the new color by clicking the Foreground color chip at the bottom of the tools panel. This brings up the color picker. Drag and click the cursor on a new color or drag the cursor outside the color picker window to click on the digital image. Or you can type in the color value numbers if you know them. Click OK. The Foreground color will change to the color you have clicked.
    • In the Layers panel, click on the layer of the image you are recoloring. Click the "Lock Transparent Pixels" icon. This will cause the software to ignore the transparent portions of the image and recolor only the parts that are visible.
    • Next, click the Create a New Fill or Adjustment Layer icon (looks like a circle that is half black/ half white). Choose Hue/Saturation. When the Hue/Saturation dialog populates, tick the Colorize box near the bottom of the box.
    • Move the Lightness slider and Saturation slider until the entire image matches the color you selected as the Foreground. Click the X in the top right corner of the dialog box to close the Hue/Saturation properties.
    • Now the whole image is the recolored. Select the Hue/Saturation layer and press Ctrl E (Mac: Cmd E) to merge the Hue/Saturation layer and the original layer so that the original is recolored.
    • Choose another color by clicking the Foreground Color chip and getting a new color.
    • Next, select the image layer again and create another Fill or Adjustment layer, selecting Hue/Saturation. Tick Colorize and tweak the Lightness/Saturation sliders until the image matches the new color.
    • This is where the fun begins. Press DX on the keyboard to change the Foreground color to black. Check to make sure the Foreground has changed to black and manually adjust the color if necessary.
    • Get a round brush by selecting the brush tool and choosing a circle brush from the brush picker. This will be in the Tool Options at the top of the editing window in PS, or the bottom of the editing window in PSE.
    • Click the Hue/Saturation mask in the Layers panel (the white square on the Hue/Saturation layer in the Layers panel.) Begin brushing on the portion of the image you want to recolor with the new color. As you click/drag around the image, it paints black on the white mask and allows the bottom color to show through. Zoom in to see details as you work with the brush tool. Switch the Foreground color to white to repair any mistakes as you are brushing.
    • To add additional colors, create new Hue/Saturation adjustment layers. Drag each new layer to the top of the Layers panel before tweaking the color and brushing the mask to recolor portions of the image.


    This technique allows you to recolor solid images like brushes and stamps, overlays, word art and many other PNG images with one or more color.