How to change the color of objects in Photoshop

April 11, 2008 By: erik Category: Flickr, Geeky, Photos, Photoshop 8,581 views

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Easter PeasI know very little about editing photos in Photoshop, and am far from being an expert, but I enjoy playing with it and figuring out how to accomplish the alterations that I’m imagining. Earlier this week, I saw this friend’s awesome photo of a pea pod and thought it would be cool if the peas were all different colors. So I downloaded the photo and opened it in Photoshop.

Showing my ignorance, I went about it the wrong way at first. I started by using the polygonal selector to make a selection around each pea and copy it to a new layer. Then I tried to play with the Levels settings for each pea layer. The results were pretty disgusting, and the borders around the selection were too hard. It looked like I’d physically cut them out with scissors, colored them, and pasted them back on the original image. Yuck.

Finally I figured out how to really do it:

  1. Use the polygonal selection tool to make a selection around the object you want to color.
  2. Feather the selection a little bit (I used 6 pixels).
  3. On a new layer, fill the selection with the color you want (select the color and hit alt-backspace).
  4. Remove the selection, and apply a Gaussian Blur to the layer. I used a setting of around 8 pixels. This will cause the color to bleed, just a little bit, outside the original selection. If this is a problem skip this step, or add the blur without removing the selection first.
  5. Set the blend mode on the layer to “Hue”. This is the key step.
  6. Optionally you can modify the opacity of the layer to reduce the effect.

No doubt there are at least 17 other ways to accomplish the same thing, but this is how I did it. And here’s the result:

Easter Peas

Check out the original here.

  • Layer masks mean never having to say you’re sorry.

    Also, I’m pretty sure you made a Google commercial. 🙂

  • Yes, layer masks are incredibly powerful. One of the hardest things about being “good at Photoshop” is remembering all the myriad tools available to you and when they apply to various situations.

    Are you suggesting that my title might match several thousand daily common Google searches? That thought might have crossed my mind, yes. 🙂 At least the post “does what it says on the tin” as the Brits say.

  • Was thinking more that your peas look sort of like’s Google’s trademark balls.

  • Ah, okay. Google’s done well, establishing the “multicolored balls –> Google” mapping in your brain already.

  • Multicolored balls? Now I’m sure you’ll be getting lots of hits on that one. Photoshop is fabulous, I love playing around with it and learning new stuff to do with my photos. The other day I eliminated an ugly chimney from an otherwise pretty picture, and it looks like it had never been there to begin with. 🙂

  • Elevalther

    Hi Erik


    If you not were a newbee three years ago, then I
    don´t know what I´m  I think this is properly
    the second time I open PH-shop, I´m actually not really interested in it.


    So you wander maybe why I\’m writing to you. The reason
    is that I got a vintage car which I want to paint in Bordeaux, and only Bordeaux
    and in the  same tone, but the body will
    be the darkest one, then the door will be a little lighter, so you will be able
    to see the difference, then the hood lighter, the mudguard and so on until you have
    5 to7 regions( it have to be mentioned each time I have to paint the car it cost
    roughly 1500€, so to avoid through more money the necessary then I want to see
    in PH-shop first)


    I´m totally new, you was mentioning  “polygonal selector”, how do I make a region so I can
    store it , change the color, and then paste it back excatly same place, or I
    can make a refgion, and change colour directly in the Photo???????????


    Be car

    • If you’ve never used Photoshop, then it will take too long to explain all the individual steps. However, it sounds like a task that I might actually have fun doing. I wouldn’t mind giving it a shot for you. If you’d like, you can upload a photograph of the car (the highest resolution you can) to somewhere on the internet (like, and leave a link in a comment here. You also need to include the exact hex color values (use this to find them) and tell me which colors go to which surface of the car.