The Match Color command matches colors between multiple images, between multiple layers, or between multiple selections. It also lets you adjust the colors in an image by changing the luminance, changing the color range, and neutralizing a color cast. The Match Color command works only in RGB mode.
When you use the Match Color command, the pointer becomes the Eyedropper tool. Use the Eyedropper tool while adjusting the image to view the color pixel values in the Info panel. This panel gives you feedback about changes in color values as you use the Match Color command. See View color values in an image.
The Match Color command matches the colors in one image (the source image) with colors in another image (the target image). Match Color is useful when you’re trying to make the colors in different photos consistent, or when certain colors (such as skin tones) in one image must match the colors in another image.
In addition to matching the color between two images, the Match Color command can match the color between different layers in the same image.
- From the Source menu in the Image Statistics area of the Match Color dialog box, choose the source image whose colors you’ll be matching in the target image. Choose None when you don’t want to reference a different image to calculate the color adjustment. With None chosen, the target image and the source image are the same.
In the Destination Image area, select Ignore Selection When Applying Adjustment if you’re applying the adjustment to the entire target image. This option ignores the selection in the target image and applies the adjustment to the entire target image.
In the Image Statistics area, select Use Selection In Source To Calculate Colors if you made a selection in the source image and want to use the colors in the selection to compute the adjustment. Deselect this option to ignore the selection in the source image, and use the colors from the entire source image to compute the adjustment.
In the Image Statistics area, select Use Selection In Target To Calculate Adjustment if you made a selection in the target image and want to use the colors in the selection to calculate the adjustment. Deselect this option to ignore the selection in the target image and compute the adjustment by using the colors of the entire target image.
In the Destination Image area, select Ignore Selection When Applying Adjustment if you’re applying the adjustment to the entire target layer. This option ignores the selection in the target layer and applies the adjustment to the entire target layer.
In the Image Statistics area, select Use Selection In Source To Calculate Colors if you made a selection in the source image and want to use the color in the selection to compute the adjustment. Deselect this option to ignore the selection in the source layer and use the colors in the entire source layer to compute the adjustment.
In the Image Statistics area, select Use Selection In Target To Calculate Adjustment if you want to use only the colors in the selected area of the target layer to compute the adjustment. Deselect this option to ignore the selection and use the colors of the entire target layer to compute the adjustment.
- In the Image Statistics area of the Match Color dialog box, click the Save Statistics button. Name and save the settings.
- In the Image Statistics area of the Match Color dialog box, click the Load Statistics button. Locate and load the saved settings file.
Photoshop provides several techniques that let you replace the colors of objects. For great flexibility and results, apply a Hue/Saturation adjustment to selected objects. For less flexibility but a convenient grouping of options, use the Replace Color dialog box. For speed but less precision, try the Color Replacement tool.
Video tutorial: Comparing color replacement techniques
Video tutorial: Precisely select and replace colors
In most cases, this flexible technique best replaces colors. Because masks and adjustment layers are non-destructive, you can later fine-tune the results with complete freedom. A unique Colorize option makes absolute, rather than relative, color changes (avoiding tinting from original colors).
In the Properties panel (CC, CS6) or Adjustments panel (CS5), change Hue and Saturation settings to replace the object’s color. If original color tints the new color, select Colorize, and readjust settings. (See Adjust hue and saturation.)
Leave the Lightness setting at zero to maintain contrast. To maintain both contrast and saturation, select the Hue blending mode for the adjustment layer.
For more information, see Adjustments panel overview.
The Replace Color dialog box combines tools for selecting a color range with HSL sliders for replacing that color. You can also choose the replacement color in the Color Picker.
Replace Color lacks the Colorize option from the Hue/Saturation adjustment, which may be needed for a complete color change. You may also find the adjustment layer technique easier for changing specific objects. However, the Replace Color command is good for global color changes—especially changing out-of-gamut colors for printing.
Book excerpt: Using the Replace Color command
Displays the mask in the preview box. Masked areas are black, and unmasked areas are white. Partially masked areas (areas covered with a semitransparent mask) appear as varying levels of gray according to their opacity.
Shift-click or use the Add To Sample Eyedropper tool to add areas.
Alt-click (Windows), Option-click (Mac OS), or use the Subtract From Sample Eyedropper tool to remove areas.
Click the Selection Color swatch to open the Color Picker. Use the Color Picker to target the color you want replaced. As you select a color in the Color Picker, the mask in the preview box is updated.
Drag the Hue, Saturation, and Lightness sliders (or enter values in the text boxes).
Double-click the Result swatch and use the Color Picker to select the replacement color.
You cannot replace pure gray, black, or white with a color. However, you can change the Lightness setting. (The Hue and Saturation settings are relative to existing color, so they have no effect.)
For a video on dodging and burning with the Replace Color command, see www.adobe.com/go/lrvid4119_ps. (Discussion of Replace Color begins at the 5:30 mark.)
The Color Replacement tool paints over a targeted color with a replacement color. While this tool is good for quick edits, it often proves unsatisfactory, particularly with dark colors and black. If you don’t get good results after experimenting with tool options, see Apply a Hue/Saturation adjustment to selected objects.
The Color Replacement tool doesn’t work in Bitmap, Indexed, or Multichannel color mode.
Book excerpt: Using the Color Replacement tool
If the range of replaced colors is too small, increase the Tolerance setting in the options bar.
Mixing colors selectively
Selective color correction is a technique used by high-end scanners and separation programs to change the amount of process colors in each of the primary color components in an image. You can modify the amount of a process color in any primary color selectively—without affecting the other primary colors. For example, you can use selective color correction to dramatically decrease the cyan in the green component of an image while leaving the cyan in the blue component unaltered.
Even though Selective Color uses CMYK colors to correct an image, you can use it on RGB images.
Click the Selective Color icon in the Adjustments panel.
Choose Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Selective Color. Click OK in the New Layer dialog box.
(CS5) Click a Selective Color preset in the Adjustments panel.
You can also choose Image > Adjustments > Selective Color. But keep in mind that this method makes direct adjustments to the image layer and discards image information.
In Photoshop CC and CS6, choose the color you want to adjust from the Colors menu in the Properties panel. You can also choose a Preset that you’ve saved.
In CS5, choose the color you want to adjust from the Colors menu in the Adjustments panel.
(CC, CS6) In the Properties panel, choose a Selective Color preset from the Preset menu.
- Select a method in the Properties panel (CC, CS6) or choose a method from the Adjustments panel menu (CS5):
Changes the existing amount of cyan, magenta, yellow, or black by its percentage of the total. For example, if you start with a pixel that is 50% magenta and add 10%, 5% is added to the magenta (10% of 50% = 5%) for a total of 55% magenta. (This option cannot adjust pure specular white, which contains no color components.)
Adjusts the color in absolute values. For example, if you start with a pixel that is 50% magenta and add 10%, the magenta ink is set to a total of 60%.
The adjustment is based on how close a color is to one of the options in the Colors menu. For example, 50% magenta is midway between white and pure magenta and receives a proportionate mix of corrections defined for the two colors.