How to Change White to Any Color in Photoshop

In this Free Photoshop Tutorial by Phlearn, Aaron Will Teach you How to Change White to any Color with the help of Hue Saturation Adjustment Layer by Creating Mask with Channel Masking Technique and later refining it with Overlay Blend Mode brush. 

Change White Color to Any Color in Photoshop
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Understanding Channels in Photoshop

Very accurate selections can be made in Photoshop with much less effort if you know How to Use Channels in Photoshop. 

Go to Windows > Channels 

(If Channels Panel is not visible in Photoshop Interface)

There you will find Composite RGB Channel and 3 different Channels for each color namely Red, Green and Blue. 

For making a selection or a Mask you have to select each channel individually to check in which channel most contrast is available. 

Tip: Remember in Photoshop Masking 

White is the Selected Area or Visible Area of the Layer and 
Black is the Masked or In-visible Part of the Layer

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 If the image appears flat, that channel likely won’t be of much help. If the image has well-defined areas of light and dark, then it will work great.

In this case, the blue channel has the greatest amount of contrast, so we’ll use that channel to make our selection. Duplicate the blue channel and then load a Levels Adjustment Layer by hitting CTRL or CMD + L.

Let’s use the Levels Adjustment Layer to increase the amount of contrast even further. This will ensure that our selection is as accurate as possible. In the Levels dialog, drag the leftmost slider, representing the dark areas of the image, slightly to the right. Do the same for the rightmost slider, moving it to the left. This will make dark areas darker and the lighter areas lighter, creating clear distinction between the parts of the image we want to change the color of and the parts that we don’t.

Making the Selection in Photoshop

Now that we have a channel that identifies all of the white the image, we can turn it into a selection by holding CTRL or CMD and clicking on the copy of the blue channel that we made.

Now that we have a selection, we can load it as a Layer Mask which is ultimately what will allow us to alter the color. Click on the Layers tab and then go to Layer, New Adjustment Layer, and down to Hue/Saturation. Hold ALT OR OPTN and click on the layer mask of our new Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer. This will load our Channel Selection into our Layer Mask.

Keep in mind; anything that appears white on a Layer Mask will be visible in that Layer and anything black will be invisible. Our goal is adjust the Layer Mask of the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer so that it ends up only being visible on the white areas of our image. We need to do a bit more refinement of our Layer Mask to ensure that the color change occurs where we want it.

Refining the Layer Mask

Switch to the Brush Tool by hitting B. In the options bar above change the Blending Mode from Normal to Overlay. Then paint with black over any areas of the image that you don’t want to change the color of. We only want to change the color of the background, the subject’s dress, and the frames of the sunglasses. Everything else can be painted completely black.

Once that’s finished, we’re going to do the same thing to the white areas of the image by painting white over everything that will eventually change color.

Take your time with this process! The more accurate your layer mask is, the more realistic the final color change is going to look.

Once you’re done, you should have a layer mask that consists of only pure black (the subject’s skin) and pure white (the dress, background etc).

Using Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer

Now that our Layer Mask is complete, open up the dialog for the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer and click on the Colorize box. Use the sliders above to lower the Lightness, increase the Saturation, and adjust the Hue to whatever you want. You should see the the one-white-areas completely change color as you adjust these sliders. Since we’re working from a white base, lighter colors will tend to look a little bit more realistic.

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