How to Change the Color of a Layer in Photoshop

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Whether you’re a beginner or an expert Photoshop user, one feature you need to become familiar with is Layers. It gives editors more control during the editing process. As such, this article teaches you how to change the color of a layer in Photoshop.

How to Change the Color of a Layer in Photoshop

Regarding Photoshop, the color of your layers can be extremely important. The chosen color applied to each layer would affect how it appears in your document. Changing the color of a layer can help you achieve different effects and make your images more interesting.

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Steps to Change the Color of a Layer in Photoshop

Before advancing into the intricacies of changing the color of a layer in Photoshop, it’s always best to begin with the basics. First, understanding how to change the color of one layer would better equip you on how to make color changes to multiple layers.

Open a New Document

  1. Launch the Photoshop application on your computer by clicking on its icon.
  2. To open a new document, navigate to the top right corner of the Menu bar and click on File (the second option on the topmost bar).
  3. Next, click on New Document from the expanded menu options.

Choose the Document Settings

Immediately a pop-up menu appears on the screen to allow you to configure your desired document parameters for the new document. One such option is Background Content. It allows you to choose the type of document background you want.

  1. Clicking on Background Contents reveals three option types to choose from — White, Background Color, and Transparent.
  2. Choose the one that suits your needs and click on OK.
  3. However, choosing Transparent would naturally appear as a checkered background on the screen.

Create a Layer

With your new document on the screen waiting to be edited, you should notice a list of options on the right side of your computer screen. These options are parameters that can be adjusted to affect the document settings.

At the bottom of this options menu, you’ll notice a mini document icon named Layer 1. When a new document is created in Photoshop, it automatically becomes the first layer represented as Layer 1.

Duplicate the Layer

Duplicating a layer allows you to keep the original layer while having a replica. You can easily discard the duplicate layer without losing the original when mistakes are made.

  1. An easy way to create a duplicate layer is by going to the Layer tab on the top Menu bar.
  2. One of the options on the opened menu would read Duplicate.
  3. Click on it to create the duplicate layer.
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Choose a Color

  1. Go to the Toolbar on the left side of the screen and locate the Color Picker Tool.
  2.  It has a symbol of two square shapes, one on top and the other with a different color.
  3.  Click on the icon to reveal a menu where you can choose your desired layer color.

Activate the Paint Bucket Tool

  1. On the same Toolbar on the left of the screen, locate and click on the Gradient Tool (G), which reveals three clickable options: Gradient Tool, Paint Bucket Tool, and 3D Material Drop Tool.
  2. Activate the Paint Bucket Tool by clicking on it. 
  3. Next, drag the resulting cursor to the document on the screen and click on it. Which automatically changes the color of the document layer to your chosen color.

You can create a new layer and apply the same steps to change the color.

How to Change the Color of an Image Layer in Photoshop

Going beyond changing layer colors, Photoshop allows users to alter the colors of specific objects in different photo layers. For a photographer, this gives incredible color control over what you can do with your existing photos.

Steps to Change the Color of an Object Layer in Photoshop

It is easy to change the colors in any multilayered photo. It’s also valuable for a photo with two or more distinct colors, with any or all needing a color change. However, the steps outlined and discussed are practical for a single-layer photo.

Here are the straightforward steps to change the color of an image layer in Photoshop.

Import the Photo Into Photoshop

Go to the folder that holds the photo and use the Import tab to import it into Photoshop. With the photo displayed in Photoshop, you’ll notice a menu on the right side of the screen. Again, as a beginner, it’ll be best to use easy-to-remember steps rather than computer shortcuts.

Create a New Adjustment Layer

As the name signifies, you’ll need to create a layer allowing color adjustments. To do this, go to the Layer tab on the Menu bar at the top of the screen. Clicking it reveals a drop-down menu with several options.

Locate and click on New Adjustment Layer. This option opens up another menu with several other options. Locate and click on Hue/Saturation.

A quicker way to access this option is by clicking on the first icon on the second row in the Adjustment Panel. Another way is to click on the adjustment layer options at the bottom of the same editing options menu on the right side of the screen.

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Configure the New Layer

Immediately after clicking on the Hue/Saturation option, a pop-up menu named New Layer appears on the screen. There’s an option to rename the layer however you see fit. Then, click the OK tab when you’re done. It expands to a menu that opens to its Properties Tab.

Understanding the Color Settings

Before making color changes, it’s vital to understand what causes a color change in Photoshop. The three parameters that influence colors are defined as H, S, and B parameters. With H as an abbreviation for Hue, S for Saturation, and B for Brightness.

When you choose a color type in Photoshop, each is represented by a number in the Hue section. The intensity of the chosen color is determined by its Saturation. Lastly, the magnitude of lightness and darkness of the color can be adjusted with Brightness.

Configure the Properties Tab

On this opened tab, you’ll notice that the Preset field is on Default. Underneath the Preset field is two opposing arrowheads signifying the Preset Channel. When the Preset is set at Default, the Channel is on the Master option.

Clicking on the Channel icon reveals a list of colors underneath the Master option. Select the color name closest to the color on the photo you want to change. For instance, changing the color of a red cap in the photo to blue means selecting the color Blue.

Click on the Eyedropper Tool towards the bottom of the Properties Tab. This gives you control to refine and change the color. Underneath the eyedropper tool, you’ll also notice two horizontal hue bar lines to indicate color change.

Change the Object Color

The upper line of the hue bar indicates the object’s current color, while the lower line indicates the color it is being changed to. With that said, use the sliders of the Hue, Saturation, and Brightness options to adjust the existing color to the color you want.

Why Is It Important to Know How to Change Colors in Photoshop?

Changing the color of an image in Photoshop is one of the most common and important tasks you can do with this software. It is essential because it allows you to edit your image without losing the original aesthetics of the photo.

You can also use it to change the color of objects in an image. For example, if you’re creating a graphic for a website that contains text, you might want to change the background color of some elements so that they stand out more against their backgrounds.


As a photographer, knowing how to change the color of a layer is essential. Changing the color of a layer in Photoshop is easy once you know how to go about it. If you’re still having difficulties, you can start by changing the color of one layer and an object.