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Advanced Adjustment Tips & Tricks in Adobe Photoshop

Lesson 3 of 13

Change Color of Object using Hue and Saturation

Ben Willmore

Advanced Adjustment Tips & Tricks in Adobe Photoshop

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

3. Change Color of Object using Hue and Saturation
Learn to precisely isolate a range of colors and then shift it to any color you desire. This is a great way of fixing red blotchy skin.

Lesson Info

Change Color of Object using Hue and Saturation

now let's go and take a look at how to take an object that's already in colour and shift what color it is, you've got a blue car, you wanted to be a red car, that kind of thing. But we're going to do it with an orange bicycle and that's right here to do. So I'm going to click on our topmost layer because we already have some adjustments in this particular file and whenever you create a new adjustment layer, I always make sure the topmost layer is active. Then I'll come in here and use hue and saturation now with human saturation, That hand tool that's in here, we're going to use in its automatically active and that's because in a previous lesson I had turned on this option and that controls both curves and human saturation and we'll make the hand tool become active. Now in order to change the color of an object. All you need to do is with that hand tool active, move your mouse on top of the image and click on the object you want to change and then you don't even have to let go. You can...

just start dragging to the left or right and then you'll control how saturated it is or there are some keyboard shortcuts that will allow you to do other things. For instance, if I hold down the command key which I'm holding down right now controlling Windows, you're gonna change the hue and that means the basic color, the only problem with this is we have other objects within this image, like the boat that's in the background and so what I might do in this case is we have a mask here attached to my adjustment layer. I'm going to type command I that would be control iron windows and that's just a keyboard shortcut for this invert means give me the opposite of what I have. So it's gonna take the white that's in the mask and converted to black. Then I can take my paintbrush tool in black prevents an adjustment from applying. If I paint with white, I can allow it to apply and I can now decide exactly where this should go. And I just need to be careful not to paint wherever there's something else that has a hint of orange in it and therefore if I don't want the tail light on the little break light there to change, I don't want to paint on it and the wood of that boat is similar in color. So I need to, once I get up to here be careful with where I paint, I might get a smaller brush and I'll click a little trick cause you're gonna hold the shift key and click and it connects the dots between where you just clicked on where you click next. As long as you have the shift key held down. That's how you make straight lines and so I can come in here and you quickly paint on that mask to control exactly where that change happens. And then up here I can shift this around and let's say I want a blue bicycle. So there we go. We've changed quite a bit in this image. Now, let's take a look at how we can be more precise with human saturation because that little hand icon where we just clicked on the picture to tell it what we want to change, it's not very precise at all. Whenever I'm on video, usually the camera makes my skin look red and I want to take that redness out of my skin, I'm going to do it with the human saturation adjustment layer. Now, when you use that little hand icon which mine has turned on, remember because I've chosen this option which automatically turns it on. If I come over here and click within the image, it's not targeting the specific color that's in my skin instead, it is simply changing this menu to the closest color of my skin. So it's most likely going to choose reds. I'll do that, but it generically chose red after you've done that. What's really important is just that this menu got changed to a color. Now down here is what we need to look at these two color bars. Do you see what just appeared that appears whenever you choose a colour from the menu And these bars have two shades a light bar in too dark bars. Well now it's going to apply the full force of the adjustment to whatever is above the light bar and ignores brightness and ignores how colorful it just says, does it contain this base color or hue? If so it's going to get the full adjustment. Then when it hits the edges of the light bar, it starts trailing off and applying less and less and less. Once it hits here, it doesn't apply at all. Same thing on the other end, but that's generically pointing at read what's in my face might be more orange ish or a slightly different color. So here's how to be more precise after you've used the hand tool and you've clicked on your picture switch to this tool. That tool is going to center this on the exact color you click on. So when I click on the redness of my face, do you see it shift just a little bit this bit because that wasn't really read, it was more of a purple red, but these are spread really wide. So if I attempt to make a change to my face right now, like making it less colorful, you're gonna find pretty much my whole face changes. So let's learn how to be more precise. I'm gonna take these and smash them all together. That makes it so we're working on the narrowest range of color as possible, then I'll use the eyedropper to click on the red part of my face to get it to be centered on the color. I'd like to change now, I doubt this is working on a wide enough range of colours, but I can tell because I can't see anything on the image. So I'm just gonna make a radical change to one of these sliders. It doesn't really matter which one because it's not a change we're gonna keep in the end, just out of habit, I bring saturation all the way down just so I can see what part of the image would be affected. Then I grabbed the eyedropper with the plus sign when I use that one. I want to only click on areas that blatantly have full force of the color. I'm trying to change. So I'll click and I'll find a couple areas where I still see some of the vivid colors that I needed to change in my face, What that's doing is spreading apart to create a wider light gray bar. So those areas get the full force of the adjustment, then I still see a hint of the change out here, but it's not the full redness. I don't need the same strength out here as I do in the areas that are covered with gray. So the next thing I'm gonna do is move my mouse onto this area and I'm going to click but I'm going to choose undo right afterwards. The only thing I'm trying to do is in human saturation over here where these little bars are, I'm trying to figure out which side is going to expand is they're gonna get wider towards the right or water towards the left. So I'm gonna click here but I'm looking at hue and saturation when I do Okay, it went towards the right. And do you see how far it went? All right. I'll choose undo by typing commands. E I just want to pull now this end slider out about the same distance, and that means let this change fade out and applied less and less as it gets across those areas. Now my image looks weird, but the main thing is I don't notice my face being read. It just looks gray scale where it used to be read. So that's what we want. Now, we only move saturation down just so we could see where we do affect the image. Let's select the setting for that and type in zero. So we're back to normal now to get that to change. I'm just going to start with the bottom slider and work my way up. And I'll just ask myself in order to make the red areas of my skin look like I want them to, would I want to darken them or brighten them. If anything, I'd want to brighten them. So I'll do so then I'll ask for the next slider, I'll say that area that I wanted to change. If anything would I wanted to make it less colorful or more colorful and I would say if anything less, so I'll bring this down a slight amount then up here is where we get to change the color itself. And I'm just gonna move this slider around until it blends in. But I don't have to just guess this slider. It might be pointing at scion. That's because it always does. That's the default. But you don't have to think about scion. Just look at this bar and find red. Here's one spot where red is then find the color you desire, which I'm guessing is going to be more towards over here and just think about what direction did you have to move to get there in? By how far? Well that's what you need to do this slider. Just imagine that that slaughter was pointing at red and you need to slide it over to the color you want. So I'm just going to move this to the right. And as I do, I see that redness of my skin shift to the color of the rest of my skin and now I think it looks much better. So I'll turn off this eyeball, there's before and there's after. And the only thing I need to do is I see a red object that's out of focus in the background and I see my lips changing and I don't want them to. So I'll grab my paintbrush paint with black and I'm just going to paint over the areas that should not change including my lips I should probably use a softer edge brush there because it looks like I'm putting lipstick on and I'm not very good at it. Or I can type the letter X to exchange my foreground color and start taking it away. Uh if you ever do use too hard of an edged brush, then all you need to do is go over here to your tools. There's one that looks like a drop of water and it will soften edges. So just paint over that area as long as you're working on the mask and that will make it look as if you use the soft edge brush. So let's turn off this adjustment here is before and here is after. Now, you know how to be much more precise when using hue and saturation. The one issue you might run into is if the object you're attempting to isolate happens to be turquoise or scion the color you find at the ends of these sliders, because the problem is if you end up choosing up here science, the sliders actually go around the end. That's because this is really a color wheel that has been straightened out. The colors on the ends are identical. So you could bend that into a big circle and make a color wheel out of it. Here's a tip. If you come in here and hold down the command key that's controlling windows, you can scroll this to get whatever color it is you're working on in the middle. It doesn't change your adjustment, it just makes it easier to play with the sliders and get them positioned precisely.

Class Description


  • Precisely match the color of two objects
  • Change black objects to any color.
  • Add drama to dull overcast skies.
  • Apply multiple adjustments in a single adjustment layer.
  • Utilize uncommon settings such as Knockout.


Are you looking to up your adjustment skills so you can be more effective and efficient by utilizing a wider range of advanced features? Do you run into features in Photoshop that you do not utilize such as Knockout Deep, Knockout Shallow, Pass Through mode and wonder how you could utilize them? Then this class is for you.

Ben has been pushing Photoshop to its limits for over 30 years. Learn his best tips and tricks for getting the most out of Photoshop’s adjustments.

You’ll be able to tackle a much wider range of challenges once you expand the range of features you use on a daily basis. You’ll also reduce guesswork while increasing the precision of your adjustments.


  • People who are generally experienced using Photoshop, but want to push their skills to a more advanced level.
  • Those who want to tackle difficult tasks efficiently.
  • People who want to understand the more powerful and less commonly used features in Photoshop.


Adobe Photoshop 2021 (V22.5.0)


As a photographer, Ben Willmore has shot in all 50 states and explored over 80 countries. He has been pushing Photoshop and Lightroom Classic to their limits since the beginning. Ben is part of a select group of non-employees that Adobe trusts with pre-release beta versions of their software so he can have a voice in the future direction of their software. He has written more than a dozen books on digital imaging that have been translated into 9 languages, has written over 100 articles for major magazines, and was inducted into the Photoshop Hall of Fame. He has been a featured speaker at events on all seven continents where he has taught well over 100,000 people.

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Alicia Orth

I've been using Photoshop for years and still learned lots of great tips from this class. Would love to see more classes like this.

Eric Johnson

Terrific - lots of great information. Way to go Ben!

Marco Basile

Really enjoyed how succinct and sharp the presentation was. Great information I hadn't seen elsewhere. Thank you Ben.