In this video, you’re going to learn a step-by-step process for changing wall colors in Photoshop—the professional way!
Technique 1 – Changing Wall Colors with The Hue and Saturation Adjustment
In your Toolbar, use the Quick Selection tool and click-and-drag to select the wall you want to colorize.
If an unwanted area is included in the selection, hold Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS) as you click-and-drag on the areas you want to deselect.
To select more areas, just keep on clicking-and-dragging to include them in the selection.
Go to the bottom of your Layers panel and click on the New Adjustment Layer icon and select Hue/Saturation. Photoshop will then automatically create a layer mask based on the selection you made.
This means if you adjust any of the sliders in the Properties panel, it only changes the color within the selection. Feel free to experiment on the sliders and see how adjusting each slider can change the overall look of the color!
The only disadvantage of using this technique is that if you bring up the Lightness too high or too low, it can flatten the color and create an unrealistic look that can affect your whole image.
However, it is still conducive to reimagining how space or object looks in a different set of hue, saturation, and lightness.
Fine-Tuning Your Layer Mask
Since the selection was far from perfect, and so is the layer mask, you can adjust it by using the Brush tool and setting the Foreground color as white(#ffffff).
With the Brush tool, paint over the wall areas not included in the selection earlier. For example, the wall on the bedside table area is still gray and you can include it in the current layer mask by painting over it.
On the contrary, paint with the color black(#000000) if you want to deselect areas from the layer mask.
PRO TIP: To quickly increase or decrease the brush tip size, press the [ or ] key on your keyboard!
Create a Vector Work Path
Using the Hue/Saturation is the essential technique to change an object’s color, delete this adjustment layer to move on to an advanced technique that can create a more precise outcome.
It is known that using the Pen tool creates a precise selection. Especially since you are working with a wall that has a lot of sharp edges and straight lines, the Pen tool allows me to create crisp lines through a Vector Mask.
Click here to learn more about Vector Masks!
The Pen tool helps me create a Work Path, and from this path, it allows me to create a Vector Shape or a Vector Mask.
A vector object is created mathematically and produces smooth curves or crisp lines that are connected by points.
Since it does not consist of pixels, the quality of the vector does not diminish no matter how much you scale it up or down, and that is why this works best for logos, icons, web design elements, or on products in which there are no fixed sizes.
With the Pen tool active, create a vector path that traces the back wall’s shape. Starting from the top-right corner, continue to click on the other corners until you come full circle and come back to the original point, which closes the work path.
Convert the Work Path into a Vector Shape
Next, convert this work path into a shape from which it can contain the color of the wall’s shape.
Click on the New Adjustment Layer icon and select the Solid Color fill layer.
Right away, the area outside the work path is inverted. On the Color Picker window, select the right color for your wall.
Hue determines the color you can replace it with, and you can see the range of hue on the slider from orange to green and red.
Saturation determines the intensity of the color set on the Hue slider.
Meanwhile, Lightness determines how bright or dark the Hue is.
At the moment, you can see how everything outside of the work path is filled with the selected color but not the wall itself.
To invert the effect and fill the wall instead, go to the Options bar and click on this icon and select Combine Shapes.
Set Blending Mode to Color
With the basic principles of HSB in mind, we need to apply the hue and saturation of the blue onto the wall’s brightness.
To do that, click on the Blending Mode drop-down menu. As you can see, the list of blending modes is divided with a line according to their respective categories. To know more about blending modes, there’s a perfect tutorial just for you!
At the very bottom of the list controls the components of hue, saturation, and brightness (HSB). Namely:
Select the Color blending mode as this disregards the brightness and only applies the hue and saturation onto the wall. As a result, you achieve this realistic appearance that blends perfectly on the wall.
Create a Levels Adjustment Layer
Looking at the Layers panel, we have a vector shape made from a Solid Color fill layer, and use this vector shape to do two actions:
- Apply a color
- Mask an area
It is important to establish that this is not a vector mask, but you are treating it as a vector mask.
To show you an advanced technique, click on the New Adjustment Layer icon and select Levels.
On the Properties panel, dragging the black point to the right makes the pixels darker, and dragging the white point makes the pixels lighter. Meanwhile, the center point controls the contrast of the image.
Right below it is a slider that controls how dark the darkest pixels are, and how light the lightest pixels are. This only shows how the Levels adjustment layer can give you complete control of your image’s brightness.
If you want to make an extreme adjustment that only affects the wall, you have to make a selection out of the vector shape.
You can do so by holding the Ctrl (Windows) or Command (macOS) key as you click on the Vector Shape thumbnail on your Layers panel.
Then, delete the mask from the Levels adjustment layer and click the New Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to create a layer mask based on the active selection.
It looks fine but once you expand the vector shape by adding new points, the mask doesn’t change along with the new vector shape.
This adds more labor to you as you have to recreate a new vector shape for these two to match, and a good mask should be open to adapting new changes applied to it.
Clipping Mask Trick
If we apply a Clipping Mask, the Levels apply that adjustment directly to the layer below without affecting the Background layer, and unfortunately, this isn’t a good result.
Here’s what you can do for a better solution, double-click on the side of the Color Fill layer to bring out the Layer Style window.
On Advanced Blending, the box is checked for Blend Clipped Layers as Group.
If you uncheck the box, the Levels adjustment layer effect applies to all the layers below and within the selection. With this result, we can apply extreme adjustments to the Levels without affecting the areas outside of the selection.
Press OK to exit the window.
Now, if you also expand the vector shape, the mask also adapts to the changes and extends the effect towards the new area so you can expand or reduce the area as you go.
Going back to the Levels adjustment layer, start setting your preferred adjustments as you now have total control of the contrast and the brightness of the image that the Hue/Saturation layer cannot do for you.
Subtract From Shape
To refine the vector shape that only applies to the wall and not on the bed, you need to create a vector shape that subtracts from the current shape.
To do so, go to the Layers panel, select the vector shape you are working on, and select the Pen tool.
With the Pen tool, create a path around the areas you want to subtract from.
Once you have closed the path and it doesn’t subtract from the vector shape, go to the Options bar and select Subtract Front Shape.
When you create a path around the painting on the wall and select Subtract Front Shape, the selection is now deselected from the vector shape.
You can refine the edges of the shape by adjusting the sliders for the Density and the Feathering on the Properties panel.
In a certain situation, what happens if you create a vector path without applying it to the appropriate layer?
Let me show you by not having the Color Fill layer selected, but you are creating a new path using the Pen tool.
Once you have completed the work path, nothing happens, even though the Subtract Front Shape is selected.
If this accidentally happened to you, go to the Paths panel and make sure that the work path is selected.
Then, choose Window and check the Paths by clicking on it.
With the work path selected, press Ctrl X (Windows) or Command X (macOS) to cut.
On the Layers panel, select the Color Fill layer and press Ctrl V (Windows) or Command V (macOS) to paste and for Photoshop to mask it out.
Apply a Layer Mask to The Vector Shape
Since you are using a vector shape to color the wall and mask out areas you want to exclude, you can also use a layer mask to further mask out areas.
Right now, reflected light on the wall from the wall lamp is still in the vector shape, and a layer mask can be used to retrieve it.
Click on the New Layer Mask icon to create a layer mask.
Select the Brush tool and set black(#000000) as the Foreground color and use this to paint on the reflected light on the wall to retrieve it from the vector shape.
If the Brush tool effect is too intense, go to Edit > Fade Brush Tool.
The Fade command changes the opacity and the blending mode of the last tool that you used.
Since you used the Brush tool, its name is Fade Brush Tool, and you can adjust the Opacity until the light matches the composite.
Then, press OK to apply the changes.
Once again, subtract other parts of the image from the current vector shape. Select the vector shape layer from the Layers panel and select the Pen tool.
On the Options bar, make sure that you select Subtract Front Shape.
Then, trace along the edges of the bed to start removing it from the vector shape. If the edges are not perfect, just keep going as you have time to fine-tune it later.
For curved areas, long-click on the Pen tool, and select the Curvature Pen Tool on the drop-down menu.
Use this to hover over the existing paths to add a point, click-and-drag on it to bend the straight lines, and match with the curved edges of the bed and the bedside table.
Keep on repeating this step until you have entirely excluded every other object in the room, and the vector shape covers only the wall.
This may take some time, but with the Pen tool, you can guarantee accurate, sharp lines.
To organize each of the walls you have applied a vector shape to, place them all in one group and renamed it as “Color Change.”
Create a Channel-based Mask
There is an ornamental decoration on the right side of the wall that is hard to exclude from the vector shape.
To demonstrate how you can use a channel-based layer mask to select it from the vector shape, delete the applied layer mask so you can see how the color fill affects the layer.
On the Toolbar, select the Rectangular Marquee tool and select the area around the ornamental wall decoration.
Then, go to the original Background layer and press Ctrl J (Windows) or Command J (macOS) to place wall decoration in its layer.
Click on the New Adjustment Layer icon and select Solid Color.
On the Color Picker window, set white(#ffffff) as your Background color.
Go to the Channels panel, disable every channel, and enable one channel at a time to see which channel has a stronger contrast between the foreground and the background.
In this image, the Blue channel has a stronger contrast. Click-and-drag the Blue channel onto the New Channel icon to duplicate it.
An excellent point to remember is that Channels also function the same way as a layer mask: “White reveals, Black conceals.”
So to reveal, the wall decoration needs to be white and everything else to be black.
At the moment, the wall decoration is the darkest part of the layer, and invert this by pressing Ctrl I (Windows) or Command I (macOS).
Now, the wall decoration is white, but the wall is still grey. You can turn this into black by going to Image > Adjustments > Levels.
Using the same technique you used earlier, click on the black point and drag it to the right to darken the dark pixels further.
Then, drag the white point to the left to further brighten the bright pixels.
To load the white pixels as a selection, press Ctrl (Windows) or Command (macOS) and click on the Blue channel copy.
Then, click on the RGB channel to enable all the channel layers and bring back the original colors.
On the Layers panel, enable the Background layer and the Color Change group.
Then, add the new selection into the Color Change group and onto the layer controlling the right wall where the wall decoration is hanging on.
If you click on the New Layer Mask icon to apply the layer mask, the blue color to apply on the wall decoration instead and not on the wall.
When this happens, you can go to the Properties panel and click on the Invert button to invert the effect, and the blue color applies on the wall instead.
A faster way to do this is to hold Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS) as you click on the New Layer Mask icon to invert the effect instantly.
To adjust, select the Brush tool and set black(#000000) as your Foreground color and paint parts of the wall ornament to hide pixels and refine the layer mask.
With everything in its layer, you have total control of the color and luminosity of the wall.
If you want to change the color, just double-click on the layer thumbnail to bring out the Color Picker window and set it to color!