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Riesscar's Color Changing Tutorial


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Riesscar's Recoloring Tutorial

Greetings. I am making this brief tutorial because I get a lot of requests to change a pattern from one color to another and the like. The method I use is quite simple. This guide will be brief but hopefully it will help people make edits as they see fit. I will be using Photoshop CC, but PS CS6 has all of the same functions. I will be presenting a two methods, and I'll do my best to explain when I choose one over the other and why.

I. Hue/Saturation Adustment Tool and Selective Color Adjustment Tool

I was recently asked how to go about changing the colors of this sock so that the machester united bit was removed, the red was replaced with orange and the black turned to white:

First of all, socks are small textures. I find that it is best to first increase the image size to better isolate the areas. I prefer to work with textures slightly larger on anything smaller than 1024 horizontally or vertically. Socks are only 512x256px, so the first thing I would do is hit ctrl-i and make the dimensions 1024x512px:

Let's first remove the manchester united lettering. We could use the clone stamp tool, but in this case it is a linear change so I think I'll just copy (ctrl c) and paste into place (ctrl alt v) an area of the same width below and then move it up over the lettering. I'll select the rectangular marquee tool and drag it to select the area:

Now do the copy paste described above (it is important to use the ctrl-alt-v command as opposed to the ctrl-v, because the copy into place tells photoshop to paste it in the exact location from which it was copied). Now select the move tool just above the rectangular marquee tool and either grab the newly copied bit or just hit the up arrow on your keyboard until it covers the area:

Hit ctrl-e to combine the layers. Now lets change the colors. As you can see, there are already bits of white on this sock. So the first thing we need to do is to copy these areas onto another layer so that they are not affected by the changes. To do so, let's use my favorite method which is to go to 'select' in the top menu, and then choose 'color range' from the dropdown:

You will be presented with this screen. While in this screen, the eyedropper tool will be selected when you mouse over the texture. Select the white area (try and choose the whitest part... you don't want to click closer to the edge because the farther you are from white the more non-white the program will select. As you can seem there is a slider called 'fuzziness'. This determines how large of a range around the specified color photoshop will select. If I slide it all the way to the left, I can see that basically nothing is selected, but as I drag it to the right it will select a larger range:

Be careful not to go too far to the right with some textures, as photoshop will being to select areas that are pretty far from my sampled color. You need to continue adjusting this slider until you see that only your sampled color is highlighted in the preview window:

I ended up choosing pure white as my sampled color and so I was ok going all the way to 200 with my slider. This will change with every scenario, so you will have to play around with it. Hit ok, and the area will be selected:

Now I'll copy and paste into place (ctrl alt v) this area so that it is unaffected by future steps. (It is ok if a bit of red is also selected, because we can take care of it afterwards).

Lets do the same thing again, except that we'll choose black this time. Choose to select a color range, sample the black, and then adust the slider until the right area is selected. Again I think that we can safely choose to slide all the way to right, because we don't want any black areas to be left when we change the red to orange:

Again copy and paste into place. Now, in case any red area was incidentally selected, and because the two areas we isolated should not have any color (they are grayscale), lets open a hue/saturation adjustment layer for both, click the down arrow so as to only affect the layer below, and then drag the saturation slider all the way to the left (0%).

Now that we have these two areas on separate layers, we can adjust the base layer without affecting them. Select the base layer (called backround) in the bottom right hand column of layers. Sample the exact hue you want the red to be, and then open a hue/saturation adjustment layer. Now click the box entitled 'colorize'. What you will see at first will not look like the color you want, I promise that... but, photoshop has changed the hue to the correct value. It is now up to us to increase or decrease the saturation and lightness until it mathes the color we want. A good method for doing this is to copy and paste a small sample from the texture you want to match over to our current one:

By doing this, we can play with the saturation and lightness values until the color blends so completely that you cannot distinguish it:

As you can see, although the copied orange box is still visible, you cannot see it. This tells me that I have adjusted to the correct color.

Now the rest it easy. We simply need to lighten the black layer to the degree we want, and -- if I guess leave the white as is (although I didn't ask what color he wanted the adidas logo, lol... I'll assume white). We already opened a hue/saturation adjustment layer for the black part or the sock, so lets reselect it. Because white is desaturated we can leave that slider at 0. Begin increasing the lightness until you have the white you desire. Note that I strongly advise against just sliding all the way to right. Pure white is pretty much never used in the game. You should come up with something like this:

Looking at it now, I think we shoud make the adidas logo black, so just select that adjustment layer and do the reverse of what we just did by decreasing the lightness until the correct darkness is achieved:

Now I chose a relatively difficult texture to alter because of the size and the the thin lines... but I did so on purpose. The second method is a lot easier, but is really only useful for the simplest of color changes, and it will not always be completely accurate. I often find myself fine-tuning the result using the method above. But here it is.


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II. Using the 'replace color' function

For this we are going to use a simpler texture to recolor. Lets say I wanted to make these arsenal shorts an aqua green color (not that I ever would):

First I'll choose the hue (or sample it if you are matching a color), and then click the box to open the color picker and copy the RGB color code:

Now close that and from the top menu select 'image -- adjustments -- replace color' and a familiar looking box will pop up. Now with the box still open, mouse over the textures and sample the area you wish to recolor (the eyedropper will automatically appear when outside of the box). You may need to ajust the fuzziness slider, but I am just going to leave it at max. Now click the box entitled 'result' below:

Notice that the RGB color code is already highlighted. This is where you will paste the code you copied before:

Upon doing so, the color will change to what is usually close to the correct color:

Now it is a matter of ajusting the saturation and lightness to get the desired color:

This method may seem a lot easier, and I suppose that it is; however, notice that it is not there are still dark bits around the adidas stripes. Moreover, it does not always choose the right hue, which requires doing the process a couple of times. If it works, great, but if not I find the first method to be very reliable.