How to Change the Color of a Selection in Photoshop CS5: A Step-by-Step Guide

Changing the color of a selection in Photoshop CS5 is a straightforward process. First, make your selection using the lasso or marquee tool. Next, create a new layer and fill the selection with your desired color. Adjust the blending mode and opacity to blend the new color with the original image. Finally, use the eraser tool to clean up any edges or areas where the color change is not needed.

After completing these steps, your selected area will have a new color that blends seamlessly with the rest of the image.


Photoshop CS5 is a powerhouse when it comes to image editing, and one of the essential skills to master is changing the color of a selection. Whether you’re a professional graphic designer, a photographer, or just someone who loves to dabble in digital art, knowing how to alter colors in Photoshop can make a world of difference in your work. This skill is particularly useful for creating more visually appealing images, correcting color imbalances, or simply giving your projects a fresh look.

Changing the color of a selection allows you to isolate and modify specific parts of an image without affecting the rest of the picture. This can be incredibly handy when you need to change the color of an object, create a mood, or highlight a particular area. The process is not overly complicated, but it does require a bit of finesse to achieve natural-looking results. It’s a valuable skill that can enhance your creative expression and open up new possibilities in your image editing endeavors.

Step by Step Tutorial: Change the Color of a Selection in Photoshop CS5

Before diving into the details, let’s understand what we aim to achieve. Following these steps will allow you to change the color of any selected area in your image effectively.

Step 1: Make your selection

Use the lasso, marquee, or any selection tool of your choice to select the area you want to change.

Making a precise selection is crucial for a natural-looking color change. Take your time with this step and use the ‘Refine Edge’ feature if you’re dealing with complex edges or hair.

Step 2: Create a new layer

With the selection active, create a new layer to work on. This protects the original image and allows for non-destructive editing.

Working on a new layer is one of the best practices in Photoshop. It gives you the flexibility to make adjustments or start over without compromising your original image.

Step 3: Fill the selection with color

Fill the new layer with the color you want to use. You can do this by choosing the ‘Fill’ command from the Edit menu or using the Paint Bucket tool.

Choosing the right color is essential. If you’re aiming for realism, pick a color that would naturally occur under the image’s lighting conditions.

Step 4: Adjust blending mode and opacity

Change the blending mode of the new layer to ‘Color’ and adjust the opacity to blend the new color with the original image seamlessly.

The blending mode ‘Color’ only affects the hue and saturation of the image, leaving the luminance intact. This helps in achieving a more realistic color change.

Step 5: Clean up with the eraser tool

Use the eraser tool to clean up any areas where the color change is not needed or where the edges need to be refined.

Be gentle with the eraser tool. Use a soft brush and low opacity to gradually blend the edges for a more subtle transition.


Non-destructive EditingWorking on a new layer allows you to make changes without affecting the original image, meaning you can always revert to the original if needed.
Precise ControlBy using selection tools and adjustment layers, you can target specific areas and adjust the intensity of the color change with great accuracy.
VersatilityThis technique can be used for various purposes, from product photo editing to creative art projects, making it a versatile skill for any Photoshop user.


Learning CurveMastering the selection tools and understanding blending modes can be challenging for beginners and may require practice.
Time-ConsumingMaking precise selections and refining the color change can be time-consuming, especially for complex images.
Requires Attention to DetailTo achieve a realistic result, attention to detail is crucial, which might be overwhelming for some users.

Additional Information

While the steps above provide a solid foundation for changing the color of a selection in Photoshop CS5, there are a few additional tips that can elevate your editing game. For instance, playing around with adjustment layers like ‘Hue/Saturation’ or ‘Selective Color’ can give you even more control over the final look. Also, don’t forget the power of masks. Instead of erasing parts of the layer, use a layer mask to hide unwanted color changes; this way, you can always bring back parts of the layer if you change your mind.

Another key aspect is considering the light source and shadows in your image. If you’re changing the color of an object, make sure that the new color reflects the same lighting conditions as the rest of the image. This will help maintain consistency and realism.

Lastly, remember to save your work frequently, ideally in a file format that preserves layers, like PSD or TIFF. This safeguards against any potential mishaps and ensures you can revisit and adjust your work in the future if necessary.


  1. Make your selection with the appropriate selection tool.
  2. Create a new layer for non-destructive editing.
  3. Fill the new layer with your chosen color.
  4. Adjust the layer’s blending mode to ‘Color’ and tweak the opacity as needed.
  5. Clean up edges and unwanted areas with the eraser tool or a layer mask.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I can’t get a clean selection with the selection tools?

Try using the ‘Refine Edge’ feature to fine-tune your selection, or consider using a layer mask for more control over the areas you’re editing.

Can I change the color of multiple selections at once?

Yes, you can. Make all your selections while holding the ‘Shift’ key, then follow the same steps to change the color.

How can I revert to the original color if I make a mistake?

Since you’re working on a new layer, simply delete or hide that layer to revert to the original image.

What other tools can I use to change the color of a selection besides the ‘Fill’ command?

The ‘Brush’ tool is an option, as are adjustment layers like ‘Hue/Saturation’ or ‘Color Balance’ for more nuanced changes.

Can I use this technique to change the color of someone’s eyes or hair?

Absolutely! This technique is perfect for making subtle or dramatic changes to specific features like eyes or hair.


Changing the color of a selection in Photoshop CS5 is a quintessential skill that can dramatically impact the quality and impact of your images. Whether you’re making minor tweaks or significant adjustments, the steps outlined in this article will guide you through a smooth and non-destructive process.

With practice, patience, and an eye for detail, you’ll be able to manipulate colors like a seasoned pro, taking your Photoshop projects to the next level. Keep experimenting, and don’t be afraid to explore the wealth of tools Photoshop offers to fine-tune your images to perfection.

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