Changing specific color regions in an image


Level: Intermediate (can be useful for advanced users)


This is a tutorial on changing specific colors in an image using the color range tool in Photoshop.

You can use this tutorial to easily change regions of color in an image to different colors. This can be very useful if you want to make a part of an image fit into the color scheme of the background or even just changing the color of someones dress or a clothing item.

Photoshop Version: CS2 (Can apply to Earlier versions up to Photoshop 7)


The first step here is to go to the menu [Select->Color Range].

Then click on the area of color in the image that you want to change. Here we are clicking on a red part of the women’s dress.

The end goal for this tutorial is to change the color of her dress.

You can use the plus and minus eyedropper buttons to add more regions of color to the selection. Here we are just using one sampling of red. Adjust the fuzziness. (The amount of similar colors to the one you clicked to add to the range. If you go higher it will select any kind of red, if you go lower, it will only select a ceartain amount of reds similar the the area of her dress that you clicked)

Click ok to see the selected area of the image. As you can see here, we selected her dress but her lips are close to the same color so they were selected as well. The next step shows you how to remove those areas that you want to leave alone.

Click on the “Edit in quick mask mode button on the toolbox. This will bring you into the “Quick Mask” mode which will allow you to edit the selection by using the brush tool.

All of the areas that are pink are the areas that are not selected. Select the brush tool and make sure your foreground color is black. Paint out the area around her lips and head. This will remove the selection from those areas.

Once you have done this, click the “edit in standard mode” in the toolbox. This will return you to standard mode where you can see the dancing ants around what is selected. You will notice that the area that you painted out is no longer selected.

Now you can do whatever you want with her dress because you now have it selected. Here I show you how to change her dress color from red to purple. Go to the Menu [Image->Adjustments->Hue/Saturation] and set the settings shown here. You can also experiment with the sliders to see what colors you can get.

Here is the finished dress showing the color has been changed.

Creating a realistic Photoshop flare (or Solar Flare)

Photoshop solar flare image completed

Level: Intermediate (useful for advanced users)


This is a tutorial on creating a realistic Photoshop lens flare. I have noticed lens flares being used in many designs especially in the recent years. I have figured out how to do one myself. I am not sure if this is the technique that has been used — but I have found it to work quite well for creating this effect. You can use this tutorial for any kind of flare, solar flare or light explosion.

You can use this tutorial to create many kinds of flares or light effects — all you have to do is start out with a different white object (As gone over later).

Photoshop Version: CS2 (Can apply to Earlier versions up to Photoshop 7 or versions of Photoshop with Radial Blur)


The first step is to create a new Photoshop document with a black background. It should be 5 inches by 5 inches at 300 dpi or a dpi that suits your needs.

The reason I suggest using this large of image size is so that you can reuse the flare as you need it. If your computers resources can not easily handle these steps with an image of the size I specified — reduce the DPI to 150 or even 72. I leave this up to you. (As a note though — you will have to slightly change the settings from what is shown below)

Next, create guides that show the center of the image. For an image that is 5 inches by 5 inches put a horizontal guide at 2.5 inches and then a vertical guide at 2.5 inches.

Blank black canvas

Next, create a new layer and using the eliptical marquee tool create a white circle in the center of the document as shown here.

For different flare effects you can make different shapes at this step.
Create a circle for the solar flare

Lock transparent pixels

Click on the layer with the circle you created and click the “Lock Transparent pixels” button which will allow edits only on the filled part of the layer.

The next step is to go to [Filter->Noise->Add Noise] and set the settings as shown here. (Amount: 400, Distribution: Gaussian, Monochromatic: selected)

Add noise to the circle

Next, click the “Lock transparent pixels” button again to unlock the layers transparent pixels.

Next go to [Filter->Blur->Radial Blur] and enter the settings as shown here. If your computer does not have a lot of RAM or is very slow — choose the “Good” option under “Quality”.

Next apply radial blur 10 more times by pressing [Control/Command + “F”] or by going to [Filter->Blur->Radial Blur] and applying the filter that many times.

You will start to get the looks of a flare here. After this there are still a few steps to get to the finish. Any steps from here can be altered to create your own style or color of flare.

Next, create a new layer and create a small circle of white using the elliptical marquee tool.

Then use [Filter->Blur->Gaussian Blur] and use the settings as shown here. This is what creates the bright light in the center of the flare.

Next, select the top layer and then at the bottom of the layers palette there is a button called “Create new fill or adjustment layer”. click this and then click “Hue/Saturation”.

This will add a new adjustment layer which will allow you to adjust the color of the flare without permanently affecting it.

Apply the settings as shown here (Hue: 211, Saturation: 52, Lightness: 0).

You can play with the settings to get a desired flare color or brightness.

The final file will look like this.

For the expert: You can put this flare into other images by deleting the background layer and doing a “Merge Visible Layers” which give give you an object to move to different photos.

I suggest you try different shapes at the beginning or try doing this effect with text.

I hope this tutorial is useful. Comment below if this tutorial has been helpful is or if you need additional help.

  Photoshop Solar Flare Layered File (3.3 MiB, 661 hits)

Preventing printer anomalies and banding



Level: Intermediate (useful for advanced users)


This is a tutorial on how to minimize printing anomalies like banding and odd color variations. Incidentaly, this tutorial covers some photo correction technique which can be very usefull for adding detail back to images.

Photoshop Version: CS2 (Can apply to Earlier versions up to Photoshop 7)


I have come upon a technique for reducing printer anomalies (Banding, color patches and ghosting) that is really quite simple.

When I say “banding” I mean where you visibly see color changes in a gradient or image as you can see here:

When I say “ghosting” I mean areas of light color around dark color areas which shows up when printing but not on screen. An example is shown here:

The main technique is to add enough noise. Adding noise to a gradient will reduce printer banding. This is also true for areas of solid color — adding a bit of noise can make the color print very even.

When it comes to photos, this technique can be used to give the appearance of detail. I use this after I have resized and color corrected a photo. It is amazing how effective it is in making the print a much nicer print.

Realize when I am talking about printing here, I am specifically referring to large format printers. The technique can be used successfully with other printers as well.

When you add noise, you want to add just enough to where it is just past visible. I will show you some examples here:

Noise added to a gradient:

Noise added to a patch of color:

Noise added to an image:

Additionally you can reduce ghosting by adding noise. Ghosting is where you can see lighter areas around dark patches. An example of adding noise to an image that might ghost when printed is here:

Experiment with your printer and different noise settings to see what comes out the best.

I have found this technique to be very helpful on my job as a designer. Hopefully this tutorial will help you as well.

Quality Image Cutouts

Level: Intermediate (useful for advanced users)


Have you ever tried to cut an image out of it’s background using Photoshop only to be dissapointed in the fact that it does no look good in its new background?

This is one way to do photoshop masking.

Here I go over 3 simple steps to make your cutout more realistic. This lesson was created for lower level users as well as advanced users. The technique used here to make the first selection is only used to keep the learning gradient easy. Advanced users would replace the selection steps shown below with what they know of with regard to making a selection.

Photoshop Version: CS2 (Can apply to Earlier versions up to Photoshop 7)

How to:

First select the polygonal lasso tool. Click and drag around the outside of the image you want to cutout.


Next use the lasso tool to cutout the inside parts of the image. You do this by holding [Alt/Option] and click with the lasso, then continue until you have covered the part you want to cutout. For this image you will need to cutout 2 places — the hole for the top ring and the hole for the bottom ring.

Next go to [Select->Modify->Smooth] and enter in a radius of 2 pixels. The radius is how much to smooth the selection. If the selection you made earlier is very jagged you might want to experiment with higher radius levels to smooth out the selection.

Next go to [Select->Feather] and enter in a radius of 1. This will blur the edges of the selection a bit and give it a more real look.


Next go to [Select->Modify->Contract] and enter in an amount of one pixel. This makes the selection a little tighter which also helps in making a nice cutout.


After you have done these steps, just copy and paste the part of the image you have now cutout.

The final image cutout looks like this:
Note: The grid you see in the back is used to denote transparency (Or Seethroughness) in Photoshop.

Mastering the Photoshop Toolbox


Master the Photoshop toolbox. Begin by knowing the basics.

I am writing this tutorial to try to provide an easy way to get familiar with the Photoshop toolbox without overwhelming you with technobable.

Level: Intermediate

Photoshop Version: CS2 (Can apply to Earlier versions up to Photoshop 7)

How to:

This is a multi-part tutorial on the Photoshop toolbox. I was trying to think of what the most important thing to know in Photoshop and, I didn’t really come up with anything, but it made me think of the toolbox as the solid base for learning photoshop for real. 

There are those that say they “know photoshop” but are they pro, can they move really fast and do what they want to do? Well, learning the toolbox is a great start to becoming a Photoshop speed demon.

First of all is: What is the toolbox? The toolbox is the window that contains the buttons that control what your mouse does, it also contains the buttons most used when working in photoshop.

I will now list and show each tool from the Photoshop toolbox and what they do. Then I will tell you how to master the toolbox. Note: the toolbox shown is Photoshop CS 2. But learning it will be very helpful, this would be true from Photoshop 7 and up.

NOTE: If you only see the first part of the toolbox tutorial, do not worry, I am working hard at adding more each day. There is a lot to cover.

I am sure you never thought this was part of the toolbox, clicking on the feather will take you to the photoshop website.     

This is the Marquee tool. The tool consists of a number of different ways of making selections. By selection I mean where you can select a part of an image and do something with it, like a filter, a color adjustment, etc,.     

You will notice there are 4 different types of Marquee tool. The first is the Rectangular Marquee Tool. This allows you to make rectangular selections. The same follows with the Elliptical Marquee Tool, it selects a circular area. The way you use this tool is click and hold down the mouse and drag. There is a lot more to cover about selections. I will write a tutorial on this at some time later.

This is the Move Tool, this is the tool you use to move objects around in Photoshop. It is the most commonly used tool. Use it by clicking and dragging items on the canvas.     

This is the Lasso tool. There are 3 different types of Lasso Tool. The regular Lasso Tool allows you to make a selection by dragging and drawing a shape with the mouse. The polygonal Lasso Tool allows you to click and then move your mouse and then click again at a different point, which you can do to create any kind of polygonal shape (a closed object with straight sides). The Magnetic Lasso Tool is special, you start out by clicking it once and then drag your mouse in any direction, the Magnetic Lasso Tool will follow the edges of an image (Where to different colors are contrasted) without you having to do anything.     

This is the Magic Wand. Sounds cool, well, it sort of is. The magic wand allows you to click in different areas of an image and select related colors to where you clicked. For example if you had an image of a person against a white background, you could click the white background and it would select the area around the person.     

This is the crop tool. This tool allows you to crop or cut the image to a different size. You can also use it to make the image larger. Click and drag the mouse to select a crop area. You can adjust it by dragging the handles (The little square boxes on the corners and sides that allow you to change its size).     

This is the slice tool. You use it for creating slices. Sounds repetetive unless you know what a slice is. A slice is a piece of an image. You would use this tool when you want to save the image as different pieces. It is normally used when designing we pages.      

To use the slice tool all you have to do is drag around an area of the canvas. The area you drag around is now a slice. You can later export these slices as individual images. 

The slice select tool allows you to edit existing slices, to use this tool you just click on the slice and resize it by dragging the handles that show up.

These are the healing tools. The first one is called the “Spot Healing Brush Tool” it allows you to clean up imperfections or blemishes in an area of color. Let’s say you have a person and they have a red spot on their face or a zit, then you could click on the zit with the spot healing brush and make it disappear. Make sure that the brush is somewhat larger than the blemish its self.      

The healing brush tool is the same as the spot healing brush tool in that it allows you to clean up a blemish or an imperfection, the only difference is that you have to select an area of the image you want it to use to replace the blemish. For example if you wanted to remove a spot on a car, you would go to an area of the car that is nice and “alt/option+click” the area, you could then click on the blemish and it should disappear.

The patch tool allows you to cover up larger parts of the image than the healing brushes. This is one of my favorite tools when it comes to taking something out of an image or removing some area of an image. All you have to do is to make a selection with any selection tool — or the patch tool (You would select the area you want to be replaced), then you would select the patch tool and drag the selection to a part of the image you would want to use to replace the old part of the image. When you let go, the area that was selected will be blended with the area you dragged the selection to. If you are cloning out a large part of an image, you don’t want to just use this tool. I will be writing a tutorial on cloning out images.

The red eye tool is for removing red eye. Too small functionality for a whole Photoshop tool. But here is how you use it: You just click it on the part of the eye that is red and the red eye will be handled, if you need to you might need to adjust the pupil size to get best results.

These are the painting tools — so to say, they allow you to add color to an image like you are using a brush or a pencil.     

The Brush tool has been in Photoshop for a long time. You use it by dragging it across the image. Do not underestimate the power of this tool. Some artists use this tool only to create stunning images. I will be writing a further tutorial on using brushes in Photoshop.

The pencil tool is for drawing lines. It is mainly used for drawing rough lines, as apposed to the brush which draws smooth edges.

The color replacement tool is a very useful tool for image correction. You use it like a regular brush, but it allows you to change the colors of the area you are painting. There are many settings for this tool which allow you to efficiently change the color of a specific part of an image without ruing the image itself.

These are the clone tools. Hailed as the best tool for removing parts of an image. This is not the case, these tools are best used in conjunction with the patch tool to create realistic effects from artificially removed parts of an image.     

The clone stamp tool allows you to take a part of an image and paint it into a different part. Hold down Alt/Option and click on the area of the image you want to use to paint with. Then start painting in the area you want to remove. By selecting “aligned” in the tool settings bar allows your set part of the image to copy from change as you paint. I will also be writing a tutorial on this as this is a special tool.

The pattern stamp tool allows you to paint an image by using a pattern. You just select a pattern to use and start painting.

These are the history brush tools, they allow you to paint back to some time in the images history. These tools can be very useful at times.     

To use the history brush tool select the part of the history you want to paint back to. (You do this by clicking the history brush icon to the left of the history state) and then start painting, the same image from history will be painted from the point that is selected.

The art history brush does the same thing as the history brush except, you can set paint like options, so that when you paint back the history, it looks like it was painted — or whatever visual effect you choose.

These are the eraser tools, they allow you to remove parts of an image. The most useful tool out of these is the regular eraser.

To use the eraser tool, just select a brush and start dragging around the are of the image to want to be erased.

The Background Eraser tool allows you to erase an area of color that is in the middle of the brush area without erasing parts that are not similar to the color in the middle of the brush. This may be confusing, here is an example: You have a soccer ball on grass and you want to cut the soccer ball out with the background eraser tool. So, you take the background eraser and start to drag around the edges of the ball, ensuring that the center of the brush is in the green grass part. This will erase the grass and leave the soccer ball untouched.

The magic eraser tool is like the magic wand, but instead of creating a selection, it erases. Get familiar with the magic wand and this tool will make sense. As a note, I find it to be a bad tool for quality cutouts.

These are fill tools. Used for filling areas of an image with color. 

The gradient tool allows you to drag over an area of an image and create a gradient. You use the gradient maker tool to create the gradient and then you click and drag on the image to create the gradient.

The Paint Bucket Tool is like the magic wand, but instead of selecting the image, it paints the image (Adds color)

OK, I am a busy man, but I will continue to add more to this tutorial. Someone told me they were reading it and they like it a lot. Feel free to write any comments. If you feel something is hard to understand or needs more clarification, comment here and I will try and fix it. More coming soon.

– Zach