Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Digital Chameleon

There are so many things I really like about digital scrapping, but one of my absolute favorites is the ability to recolor items, so I thought I'd talk about about how you can recolor digital items in today's blog post (and thanks to Merilyn for asking about this topic!).

Disclaimer, the information provided in this post was all done using  Adobe Photoshop 5 and should work in most  versions of PS and PSE, if you're using different software, look around for options to change or adjust Hue & Saturation.

Why Recolor?
If you're new to digital scrapping, you might be thinking, "Why on earth would I want to recolor something?" Well, let's say you're working on a layout and you need a blue fiber to make it perfect, but you've got this awesome looking yellow fiber that you wish you had in blue - easy, peasy - just recolor it! Here's how…

  1. Open the element that you want to recolor (I'm using some of the fibers from the Sorrento digital kit for this).
  2. Drag the element onto your layout. I prefer to drag the element to the layout I'm working on before I start the recoloring process. This is for 2 reasons - 1) so that I don't recolor the original by mistake, and 2) so that I can better match the color to those in the layout I'm working on. For this tutorial, I'll be working on a plain white background.
  3. Make sure the active layer is the element you want to recolor.
  4. Open the Adjust Hue Saturation Dialog. In Photoshop, it's Image -> Adjustments -> Hue/Saturation… or Ctrl-U (Windows) or Command-U (Mac).
  5. Starting with the 'Hue' slider, move the slider to the right or left and see how the color changes on your element. Experiment with the 'Saturation' and 'Lightness' sliders until you arrive at a color that you like. You'll need to 'play' a bit to get the results that you want. Remember, you can Cancel, Undo, or delete everything and start again if you don't like the changes - you won't ruin anything!
  6. Once you're satisfied with your results, click the 'Okay" button to accept your changes.

Now wasn't that easy?

Okay, so that's the basics, but there is a bit more to cover. If the item that you want to recolor is white, or very pale, you'll have better luck if you check the "Colorize" box before you begin adjusting the sliders. The downside to checking this box is if you have a item that is multi-colored, it becomes monochromatic.

Okay, one last thing to cover before I let you go and try these things for yourself. With a little extra work, you can recolor only part of an element - just use the magic want tool to select the colors that you want to change (hold the Shift key to select multiple sections). Once you've selected all the necessary parts, open the Hue/Saturation Dialog box and adjust the sliders - only the highlighted parts will change color.

So that's the basics of recoloring. Don't be afraid to experiment with changing colors in digital scrapbooking - these techniques work on background papers, fibers, clusters, alphas - any digital elements that you have in your stash! Now go make something digital and embrace your inner chameleon!


  1. This is one of those reasons why I just love digi scrapping! It is so easy to just change the color of something, no inks, paints, or dyes involved! Thanks for the great tutorial Ron. :)

  2. Thanks Ron - glad everyone suggested this topic!! I will try it!


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