There are a few ways for changing colors in Photoshop, and it’s not hard to do it. But when you want to change white into another color, it won’t always look realistic. In this video, Unmesh Dinda of PiXimperfect teaches you how to turn white into any color and make it look natural. And what’s more, you can even use this method to turn white into black.
Turning white into bright colors
Turning white into any bright color is a bit simpler process than making it dark, so let’s start from here.
Step one: open your image in Photoshop and make a selection of the white area. You can use any method you like, and you can always refine the layer mask later.
Step two: once you’re done making the selection, create a Solid Color adjustment layer and choose any bright color you like. The result will look horribly unnatural, but worry not! When you change the blending mode to Multiply, you’re gonna get a pretty decent result. Sometimes, this may be the only thing you need to do, and other times you’ll need some more adjustments to get a natural-looking result.
Step three: from here on, you can also add a Curves adjustment layer and adjust the contrast. Keep in mind that you need to only apply Curves to the selection. The easiest way to do it is to group the Solid Color and the Curves adjustment layer together and apply the mask to the entire group. This way, any changes you make will only be applied to the white area.
I tried out this technique just for fun. I wasn’t making too much effort to make a selection, but the color is what’s important here. This is what I got when I turned a white shirt into blue:
Turning white into dark colors or into black
If you want to apply a dark color, you will also need to apply some highlights to it to get a realistic result. Keep in mind that nothing is completely black in the real world. So, don’t choose pitch black for the Solid Color adjustment layer, but rather go with gray.
The first three steps will be the same, but the final result may look a bit flat when you work with dark colors. So, it’s time to add some highlights.
Step four: create one more Curves adjustment layer on top of the one you previously created. Click in the middle and drag the point up to make the image brighter.
Step five: open the Layer Style box of the new Curves adjustment layer you’ve just created. Under the Blend If, go to the Underlying layer slider and drag the black point to the right. This limits the highlights but gives very harsh transitions. Hold the Alt/Option key and split the slider for smoother transitions. This makes the black area a bit “shiny” and adds depth to the image. You can repeat this once more if your image requires it.
Here’s what I got (once again, without being too meticulous about making and refining the selection):
Make sure to check out the entire video for more examples and a few more great tricks. Keep in mind that my results need some additional tweaks, but in general, this method seems to work pretty well.
[Turn White into Any Color in Photoshop (Even Black!) | PiXimperfect]