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Choosing color

From: Photoshop CS4 Essential Training

Video: Choosing color

There are number of tools and features that use color in Photoshop, so you'll need to know how to select a color. Down at the bottom of the toolbox we have two fields, the foreground color field and the background color field. Whatever color is showing in the foreground color field is the one that the Brush tool and other painting tools will use. So, right now if I come into this image and draw with the Brush tool, I get some red paint. There is also a background color here and that's used in combination with the foreground color for things like gradients. So here, if I select the Gradient tool and then I click-and-drag in the image, I am going to get a red to green gradient.

Choosing color

There are number of tools and features that use color in Photoshop, so you'll need to know how to select a color. Down at the bottom of the toolbox we have two fields, the foreground color field and the background color field. Whatever color is showing in the foreground color field is the one that the Brush tool and other painting tools will use. So, right now if I come into this image and draw with the Brush tool, I get some red paint. There is also a background color here and that's used in combination with the foreground color for things like gradients. So here, if I select the Gradient tool and then I click-and-drag in the image, I am going to get a red to green gradient.

I am going to undo that by pressing Command+Z, which is Ctrl+Z on a PC. If you want to get your colors back to their defaults, which are black and white, there are two handy shortcuts. The first is to press the D key on your keyboard, which gives you black as the foreground color, and if you want white as your foreground color, you press the X key on your keyboard. Now how do I get a color into the foreground color box? There are three different ways. I can use the Color Picker, the Color panel, or the Swatches panel. First the Color Picker.

To open the Color Picker I'm going to click once on the foreground color box. The foreground Picker is a big dialog box. There is a lot to it. I usually start here with this bar in the middle. Right now the bar is showing color arranged by Hue. As you can see here, the H for Hue button is selected. So, if I wanted to use say a blue, I would click-and-drag one of these handles on the bar up to the blue area and then I'd move over to this larger field and choose a shade of that blue. The color I've selected appears here in this large square on top of the last selected color.

And if I wanted that color, I could just click OK. But before I do let me show you that you can arrange the colors in other ways. If you prefer, you can see them arranged by Saturation, both here in the bar and here in this large field, where the colors are more saturated at the top than they are at the bottom. I can also arrange them by brightness of color and now you see the brighter shades of colors at the top and the lighter shades at the bottom. And we have some other ways of arranging colors here. RG and B stands for the RGB color mode, which is one system of describing color, and the system that is most often used when you're working on photographs in Photoshop.

Another color mode you may find yourself using is CMYK, which stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. This is the color mode that is used in commercial printing presses. You must often be working in RGB mode and if you want, you can click the R, the G or the B button to see colors arranged in different ways. Sometimes I'll do this just to get some ideas about which colors might look nice together. Once I've selected a color I'll just click OK here in the Color Picker and the color appears here in the foreground color box and I can now apply it to an image.

So for example, I might click on the Brush tool and just make a stroke here of blue. Another way to choose color is from the Color panel over here in this column of panels. Because this image is in RGB color mode, the color panel displays three sliders, one for each channel in this image, the red channel, green channel and blue channel. I can just drag these sliders until I see a color selected that I like. The color shows up here in the foreground color box in the Color panel and also down here in the foreground color box in the toolbox.

I can use the spectrum at the bottom of the Color panel to get in the general right here. So, if I am looking for a yellow I'll click here and then I'll now fine tune using these sliders. Finally, let me show you the Swatches panel, which provides another alternative for choosing a color. To use the Swatches panel, you just click on one of these color swatches and when you do, the color in the foreground color box in the toolbox changes. If you click the panel menu on the Swatches panel, you see that there are lots of other preset swatch collections here that you can load.

So, I'll just choose one at random. Do I want to replace the swatches that are here or add to them? I'll say okay, we can replace them and we have now some other less saturated colors to choose from. There is one more way to choose color that I really like and that is to use the Eyedropper tool. The Eyedropper tool is located over here in the toolbox. I am going to click on it and now when I come into this open image and I click anywhere in the image, I am sampling the color from underneath the point of the Eyedropper. The color I clicked on now appears here in the foreground color box.

This is a good way to choose colors that go with whatever image you are working on at the moment. So, those are four different ways that you can choose color in Photoshop to use with any of Photoshop's color related features. You have the Color Picker that you access from the foreground color box. You have your Color panel, the Swatches panel and your Eyedropper tool.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS4 Essential Training
Photoshop CS4 Essential Training

103 video lessons · 67559 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 31s
    1. Welcome
      1m 27s
    2. Using the example files
      1m 4s
  2. 25m 14s
    1. Touring the interface
      4m 25s
    2. Working with tabbed documents
      5m 15s
    3. Using tools efficiently
      3m 51s
    4. Arranging panels
      3m 53s
    5. Customizing keyboard shortcuts
      2m 50s
    6. Saving a custom workspace
      3m 0s
    7. Changing screen modes
      2m 0s
  3. 19m 3s
    1. Touring the Bridge interface
      6m 31s
    2. Opening images from Bridge
      1m 20s
    3. Reviewing images
      4m 42s
    4. Finding images
      6m 30s
  4. 44m 53s
    1. Setting preferences
      4m 23s
    2. Choosing color settings
      8m 11s
    3. Zooming and panning
      5m 27s
    4. Resizing and image resolution
      3m 17s
    5. Adding to the canvas
      2m 2s
    6. Rotating the canvas
      1m 44s
    7. Choosing color
      4m 49s
    8. Sizing a brush tip
      3m 4s
    9. Undoing and the History panel
      5m 0s
    10. Saving and file formats
      3m 29s
    11. Creating a file from scratch
      3m 27s
  5. 37m 58s
    1. Making geometric selections
      6m 14s
    2. Modifying selections
      4m 43s
    3. Combining selections
      3m 16s
    4. Using the Quick Selection tool
      5m 34s
    5. Refining selection edges
      4m 12s
    6. Using Quick Mask mode
      2m 18s
    7. Selecting with the improved Color Range command
      4m 32s
    8. Selecting with the Magnetic Lasso tool
      2m 28s
    9. Using the Background Eraser tool
      3m 7s
    10. Saving selections
      1m 34s
  6. 39m 56s
    1. Understanding layers
      5m 43s
    2. Creating layers
      5m 12s
    3. Working in the Layers panel
      2m 19s
    4. Locking layers
      4m 17s
    5. Working with multiple layers
      4m 6s
    6. Merging and flattening layers
      3m 55s
    7. Adding a shape layer
      4m 43s
    8. Basic layer masking
      4m 23s
    9. Using layer blend modes and opacity
      5m 18s
  7. 23m 19s
    1. Cropping
      3m 26s
    2. Straightening
      3m 17s
    3. Transforming
      4m 42s
    4. Working with Smart Objects
      6m 48s
    5. Using Content-Aware Scaling
      5m 6s
  8. 1h 10m
    1. Reading histograms
      4m 21s
    2. Using adjustment layers and the Adjustment panel
      6m 4s
    3. Adjusting tones with Levels
      7m 49s
    4. Limiting adjustments with layer masks
      5m 40s
    5. Using masks in the new Masks panel
      6m 9s
    6. Limiting adjustments by clipping
      3m 6s
    7. Adjusting with Shadow/Highlight
      5m 7s
    8. Adjusting with Curves
      7m 37s
    9. Adjusting with Hue/Saturation
      3m 42s
    10. Adjusting with Vibrance
      2m 16s
    11. Removing a color cast
      4m 26s
    12. Using the Black & White adjustment layer
      2m 39s
    13. Using the Dodge Burn and Sponge tools
      4m 11s
    14. Reducing noise
      2m 39s
    15. Sharpening
      4m 42s
  9. 38m 0s
    1. Using the Spot Healing Brush tool
      5m 17s
    2. Using the Healing Brush tool
      5m 51s
    3. Using the Patch tool
      4m 52s
    4. Using the Clone Stamp tool
      4m 8s
    5. Enhancing eyes
      9m 29s
    6. Changing facial structure
      5m 0s
    7. Softening skin
      3m 23s
  10. 44m 38s
    1. What's a raw image?
      4m 25s
    2. Touring the Camera Raw interface
      7m 35s
    3. Working in the Basic panel
      7m 54s
    4. Working in the Tone Curve panel
      2m 21s
    5. Working in the HSL/Grayscale and Split Toning panels
      3m 46s
    6. Looking at the other Camera Raw panels
      3m 45s
    7. Using the Adjustment Brush tool
      4m 2s
    8. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      3m 56s
    9. Working with multiple files
      6m 54s
  11. 21m 6s
    1. Using the Brushes panel
      8m 30s
    2. Filling with color
      3m 49s
    3. Replacing color
      4m 14s
    4. Using gradients
      4m 33s
  12. 16m 55s
    1. Working with point type
      9m 59s
    2. Working with paragraph type
      3m 17s
    3. Warping text
      3m 39s
  13. 25m 23s
    1. Adding a layer style
      4m 6s
    2. Customizing a layer style
      3m 35s
    3. Copying a layer style
      3m 5s
    4. Creating a new style
      3m 32s
    5. Using Smart Filters
      5m 22s
    6. Working in the Filter Gallery
      5m 43s
  14. 13m 14s
    1. Auto-blending focus
      4m 47s
    2. Creating Photomerge panoramas
      4m 2s
    3. Combining group photos
      4m 25s
  15. 23m 27s
    1. Creating an action
      7m 16s
    2. Batch processing with an action
      6m 36s
    3. Using the Image Processor
      9m 35s
  16. 29m 20s
    1. Printing
      11m 32s
    2. Making a contact sheet from Bridge
      6m 12s
    3. Creating a web gallery from Bridge
      7m 17s
    4. Preparing photos for the web
      4m 19s
  17. 30s
    1. Goodbye
      30s

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