Photoshop is packed with tools that let you select all of the same color. While some of them are obvious choices to get the job done, others are still just as good (or even better) for selecting colors, but were originally designed for other purposes.
In this tutorial, we will show you several ways to select the same color in Photoshop.
Why Select the Same Color in Photoshop?
This is an important question to ask yourself before you use Photoshop to select a color. After all, how you decide to select the same color will determine how your image will appear at the end of the edit.
Additionally, your choice of color selection tools may require more work in Photoshop depending on your intended purpose. For example, if you’re selecting the same color in Photoshop to simply change it to another color, then you may choose specific tools for the task.
On the other hand, if you’re only selecting the same color in Photoshop to remove it entirely from your image, there are faster and more effective tools to do this.
We’re using the above image for all of our examples because there’s one main color we’re looking to remove from it: cyan.
To make matters slightly more complicated, there’s also blue in the mix, or at least some kind of gradient or silhouette effect that results in blue in places. But the approaches we’ll take will be exactly the same for selecting a single solid color.
You can download this image from Pexels to follow along.
Let’s get started!
We’ll begin with the most obvious choice. The Color Range tool in Photoshop is one of several selection tools in the Select menu. We will use it to simply remove all the cyan and blue from the background.
Once the image is loaded into Photoshop, go to Select > Color Range.
In the Color Range menu, make sure it says Sampled Colors in the dropdown menu. Set the Fuzziness slider to 0, and set Range to 100 percent. Click to select the Invert option, and set the Selection Preview to None.
Click on the +Eyedropper icon, which represents the Add to Sample tool. While left-clicking your mouse, trace around all the cyan in the image. You can also simply click in areas that you’ve missed. Everything colored Black is your selection.
- Next, let’s clean up any black specks from everything that is not cyan or blue in the image. To do this, select the -Eyedropper icon, which is Subtract from Sample tool.
As before, left-click and hold while tracing your mouse wherever you see black that isn’t part of the sky. Also, be sure to click inside the umbrella and on our subjects. You want this selection to be all White, as shown. Then, click OK.
Your selection will now be highlighted. Next, go to Select > Select and Mask.
At the bottom of the Properties menu, change Output To to New Layer with Mask. Then, click OK.
The cyan and blue colors have been fully removed from the image.
You can also use the Fuzziness and Range sliders in tandem with the sample tools to select the color(s), but for this example, it was more straightforward to use a more hands-on approach.
For this particular image, removing all the cyan and blue is very easy when using the Remove Background tool, which is nestled in the Properties menu. You’ll need a duplicate layer for this tool to be accessible.
Here’s how it works:
With your image loaded into Photoshop, press Ctrl + J to duplicate the layer.
Go to Window > Properties.
Under Quick Actions, click Remove Background.
Deselect the Background layer (bottom layer) by clicking the Eye icon so that only the selection is revealed.
Toggle the X key until white is the foreground color. Then, press B for the Brush tool.
- With the layer mask selected on the duplicate layer (top layer), paint White over everything except for the sky. Make sure Opacity and Flow are at 100 percent and a Round Brush is selected.
When painting with the Brush tool, keep these tips in mind:
- The Brush options are located in the top menu bar in Photoshop.
- Use the  bracket keys to make the brush larger or smaller for better control.
- If you paint on the sky, toggle the X key so the foreground is Black, and simply erase the sky.
- Use Ctrl + + and Ctrl + – to zoom in and out.
What we end up with should be the exact same result as the previous method, with both the sky’s cyan and blue hues completely removed.
One of the quickest methods for selecting all of the same color in Photoshop, at least for an image with a blue sky, is the Sky Select tool.
Here’s how it works.
With your image loaded into Photoshop, go to Select > Sky.
Since we want to save everything but the sky, go to Select > Inverse.
Go to Select > Select and Mask.
Choose the middle brush, the Refine Edge tool, and paint red over the area next to the subject’s neck (on the left side). Also, paint red over the cloud to select it.
Change the Output To to New Layer with Layer Mask and click OK.
The end result is two layers with the sky completely removed. If there are touchups needed, you can click on the layer mask and paint in black or white to fill in the details.
In addition to the Sky Select tool, there is also a sky replacement tool in Photoshop that lets you swap your existing sky for another one.
Technically, this method isn’t making a selection as much as it is simply erasing the cyan and blue. You may laugh at how ridiculously simple and effective this tool is compared to the other methods so far.
Keep in mind that this is a destructive editing workflow. Therefore, depending on how you intend to use the image, you may want to duplicate the layer first by pressing Ctrl + J to save your original layer.
With your image loaded into Photoshop, click on the Eraser tool menu or Press E for the standard Eraser tool. Select the Magic Eraser Tool.
Click all around the sky regions of the image until most of the color is gone. Don’t worry if you can’t select all the sky. We will address that next.
From the Eraser tool menu, select the Eraser tool.
Simply paint over the rest of the sky to make the selection completely transparent.
The resulting image should look exactly like (or very similar) to the rest of the examples we’ve covered so far.
Believe it or not, we could keep going on with these tutorials. But all of the following tools use similar methods that we’ve already demonstrated here, primarily making use of layer masks and using the Brush tool to clean up.
Other tools for selecting the same color in Photoshop include the Vibrance tool, the Focus Area tool, and the Subject select tool.
All of these tools will select the same color in Photoshop and only vary by the number of steps they take. However, we’ve still shown you the best ways to get the job done for our example image.
There’s More Than One Way to Do Things in Photoshop
Deciding which tools and methods to use when selecting the same color in Photoshop needn’t be daunting. Often, it will boil down to what you can do in the least amount of time.
The more you use and experiment with the tools in Photoshop, the more likely you’ll discover alternative uses for them. You may even discover your own unique way to select the same color in Photoshop when faced with new challenges.
Photoshop’s default sepia presets don’t always cut it. Here’s how to create your own custom sepia effect instead.
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