How to Remove All Colors in Photoshop

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Bernard Perron
@bernardperron
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Mastering Photoshop is by no means an easy task. The program offers a ton of features that may take some time and effort to figure out. If you're a beginner, you probably have a long way to go before you can experience Photoshop's full potential.

Even if you're not, there are always new tips and tricks to learn. Color management is a perfect example. This aspect alone has a wide range of features that will take time to go through.



At first glance, removing a color does not seem so complex. All you have to do is use the magic wand tool, choose the color you want to remove and press to erase, right?

Wrong. Try doing this and see what happens. Chances are you'll end up with lumps and blobs of color in some intricate picture elements.

So what can you do?

Well, there's a neat little feature that you'll find really useful ā€“ the Color Range tool.

Removing all colors with the color range tool

The Color Range tool lets you select and manipulate a subset of colors in an image. Once you've set your selection, you can replace or delete it in just a few steps.

It's not exactly the easiest feature to use, but it's handy and you can get familiar with how it works after just a few repetitions.

To get started, open your image in Photoshop. The one you see below is a great example, as it has a lot of sharp edges, which are the Magic Wand tool's biggest enemy, as they usually end up containing the color you're trying to remove.



Once you have your image, it's best to duplicate the layer, as this will allow you to easily reverse mistakes. Also, it would be a good idea to zoom in on specific parts of the image so you can pick out the color more easily.

Once you've done that, go to Select > Color Range.

From here, you'll get a variety of options that you can tweak to effectively remove specific colors.

What you'll want to do here is select the eyedropper tool (the normal tool) and click on the color you want to remove. Then adjust the blur to match the precision of the selection. This adjusts the range of colors and changes the number of specific pixels that will be removed. This may take some trial and error, so feel free to experiment a bit.

Another thing you can do is to use the Localized Color Cluster option. It manages the space between the sample point and any colors that will be removed. This is handy when you have several elements of similar colors and want to include/exclude them from the selection.

Once you've adjusted all the settings, you can press Delete to remove all that color.

If you zoom in closely, you can see that it's not just the solid white color that has been removed, but also all of the gray areas and shadows. It doesn't matter if you want to remove a color from the foreground or the background, the process is the same.


After that, you can choose another color to replace the deleted one. All you have to do is create a new layer and add the new color. If you were successful in completely removing the selected color range, your new color should appear without smudges or patches.



One problem you might encounter is that some large black or white areas appear semi-transparent after you remove a certain color. It doesn't mean you made a mistake, and you can fix it easily.

With the color range selected, press Ctrl + Shift + I (Command + Shift + I if you're a Mac user) and create a new layer below the semi-transparent areas. Fill the layer with the color of the object that has lost its transparency, then merge the layers by pressing Ctrl + Shift + E (Command + Shift + E for Mac). This will return the image to normal and you can continue editing it.

The last word

It's not the easiest thing to do, but removing all the same colors from an image is certainly doable, and you can get used to these functions quite easily. After doing this several times, it will become intuitive and you will be able to do it in no time.


As mentioned, there are many Photoshop features that even the most experienced users might struggle with. If you want to know more about the program, share your questions in the comments below.

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