Recoloring Semi-Transparent Objects

Changing colors of semi-transparent objects can be tricky.  When recoloring these types of objects, they can go from vibrant to flat easily.

Here is a MetamorphosisAccent in pretty, soft, and subtle pink colors.


If we want to change the color of this we could apply a color overlay, but it looks pretty flat and “muddy.”

You could try experimenting with a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer, but if you know you want a specific color, here’s an easier way to get, as well as keep the pretty texture in the original piece. I am working in CC 2017 but this technique works in Photoshop Elements as well. (PSE instructions at the end of this tutorial).

  1. Add a Black and White Color Adjustment Layer to the element.
  2. Clip the adjustment layer to the Accent.
  3. Add a Solid Color Adjustment layer. The Color Picker will open.  Choose the color you want to use. I chose Aqua (Hex 419e8d).
  4. Clip the Color  Fill layer to the Black and White Adjustment Layer.
  5. Change the Blend Mode of the Color Fill layer until you get the look you want. The Mode you use will depend upon the color of the paper you are using as well as the color that you are using on the accent. In my example, Color Burn worked perfectly.

In our final result, we can see the texture, as well as the variations in color.

So many kits have beautiful Blendables, Accents, and/or Stamps. Sometimes they aren’t necessarily in the colors you need for a specific layout. Try recoloring them to suit your needs! Don’t forget you can also use Gradients when applying this technique.

PSE users:  You do not have a Black and White Color Adjustment so you will need to go to the top menu bar: Enhance > Convert to Black and White. Then follow the rest of the instructions as stated above.

I hope you find this tutorial helpful.

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Comments (13)

  1. Renee

    Thanks Karen, love how easy this is to do! And how you explain it in such easy steps. And you’re right I have many splatters and blendables 🙂

    July 27, 2017 at 12:46 pm
  2. Michelle

    Awesome! I just tried it and it worked!!!

    July 27, 2017 at 2:01 pm
  3. Peggy S

    Excellent! Of all the ways to recolor, I never tried that one! Thank you!

    July 27, 2017 at 4:30 pm
    • Karen

      Yes, there are soooo many ways to recolor! Love this one. Fast and easy and works great for those semi-transparent items! Thanks, Peggy.

      July 27, 2017 at 4:36 pm
  4. Peggy S

    Oops, when I went in to PSE to try it, I was reminded we don’t have a blk/wht color adjustment layer. So I did a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and slid the saturation all the way to 0, then added the color fill layer, clipping it, and color burn blend mode. I got a better result that way than by changing the original to blk/wht directly through convert to blk/wht for some reason. So it would work for us to use Hue/Saturation, reducing Saturation to 0 so it is grayscale, then adding the color fill layer.

    July 27, 2017 at 4:45 pm
    • Peggy S

      Hmm, others are saying it is working for them. What am I doing wrong?

      July 27, 2017 at 4:49 pm
      • Karen

        You’re right, Peggy! I forget that PSE users don’t have the B/W Adjustment Layer. I used the Enhance > Convert to Black and White feature. I’ve adjusted the tutorial to reflect that. Thanks for bringing that to my attention! You are the master of PSE!

        July 27, 2017 at 5:17 pm
  5. Sharron Nance

    Thank you, this is a great recoloring tutorial, but the pdf file no longer exists.

    July 28, 2017 at 10:29 pm
  6. I’ve never tried it either. What FUN WAS THAT!!!! Answers to several “wanted to use that” but decided not to puzzles!
    Thanks, Karen. ..Another super tut.

    July 29, 2017 at 1:31 pm
    • Karen

      Thanks! So glad you enjoyed it!

      July 31, 2017 at 10:28 am
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