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Exact-Match the Colors of Two Objects

When you’re dealing with single colors, color matching in Photoshop is usually quick and easy. All that you have to do is make a selection of the object that you want to change the color of and save the selection. Then create a Hue Saturation adjustment layer and change the color.

For the following example, say that we want to color match the red glass so that it’s orange—like the glass next to it.

  1. Choose the Quick SelectionTool from the toolbar.Step 1 Choose the Quick Selection Tool
  2. Make a selection of the red glass, being careful only to select the colored portions of the glass. Alternately press and hold the Shift key to add to the selection or the Alt key to subtract from the selection.Step 2 Make a selection of red glass
  3. Right-click inside the selection and choose Save Selection.Step 3 Save Selection
  4. Name the selection. We chose Red Glass. Then, press OK. This is a great practice when making selections. If you accidentally delete the selection before you’re ready or need it again in the future, it will be there in the Channels tab.Step 4 Name the selection
  5. With the selection still active, create a Hue Saturation adjustment layer.Step 5 Create Hue Saturation layer
  6. In the Properties panel, check the Colorize box.Step 6 Check the Colorize box
  7. Use the three sliders to match the color of the orange glass. We made the following changes: Hue +39; Saturation +92; and Lightness -2.Step 7 Change slider values

It’s as easy as that for many color-matching situations with simple objects. In fact, we show you eight ways to change the colors of objects in Photoshop if you want to learn more about that. This will guarantee that you’ll have multiple approaches to color-match two objects in case this method doesn’t work for your images.

If you have multiple colors in a single object to match, you’ll have to make multiple selections and corresponding Hue Saturation layers to get the job done.

How to Match Two More Complex Objects in Photoshop

Color Matching Clothing example

One of the more common objects to color match is clothing. This can create problems because of possible variations in brightness values in the highlights, midtones, and shadows of an object. Let’s use the same method from the first example in the above image to see how it fairs.

Color Matching Complex With New Colors Added

Despite fine-tuning the sliders for minutes, it may not be possible to match the color of the jackets exactly. This is where changing the Blending Mode may help. We changed the Blending Mode to Color in the Hue Saturation layer and got a color that was brighter and matched better.

Changing the Blend mode to color

We then adjusted the Saturation and Lightness sliders to create a better color match.

Using Color Blend mode and sliders adjustment

How to Color Match Two Objects Using Gradient Maps

If you’re not happy with the results using a Hue Saturation layer, you may want to try creating a custom Gradient Map to color match two objects. You can learn how to create a custom gradient in Photoshop in our article discussing that. Let’s create a gradient map for the woman on the right and color-match the two jackets.

  1. First, make a selection of the green jacket using the Quick Selection Tool (as before).Step 1 Select Green Jacket
  2. Right-click inside the selection and choose Save Selection. We’ll name the selection Green Jacket and click OK.Step 2 Save Green Jacket selection
  3. Press for the keyboard shortcut to set the background and foreground colors to default.Step 3 Set foregournd and background colors to default
  4. With the selection active, create a Gradient Map.Step 4 Create Gradient Map
  5. Double-click on the Gradient Map in Properties to access the Gradient Editor.Step 5 Open Gradient Editor
  1. Under Presets, open the Basics folder and choose Black and White gradient (you can choose any gradient).Step 6 Black and White Gradient
  2. Left-click on the first gradient stop box on the left (representing blacks). Then click on Color just below Stops to summon the Color Picker (Stop Color) menu.Step 7 Open Color Picker Stops Menu
  3. You’ll see the Color Picker icon when you move the mouse. Left-click on the darkest point on the woman’s pink jacket. Then click OK.Step 8 Select darkest point
  4. Repeating Step 8, select points on the woman’s jacket ranging from the next darkest color to the lightest as shown. This will create a custom gradient from the shadows, midtones, and highlights.Step 9 Complete custom gradient
  5. Click on New to save the gradient. You can name the gradient or just click OK.Step 10 Click New to save
  6. Change the Blending Mode to Color.Step 11 Change Blending Mode to Color
  7. To fine-tune the color, you can add Curves or Color Balance adjustments. We’ll choose a Color Balance adjustment, since it’s easier to replicate values exactly.Step 12 Create Color Balance
  8. With the top Color Balance layer selected, click and press the Alt key to clip the Color Balance layer to the mask beneath. This way, the adjustments will only affect the jacket.Step 13 Create a clipping mask
  9. Choose ShadowsMidtones, and Highlights from the drop-down menu and adjust the sliders until the colors better match.Step 13 adjust Color Balance Sliders

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