Affinity Photo allows you to change the colors of objects by using the Color Replacement Brush.
The Color Replacement Brush Tool replaces one color with another at your choice without affecting the details. The tool changes the color’s hue and retains the lightness. As a result, you preserve highlights and shadows.
The Color Replacement Brush Tool is useful when you have to do selective adjustments on relatively small areas of an image. It gives you full control over the pixels’ color and allows you to make subtle color changes without ruining the details and the overall quality of the image.
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How to Use the Color Replacement Brush Tool in Affinity Photo
In Affinity Photo, the Color Replacement Brush Tool is in the Paint Brush Tool menu from the Tools panel. When you select the tool, its parameters appear at the top of the screen.
The Color Replacement Brush Tool has many of the parameters of a regular brush such as Width and Opacity. As with all brushes, start with a set of parameters and make changes along the way.
The parameters of the Color Replacement Brush Tool are:
- Width – Brush size in pixels.
- Opacity – How much you can see through the brush strokes (from 0% full transparent to 100% full opaque).
- Flow – How fast is the brush applied (from 1% very slow to 100% very fast). It helps you achieve gradient brushes.
- Hardness – How hard are the edges of the brush (from 0% very soft to 100% very sharp).
- Stabilizer and Length – Enables or disables stroke stabilization and defines the corners’ radius.
- Tolerance – Determines how far from the original color a pixel has to be in order to be affected by the brush. (from 0%, the same color, to 100%, any color).
- Sample continuously – Switches between using the initial reference color and changing the reference color as the cursor moves.
- Contiguous – Switches between changing only adjacent qualifying pixels or all qualifying pixels under the stroke.
- More – Advanced brush options.
Select the color you want to replace by pressing the Alt key and clicking on a pixel with the right color. Then select the new color from the Color tab in the Studio panel. You can use the Color Picker, enter RGB values, or select a color from the palette.
Note: If you don’t have the Color tab activated, go to View – Studio and check Color.
Once you’ve set up colors and parameters, all you have to do is drag the mouse over the area you want to change. You don’t have to do the entire area in one move. Give yourself time to examine the results, zoom in, and change settings if necessary.
Practice with the Color Replacement Brush Tool
Choose an image and follow the next steps to change an object’s color using the Color Replacement Brush Tool in Affinity Photo. Don’t forget to use different layers to protect the original image.
Step One – In Affinity Photo, go to File and click Open. Then choose the image you want to edit. Zoom in and pan until you have the area you want to change in the center of the screen and as large as possible.
Step Two – Select the Color Replacement Brush Tool from the Paint Brush Tool menu in the Tools panel. The width of the brush should be smaller than the area you want to recolor and large enough to save you time. Leave Opacity, Flow, and Hardness at 100%, Tolerance at 10%, and Contiguous checked.
Step Three – Press Alt and click a pixel in the color you want to change. Then select the replacement color from the Color tab in the Studio panel.
Step Four – Create a new layer to which you’ll apply the changes. Although Affinity Photo saves changes in History, it can only redo a limited number of actions.
Go to the Layers panel in the Studio panel, right-click on the Background layer, and select Duplicate. A new layer will appear. Rename it because it will initially have the same name as the Background layer.
Step Five – With the new layer selected, start to drag the mouse over the area you want to change. You’ll see the changes almost immediately. It’s better to start with the center of the area and leave the edges for later.
Step Six – Edges can be tricky. Zoom in as much as possible and you’ll understand why. Edge pixels have slightly different colors and you’ll need the patience to get through. Zoom in and decrease the width of the brush and tolerance to be sure you’ll change only the pixels you want to change.
At this point you’ll see why choosing the image right is so important. Affinity Photo allows you to zoom up to 1000%.
Step Seven – While some edges require smaller tolerance, others need a larger tolerance. A larger tolerance means you’ll change colors that are far apart from the reference color.
Step Eight – Once you’ve finished changing the color of the object, it’s time for checkups. Zoom in again and pan along the edges looking for mistakes. The changes should be undetectable.
Once you’re happy with the result export the image in the format you need. You can have layers in different colors in the same project and export each layer individually.
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The Color Replacement Brush Tool is a tool with a specific purpose. If you want natural-looking results and high-quality pictures, you have to continuously verify edges, adjust parameters, and fix mistakes.