How to Change Color With the Magic Wand Tool in Photoshop

Written by nicole hamilton
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How to Change Color With the Magic Wand Tool in Photoshop
Select variations on a single colour with the "Magic Wand." (Goodshoot RF/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Photoshop's "Magic Wand" is the appropriate tool to use when you are making a selection comprised of specific colours and tones. When you want to change a colour in an image, you will first select it with the "Magic Wand," then adjust it using "Hue and Saturation" or fill the selection with colour. Correctly setting the "Tolerance" level of the "Magic Wand" is the key to achieving the results you want. "Tolerance" dictates how many shades the tool will select based on the initial colour you chose.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Open your image in Adobe Photoshop.

  2. 2

    Click and hold the "Quick Selection" tool to reveal the "Magic Wand."

  3. 3

    Go to the "Options" bar, and adjust the "Tolerance" setting. A higher setting will select more tones, while a lower setting limits the number of colours selected. The default setting is "32."To select only one colour, set the "Tolerance" value to "0."

  4. 4

    Choose whether you want to select "Contiguous" pixels. When your check this option, the tool will only select neighbouring pixels. Unchecking the "Contiguous" option means the tool will select similar colours from all parts of the image.

  5. 5

    Click with the "Magic Wand" on a colour in the image to select it. Hold down "Shift" and click to add more pixels to the selection. Clicking while holding down "Alt" deselects colours. Work with the tool until the selection is as accurate as possible.

  6. 6

    Create a new adjustment layer by clicking the black and white circular button at the bottom of the layers panel, then choose "Hue/Saturation" from the pop-up menu.

  7. 7

    Choose "Window," then "Adjustments" to display the panel.

  8. 8

    Move the "Hue" slider to change the colour tone, and adjust the "Saturation" slider to increase or decrease the color's intensity. Click the "Colorize" option to remove the existing colour, and tint the photo using the "Hue and Saturation" settings.

Tips and warnings

  • Experiment with the "Magic Wand" tool's "Tolerance" by clicking in the image once. If the selection is too limited, deselect and increase the "Tolerance" value.
  • After selecting with the "Magic Wand," go to "Select," "Modify" and choose "Feather." Enter a pixel radius of between two and five in the dialogue box to soften the selection edges.
  • Alternatively, you could create a new layer and fill the selection with solid colour by choosing "Edit" and "Fill." Then adjust the layers opacity and blending mode to test different effects.

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