Color Replacement & Mixer Brush Tools in Adobe Photoshop

Color Replacement Tool

You will find the color replacement tool under the brush tool fly-out menu if you click and hold brush tool icon. This tool is used when you need to replace colors somewhere on your design or artwork in a specific range of hues.

You can hold down your “alt key” on the keyboard to sample from your source or select the color from your swatches.

After selecting the color replacement tool, up in the option bar (refer to pic below) we have “Brush Preset Picker” where you will see the size, hardness, and spacing etc. Color replacement tool does not have some of the custom brushes that we have in our usual brush tool.

How does it work

As you drag this tool over the image, this tool will sample color from the pixels under the cursor. And that color will be replaced by the current foreground color. For example, in a photo, there are green pixels, and we if drag our tool over it while keeping the foreground color is as yellow then the area that has green pixel will be converted to the yellow pixel.

To change the foreground color simply click on the foreground color swatch at the bottom of the toolbar.


If we keep moving to the right side of our options panel above we will see that the next icon is “mode”.

There are different types of the mode in color replacement tool for like hue, saturation, color, and luminosity. So, choose this mode carefully depending on your artwork.

“Hue” mode is generally used for images that are more intense. It doesn’t change the saturation and brightness of the object.

“Saturation” mode only changes with the object’s saturation values, hues and brightness are generally unaffected.

“Color” mode only changes hue and saturation of the object, while other values remain unchanged.

“Luminosity” mode matches the brightness of the original color with the brightness of the new color.


This means how much different a color can be from the sampled color to replace it with the foreground color.  More the tolerance is, more different will be the colors. 40% tolerance usually works well with every image. But you can change it as per your requirement.

Next option is sampling “continuous”: It is the default option, and it means wherever you’ll click and drag the tool over the image it is going to sample continuously, not just once.

Sampling “Once” In this option, the tool will only sample color once unlike the continuous option.

If you have a specific range of colors you want to replace then you just have to click on that area to replace it.

Sampling “Background Swatch”: In this option, it is only going to effect within a range depending on the tolerance of the background color that you’ve selected.

Next in our option bar is “limit” in which there are three types of limits:

Discontiguous:  This option allows changing the color of any pixels that match the sampled color and comes under the boundaries of the cursor.

Contagious:  This is a default setting in color replacement tool and this option allows us to replace the color of only those pixels which comes under the “center of the cursor”. It won’t affect the pixels that match the sampled colors.

Find Edges:  This option is quite similar to “contagious” but it’s better at detecting edges.

The last option in this tool is “anti-alias” and this option is checked in the default setting. It helps to smooth out the edges of the area where we are applying the color replacement tool.

Mixer Brush Tool

This brush is just like a traditional artist brush and in fact, you can load the brushes with little paint and a lot of paint, you can add multiple colors to the brush and all those things. This brush option is very beneficial for anyone who likes to paint digitally.

So, up at the top options menu bar, you can see some of our default brushes just as if we had our brush tool selected. You can resize the brush and change its opacity just like our regular brush tool. For color, you can select from swatches and if you hover your cursor on the right size, you can see an icon called “load the brush after each stroke”.  And it’s almost like you are dipping the brush back into the paint to load it again with more paint.

Another option adjacent to it is “clean the brush after each stroke” means it just to clean any paint that you’ve picked up from other colors on the canvas and it will clean off the brush when we will release the click of the mouse.

There are many presets like dry, dry load, dry heavy etc. For example, if you chose “wet” then

Photoshop will set it to 50%, and load which means how much paint will be there it will also be set to 50%. The “mix” which means how much it will mix is also set to 50% and flow is usually 100% which is the amount of color coming out of the brush stroke.

Sample all layers: In default settings, this option is usually unchecked. And if you check it then it will pick up colors from all layers.

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