How to replace color in Photoshop to specific Lab color?


I know how to replace a color in Photoshop (by going to image -> adjustments -> replace color and selecting the color etc.) however I need to match specific Lab colors provided by my client in order to show the same product photo in a variety of different colors. Even though I put the specific Lab numbers after clicking the replacement swatch, it doesn't even come close to matching on my actual photo. The original base color of the photo makes a big difference in the end result.

Any suggestions or alternative methods on how to approach this would be much appreciated.


2/27/2015 12:50:00 AM

'Replace color' is legacy Photoshop tool and isn't among the precise ones. It is even more difficult to introduce it to the workflow because it wasn't implemented in adjustment layers. You can re-create it using modern layer approach:

  • Create a selection from source color with 'Color range' and refine it

  • Create color fill layer with destination color, current selection will be used as layer mask

  • Set its blending mode to 'Color'

This approach lacks lightness element from 'Replace color', but since it is generally not desirable to adjust the entire color range evenly, it is beneficial to make an additional level, gamma or brightness/contrast adjustment layer with the same mask to adjust the brightness manually.

It is still not quite correct to call it 'precise' method, because the results will vary greatly if you choose Lab, CMYK and RGB image mode (even if there are no gamut warnings, they all do color math differently). However, RGB will usually give you more natural results, but it is up to your and your client's taste. Take notice that you will lose level and gamma adjustment layers when converting between color modes.

3/2/2015 7:36:00 PM