How To Change Shape Color In Photoshop

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After creating a shape in Photoshop, you might not have the right color that you’re looking for. Luckily there are a variety of easy ways to change the color of any shape you create. From solid colors to gradients, there is a ton of options to suit your style. Let’s start things off with the most basic way of changing the color of a shape in Photoshop.

To change the color of a shape in Photoshop, select your shape layer in the Layer Panel, then press U to activate the shape tool. In the upper settings bar, a “Fill” option will appear. Clicking on the Fill setting, pick a new color from the provided color swatches to apply to your shape.

This easy method allows you to change the color of a shape in seconds, but this only covers the tip of the iceberg. So let’s dive into this process more in-depth to provide you with the most color-changing options!

How To Change A Shape’s Color In Photoshop

Step 1: Create A New Shape Layer

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here and start changing colors before you have a shape!

Press U on your keyboard to access the shape tools or find it in your toolbar to create a new shape.

There are various shape tools available in Photoshop, from circles, rectangles, triangles, and custom shapes. To locate these different tools, click and hold on the shape tool icon to reveal the related tools.

Alternatively, you can press Shift + U to cycle through the different shape tool options.

With your desired shape tool selected, click and drag out on your canvas to create a new shape. This will add your shape to your canvas and create a new shape layer in the Layer Panel.

If you are having a hard time creating a shape like shown above, make sure your tool mode is set to “Shape” in the upper settings bar.

Step 2: Select The Shape Layer In The Layer Panel

This should be done automatically if you just created a new shape on your canvas. If not, simply click on the shape layer to select it indicated by the highlight.

Step 3: Select The Shape Tool

With the shape layer selected, ensure that the shape tool is active to reveal your color fill and stroke options in the upper settings bar.

Step 4: Click The “Fill” Setting In The Upper Settings Bar

Now you will see a “Fill” and “Stroke” setting in the upper setting bar. As long as your shape layer is selected, you will see the active colors displayed here.

To change the general color of your shape, click on the Fill option.

A panel will reveal itself with various preset color swatches and a list of your recently used or sampled colors. These provide a fast way to find a solid color to add to your shape.

If you don’t see the color you want, click on the color picker option in the upper right corner of this panel.

In the color picker that appears, you can select the perfect color to fill your shape with. Then, once you’re happy, press OK to apply the color to your shape.

After changing the fill color, your shape will have a brand new color applied!

Step 5: Click The “Stroke” Setting In The Upper Settings Bar

The stroke setting controls the outline color of your shape. In this example, I do not want an outline around my shape. The steps below will share how to make the outline transparent. To learn how to outline anything in Photoshop, check out this tutorial.

Clicking in the stroke setting, select the white box with the red line through it to make the outline invisible. This way, you will only see the fill color of your shape.

Step 6: Admire Your Shapes New Color!

With these easy steps, you have now successfully change the color of your shape in Photoshop.

How To Change The Color Of A Rasterize Shape In Photoshop

To change the color of a rasterized shape, create a new color fill layer by going to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color and set your desired color. Placing your fill layer above the shape layer, add a clipping mask to the color fill layer to fill the shape with your new color.

If your shape is rasterized, the method in the previous section will no longer work. Luckily using a color fill layer provides an easy workaround for this issue.

After rasterizing a shape, you are left with a single rasterized shape layer in the layer panel. Now you need to create a color fill layer above this shape.

To create a new color fill layer, go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color. From the options that appear, rename your layer to stay organized, then select a color you want to add to your shape. Don’t worry; this can be changed later.

With a color chosen, make sure that your color fill layer is above the shape layer in your Layer Panel.

Now right-click on the color fill layer and choose Create Clipping Mask.”

The color fill layer will become restricted to the shape it is clipped to and replace the original fill color.

If you want to change this color later on, simply click on the color fill layer icon to open the color picker and select a new color.

This is another easy way to change a shape’s color in Photoshop that comes in handy when working with rasterized shapes!

How To Fill A Shape With A Gradient In Photoshop

To fill a shape with a gradient in Photoshop, create a new gradient fill layer by going to Layer > New Fill Layer > Gradient. Once your gradient fill is made, place it above the shape layer, then right-click on the gradient layer and choose “Create Clipping Mask” to fill the shape with a gradient.

Let’s break this down more in-depth.

First, create your shape layer using the steps mentions earlier in this article if you have yet to do so. Then go up to Layer > New Fill Layer > Gradient to create a new gradient fill layer.

In the gradient fill panel, you can choose between a wide range of gradient options and access the gradient editor. For the sake of example, let’s create a new gradient.

First, click on the Gradient Editor.

Then open the “Basic” folder and select the “Black, White” gradient preset.

In the gradient preview, double click on the black and white color swatches to change their color. In this example, I will switch my gradient to something more colorful, then click OK to exit the gradient editor.

Now you can choose the settings for how your gradient appears. I break down each of these settings more in-depth in this tutorial, so I will keep it brief here.

Since I want a gradient that transitions in a line from one color to another, I’ll select the Linear Gradient option. I’ll then adjust the angle to change where my gradient is coming from.

Once you’re happy with the adjustments you’ve made, click OK to exit the gradient fill options.

Now your gradient will take over your entire canvas, but not to worry! Clipping masks are here to save the day. Simply right-click on your gradient fill layer and select “Create Clipping Mask.”

Now the gradient will only be visible inside of the shape layer it is clipped to, effectively filling your shape with a gradient in Photoshop!

If you want to edit your gradient fill later on, you can double click on the gradient layer fill thumbnail to adjust your settings.

How To Make A Shape’s Color Transparent In Photoshop

To make a shape’s fill color transparent in Photoshop, select the shape layer in the Layers Panel, then select the Shape Tool (U). In the upper settings bar, click on the “Fill” option and select the white color swatch with the red line through it. Now your shape’s fill color is transparent.

This can be extremely useful if you only want the outline of a shape rather than one filled with solid colors.

To give you a better understanding, let’s break the process down step by step.

First, select your shape layer from the Layers Panel or create a new shape if you haven’t already.

Now access the Shape Tool to reveal the shape settings in the upper bar. From the options here, click on “Fill.”

Inside the panel that appears, you will notice a white color swatch with a red line through it. This represents transparency, so when it’s selected, the color of your shape will be invisible.

At this point, your shape is entirely transparent, but let’s add an outline so we can use this shape for something. Clicking on the “Stroke” option, select any color to outline your transparent share with. Then adjust the stroke width to change the thickness of the shape’s outline.

Now you’re left with just the outline of your shape that’s perfect for stylizing your images with!

Using the steps you learned throughout this post, you now know how to change the color of a shape in Photoshop like a pro. From solid colors, gradients, or transparent shapes, it can all be done in just a few clicks!

Happy Editing,

Brendan 🙂

Photo of author
I'm a Canadian photographer and photo retoucher turned founder of bwillcreative.com. Around here I help you to decode the mystery of photo editing with no-fluff videos and written guides to help you achieve your creative goals. Outside of shooting photos and my passion for educating, you'll find me mountain biking or on the trails with my dog, Sunny!

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