When working with logos, graphics, or other files with a transparent background, there may be times when you’d like to change the color of the PNG. Photoshop allows you to change the color using two different methods. By using a Color Fill Layer or applying Layer Styles, you can effortlessly transform the appearance of your PNG images.
Remember that these methods only work if the image already has a transparent background. Otherwise, you may be looking to learn how to make a background transparent or learn how to select and change color.
Option 1: Change A PNG’s Color Using A Color Fill Layer In Photoshop
For the first option, you can use a color fill layer and a clipping mask to change the color of a PNG while leaving the background transparent. This method allows you to adjust the color again later after you’ve changed it.
Step 1: Open The PNG In Photoshop
First, you’ll need to have the PNG file open in Photoshop. If you haven’t opened it in a document already, click the Open button on the Photoshop start screen or head to File > Open, and then select the PNG from your files in the window that appears.
The image will appear in a new document and in the Layers Panel as Layer 1.
Again, this method will only work if the background of the PNG is already transparent. Like the example above, you can tell a PNG has a transparent background if the background is a gray and white checkerboard pattern.
Step 2: Add A New Fill Layer
Next, you’ll need to add a new fill layer so that you can change the fill color of the image. In the Layers Panel, click the New Fill Or Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the panel and select Solid Color.
This will open up the Color Picker window, and here you can either click a color from the options or enter the RGB or HSB values to select the new color of your PNG. When you’ve selected your color, you can click OK.
In the Layers Panel, you’ll see the New Fill Layer sitting on top of the Image Layer. The canvas will also be filled with your chosen color.
Step 3: Apply A Clipping Mask
Once you’ve added the color fill layer, you’ll notice it has changed the entire canvas to that color, including the background, which should be transparent. You can ensure the color only covers the opaque areas and not the transparent background by adding a clipping mask.
Head to the Layers Panel and add a clipping mask by right-clicking or Control + clicking the Color Fill Layer and selecting Create Clipping Mask.
The color will now only be applied to the parts of the PNG that are not transparent.
Step 4: Adjust The Color (Optional)
If you’d like, you can still change the color at any point by double-clicking the Color Fill Layer thumbnail in the Layers Panel.
The Color Picker window will come up again, and you can choose a new color. Click OK when you’re done.
You can also adjust the opacity by clicking and dragging the Opacity slider at the top of the Layers Panel.
When you’re finished, you’ll see the PNG in its new color.
Option 2: Changing The Color Of A PNG Using Layer Styles In Photoshop
The other way to change the color of a PNG is to use the Layer Styles panel and merge the original layer with a changed duplicate. This can help you maintain a copy of the original PNG while you work before merging the layers. Once again, make sure you’re working with a transparent background before using this method.
Step 1: Duplicate The PNG
Once you’re working on a document with the PNG file open, head to the Layers Panel and you’ll see the Image Layer. It is smart to duplicate the layer so that you have a backup. Duplicate the layer by right-clicking or Control + clicking the layer and selecting Duplicate Layer.
In the Duplicate Layer window, you can name the layer or leave it as it is and click OK.
The duplicated layer will appear in the Layers Panel above the original layer.
Step 2: Apply A Color Overlay
In the Layers Panel, make sure the Duplicated Layer is selected.
Head to Layer > Layer Style > Color Overlay. You can also double-click on the layer to open the Layer Styles panel and then open the Color Overlay tab.
The Layer Style window will open. Here, you can click the color swatch next to Color Overlay to open the Color Picker window. In the Color Picker window, click the color you’d like to apply to the image and then click OK.
Once you’re satisfied with the changes, click OK, and the image will change to the desired color.
If you’d like, you can also adjust the Opacity of the color by clicking and dragging the toggle on the Opacity Slider in the Layers Panel.
In the Layers Panel, you’ll see the Layer 1 copy with the Color Overlay effects underneath.
Step 3: Merge The Layers
Once you’re happy with the color of the PNG and are sure you’re done making adjustments, you can merge the layers by heading to the Layers Panel and right-clicking or Control + clicking the duplicated layer and selecting Merge Down. You can also delete the bottom layer if you don’t need it anymore.
This will combine the original layer and duplicated layer into one layer with the new color. In the Layers Panel, you’ll see there is just one layer now, Layer 1, containing the changes you’ve made to the color.
Now that you’ve changed the color of your PNG, you can save or export the PNG to your files. You can repeat the method whenever you want to change the color.
Both of these methods work to change the color of your PNG file in Photoshop quickly, but the one you choose comes down to personal preference. So experiment with each and see what you like best!