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Changing the Colours of a Selected Area of your Photo

Changing the Colours of a Selected Area of your Photo

There are times when you might want to change the colour or adjust some part of your photo, for example, to adjust the brightness of the blue sky in your photo, or remove it completely, or you may wish to change the colour of a flower, without affecting other parts of the picture.

With MAGIX Photo & Graphic Designer this can be done with ease using the Colour Select and Erase feature.

The Colour Select & Erase tool serves two purposes; to erase (make transparent) parts of photos based on colours, and secondly, to allow only those colour-selected areas to be adjusted using the Photo Tool Enhance operations (such as Brightness, Blur, Hue Adjustment, etc).

Download the trial version of MAGIX Photo & Graphic Designer and I will show you how easy it is to change colours of parts of your photo like this…

flowers 4

Open up MAGIX Photo & Graphic Designer and then drag a photo onto the page. With today’s digital cameras your photo is probably going to be quite large so select to import it in a reduced size. If you need to adjust its size, select the photo and drag on the corner handles.


The flower photo showing the Colour & Erase tool selected from the Photo Tool flyout bar

Erasing the Colour

Colour Select and Erase iconSelect the Colour & Erase tool from the Photo Tool flyout bar and then simply click on the part of the photo you want to erase or select. This will place a small round black marker on the photo and immediately all parts of the picture containing the colour at the click point are erased and show a checker-board background. In fact, this erases not just the exact color you clicked on, but also a range of closely related shades of that colour. This is because real-world objects in photographs are never just one precise colour, but typically a range of shades, from light to dark.

It’s typical that to fully select all the shades and closely related hues, you may have to place several selection markers on your photo as with the complex flower that I am working on. To increase or decrease the range of related shades that are selected use the Colour tolerance slider and the Fade slider controls on the Infobar.


The image on the right, shows the red flower has been erased (the white page background is showing through). You can see it has also selected the other red flowers in the background. In fact, all parts of the photo containing these red shades will be erased.

You can adjust the size of the marker (when in the Colour select & erase tool) using the small red resize arrows around the selected marker to change the area of colour that is averaged to create the selection colour. You can drag to re-position the markers, and press the Delete key to remove a marker. When you think you are done, choose the Selector tool to select it and you will see the erased/selected parts of the photo. If you drag the photo around the page you’ll see the background through the erased parts.

Making changes to the selected area
Now return to the Colour select & erase tool and select the ‘Make soft mask’ button on the Infobar to go into Mask mode which will display all the non-selected/erased parts of the photo in pink – these are the masked parts that will not be affected by subsequent photo changes. Note that the ‘Make soft mask’ operation is a one-way operation. Once the mask has been created the colour selection points are lost, so ensure that you are happy with your selection before taking this step. Of course you can Undo to get back to the colour select mode to make any changes.


Enhance photo iconNow go into the Photo Tool and select the Enhance control. I want to change the colour of the flower so I select the Hue control then select the colour and then adjust its strength value. You can also adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation, etc.

Enhance options

The first time you make a change to any enhance slider the mask mode is cleared so you can better see the whole photo (but the mask remains operative) – all subsequent changes of the Enhance controls will now only apply to the non-masked areas.

Notice that the colour of the other flowers has also changed to match the new colour and that the colour balance has been retained throughout.

flowers 4

The wide range of shades of the flower colour, from light to dark, have been re-colored, but the green leaves have not change.

The wide range of shades of the flower colour, from light to dark, have been re-colored, but the green leaves have not change.

Below are a variety of examples of colour changes using the same simple technique:

  1. Using the Colour Select & Erase tool, place your markers
  2. Select the ‘Make soft mask’
  3. Use the Photo enhance tools to adjust the selected colours on your image.

This simple technique of erasing colours and using that area as a selection can be used to enhance parts of photos such as to brighten or add more contrast.

Finally, in my example I wanted to change all the red flowers in the photo to be another colour, but you may want to restrict the colour selection to just a portion of the image. This is easy. Just make sure that before you start the colour select, that you mask the part of the image that you do not want to affect. You can do this using the Region Select or Mask Painter tools (This is the Mask Painter tool)

mask painter tool

Here are some more examples of the colour select in action. In all cases, after I’ve selected the colour I’ve used the Hue Adjust control to change the hue of the selected regions.


MAGIX Photo & Graphic Designer is the most flexible and time-saving all-in-one creative tool that provides a range of photo, graphic design and DTP functions. At an unbeatable value for money cost, it’s ideal for private and professional use: at home, in clubs, in academic institutions, and at work.

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