Recolouring in Affinity Photo | Complete Guide (2022)

Have you ever wanted to change the colour of an object in Affinity Photo? Maybe you want it to be blue instead of green, or black instead of red. This is possible by adjusting the hue and saturation values with some easy tools!

Affinity photo has a variety of adjustments that can be used for recolouring parts of an image. These include: Hue/Saturation, Recolour Adjustment Layers, Colour Replacement Brush Tool and others. For this blog post we will focus on how to use these features so your images are coloured just right.

Recolouring with an HSL Adjustment

HSL Adjustments are one of Affinity Photo’s easiest and most powerful tools for recolouring or refining the colours in an image. These adjustments are used to change the hue, saturation and lightness of a certain colour.

Like any other adjustment in Affinity Photo, an HSL adjustment works non-destructively, meaning that the original image is not changed as Affinity Photo automatically creates a new Adjustment Layer with its own layer mask. This allows you to go back and edit your changes, or even delete them if you don’t like how they turned out!

HSL Adjustments come with various settings that allow you to control the colours in your image. Affinity Photo’s default HSL Adjustment Panel contains a Hue, Saturation and Luminosity Shift section with various sliders that can be used for recolouring parts of an image.

To apply an HSL Adjustment, simply select the layer you wish to edit, click on ‘Layer’ in the File menu, ‘New Adjustment Layer’ and ‘HSL…’ or on ‘Adjustments’ and ‘HSL…’ from the Layers tab. Use the various sliders to change its hue, saturation or lightness of the image.

When picking a colour from the Colour Wheel, the changes you make will only be applied to that particular colour. For example if you choose the colour Red, only the red coloured parts of your image will be affected by the changes you make. If you wish to limit the recolour to particular parts of the image only, you can apply a ‘Mask’ and paint over the areas where you want to hide the HSL Adjustment.

As you make changes Affinity Photo will show you a preview of how your image will look. When you finish, click on the ‘X’ to close the ‘HSL’ tab.

Take a look at these images to better understand how to recolour in Affinity Photo using an HSL Adjustment.

Applying a Black and White Adjustment

Affinity Photo also includes a Black and White Adjustment that can be used to turn your image from any colour into black and white. This adjustment is also non-destructive and equipped with a mask in case you wish to limit the adjustment to certain parts of the image only.

The Black and White Adjustment has various settings that can be used to change how your image looks. You will see that each slider represents a different colour: Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue and Magenta. This means that as you move the sliders, the lightness value of these colours will be tweaked. If the slider is moved to the right, the colour will be lightened and if it is dragged to left, the colour will be darkened.

To apply the Black and White Adjustment, click on ‘Layer’ in the File menu, ‘New Adjustment Layer’ and ‘Black & White…’ or on ‘Adjustments’ and ‘Black and White…’ from the ‘Layers’ tab. The image will immediately turn into black and white. Use the various sliders to change how your image looks. Click on the ‘X’ when you finish applying the adjustment and adjusting the sliders. Experiment with the Black & White Adjustment Layer’s blend mode to create different effects.

As you can see in this example, applying a Black & White Adjustment is very simple!

Quick recolouring using the Colour Replacement Brush Tool

This tool is Affinity Photo’s fast and easy way of recolouring an image. It is perfect for quickly changing the colours in a photo without having to use adjustments such as an HSL Adjustment. Notably, the Colour Replacement Brush Tool not only changes a colour, but it also preserves details such as saturation, brightness as well as shadows and highlights of the original pixels.

The Colour Replacement Brush Tool is perfect for quickly changing a single colour in an image or small parts of an image. The Colour Replacement Brush Tool works by sampling a colour from the image and then replacing all the colours in the image that are the same as the sampled colour with the new colour you choose. It is similar to using a paint brush as you have to paint over the areas you wish to recolour.

The Colour Replacement Brush Tool can be found in the Paint Brush Tool menu from the toolbar at the left-side of your screen. Click on the small white arrow at the bottom-right corner to show the Colour Replacement Brush Tool. Select it and then choose the colour you want to use instead of the existing one.

You can change the size of the brush by clicking and dragging on the Brush ‘Width’ slider, or by using the keyboard shortcuts: [ and ]. By lowering the Tolerance and ticking ‘Sample Continuously’, Affinity Photo will change the colour of the pixels that are closest in colour to the sampled colour. This is perfect for when you want to change a specific shade of a particular colour. This ensures that the details of the original image will not be lost.

Take a look at these images to grasp how the Colour Replacement Brush Tool works.

Applying a Recolour Adjustment Layer

Affinity Photo also offers a Recolour Adjustment Layer that can be used to change the colours in an image. This adjustment is non-destructive and equipped with a mask in case you wish to limit the adjustment to certain parts of the image only. This adjustment creates a monochrome image using the full spectrum of colours.

The Recolour Adjustment has three settings that can be used to change how your image looks. These sliders allow you to control the Hue, Saturation and Lightness. While it is very easy to apply, the details of the original colours may be lost with this adjustment.

The Recolour Adjustment Layer can be found in the ‘Layer’ menu. Click on ‘New Adjustment Layer’ and then select ‘Recolour…’ or on ‘Adjustments’ and ‘Recolour…’ from the ‘Layers’ tab. Affinity Photo will immediately create a new layer with the adjustment applied. Use the sliders to change how your image looks. Click on the ‘X’ when you finish applying the adjustment.

Applying a Recolour Adjustment is super easy! See for yourself by looking at this example.

Changing the colour of a particular selection

Changing the colour of a particular selection in Affinity Photo is easy. There are a few different methods that can be used, each with their own benefits. Experiment with the different methods to find the one that works best for you.

To make a selection, simply use the Pen tool, the Selection Brush Tool, the Freehand Selection Tool or any other tool you prefer. For a detailed explanation on making selections in Affinity Photo, please check out our other blog dedicated to selections. Once you make the selection, simply choose one of the above adjustments or tools to change the colour. Affinity Photo will automatically apply the adjustment or tool to the selection only.

Changing eye colour

Changing the eye colour in Affinity Photo is easy. There are a few different methods that can be used to select the eyes. Experiment with the different methods to find the one that works best for you depending on the image you wish to edit.

One way to to change an eye colour is by using an HSL Adjustment. Once you have made the selection, you should apply an HSL Adjustment Layer and change the blend mode to ‘Colour’. This will give you more control over the eye colour and help to ensure that the details of the original image are not lost. You can reduce the Opacity and/or apply a ‘Shadows/Highlights’ Adjustment to achieve a more natural look.

Another way of changing an eye colour is provided in these three images.

How to change hair colour

Affinity Photo offers a few different methods for changing hair colour. The most effective method will depend on the image you are editing, the current hair colour, the type of hair and the results you wish to achieve.

You can use any Adjustment or Tool discussed above, however in my example I will be using the Recolour Adjustment. Start by selecting the background layer and applying a Recolour Adjustment and picking the colour you want. Adjust the ‘Saturation’ and the ‘Lightness’ slider as required and press ‘X’ when you are ready.

Since we want the effect to be applied only to the hair, add a ‘Mask’ to the Recolour Adjustment Layer and select the ‘Paint Brush Tool’. Pick the colour black and paint everywhere except for the hair. To include any flyaways, reduce the size of the brush and for tricky areas lower the ‘Flow’ percentage.

Another method would be to remove all the colours to start working on a clean slate. To do this, select the layer of the image and apply an ‘HSL Adjustment’ and bring the ‘Saturation Shift’ slider to -100%. Since we only want this effect to be applied to the hair, invert the mask by selecting the ‘Adjustment Layer’ and pressing ‘Ctrl’ (Windows) or ‘Cmd’ (Mac) + ‘I’. Now, to change the colour to red for example, simple hold ‘Ctrl’ (Windows) or ‘Cmd’ (Mac) and click on the HSL Adjustment Layer to load the hair as a selection.

In this example, we used an HSL Adjustment to change the hair colour.

Conclusion

Affinity Photo is the perfect software for any artist or photographer who wants to recolour images with ease. Whether you need to adjust the hue, brightness, colour balance, contrast and everything in between; this programme will do it all. The various tools available include HSL Adjustments, Black and White Adjustments, the Colour Replacement Brush Tool, Recolour Adjustments, among others. All of these features make editing your photos a breeze. If you have any question regarding recolouring in Affinity Photo, do not hesitate to write your questions below!

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