Choosing Colors and Filling

Choosing Colors and Fills.

One of the most basic things to understand in Photoshop and vector creation is how to choose colors and create a fill.  There are many reasons why you should want to create a color fill and use color so let's talk about how to do it.

You can choose colors from your color and swatches palettes or by clicking on the master color display at the bottom of the toolbar to bring up the color picker.  When you choose a color from the swatch it will automatically become your foreground color. 

You can then go ahead and "fill" with this color by the shortcut (Alt or Opt Backspace), using the paintbucket, painting with a brush or using Edit: Fill and choose your options from there (ie. foreground color).  Note that on Edit: Fill the eyedropper/turkey baster will appear when you go outside the dialog box so you can choose any color as your new foreground color that is open within Photoshop (on any image).

When you have a foreground color selected you can paint with the paintbrushes in this color, use the gradient tool and also the paint bucket with your foreground color.  Depending on your gradient setting (foreground to background) the gradient tool will use both your foreground and background colors.

It is important to note that the colors you have in the toolbar display are what is going to be used.  You can change them at any time by clicking on either the front or back color and bringing up the color picker.  These are your foreground and background colors.  You can toggle between them by clicking on the arrow next to them to switch the colors back and forth.

If you want a fill (or even gradient or paint brush) to apply to a certain area on a layer you must first create a "selection" of an area on the layer which you want it to apply.  If you don't create a selection, a color fill will spread across the entire length of the document.  Try making some selections with a marquee tool on the "add to selection" setting and then do a color fill (ie. drop the paint in the area).  With separate selected areas you can use the paint bucket to fill each separate selection with a color.  If you go ahead and "fill" by the shortcut or the Edit: Fill command it will fill color across the entire selected areas.

When creating color fills you will want to create a new blank layer to go ahead and color, otherwise you will be adding color to a layer that you probably want to Not color fill.  I personally use the Swatch command to easily see what different colors I would choose from; it's just a lot faster for me.  Of course there are advanced options, you can load different swatch palettes, punch in actual color scale coordinates, etc. but at least you understand how to get going in choosing colors and creating fills- very important basic stuff to understand.

- Orion Williams copyright 2004



It's always free.

Sign up and receive

3 Free iPSD designs.





I respect your privacy & will never sell or release your information. You can unsubscribe at any time.


  Royalty-Free Photos By Subscription







Copyright Orion Williams & PhotoshopDesign.NET 2004

Adobe, Photoshop, and the Adobe Certified Expert logos are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems, Inc. in the U.S. & other countries.   Adobe Product Screen Shots reprinted with permission from Adobe Systems, Incorporated.

PhotoshopDesign.NET, iPSD,,, PSDer are all trademarks of DreamCore Productions, Ltd.

Screenshots reproduced with permission from Adobe Systems, Inc. USA and other countries

You are free to link to any of these tutorials or articles from your site as long as you you give due credit. 

Contact me for questions, praise or tutorial requests.  Though some designs are influenced by other sources, all designs you see are created by me in Photoshop.  Join the Free PSDer.