Say I have a texture/pattern (like this one from subtlepatterns), and I want to make it a specific colour. I know a number of ways to color it (mostly in PS), from overlaying it on a block of the color, adding a hue/saturation layer.. that way I can get it vaguely the right colour, what if I have a specific colour that I want it to mimic as closely as possible, say #e4caa5 as demonstrated here.

Is there a general process I can follow to keep the texture of the image on the left and apply the color on the right without too much trial and error?

finefabrictexture e4caa5

  • Can you elaborate on what you want this process to do? Do you want the lightest grey pixels to become your target color and the darker grey pixels to be a darker version of your color? Or should the average grey pixels match your color and the lighter and darker greys become lighter and darker versions of your color? Or should the darkest grey remain just-grey, and have a smooth gradient of application of your color between that and the lightest grey which is completely replaced by your color?
    – Sparr
    Oct 8, 2012 at 19:37
  • the average color. I've been able to achieve the desired effect on several combinations by putting the texture overtop, changing the blending mode to luminosity and then adding a brightness adjustment layer to the texture and sliding it until it appears to be the same overall brightness as the original colour. THe problem with the ones in the example is that the brightness difference is so great I can't get it to match while still keeping the texture
    – Damon
    Oct 8, 2012 at 19:42
  • So, the average color in the texture should match your chosen color. What sort of mapping should be applied between that average color and the other colors? That is, let's say the texture is mostly red with a few green areas and magenta areas, and your chosen color is blue. Should the texture-green areas be green or blue-green in the result? Should the texture-magenta areas be magenta or blue in the result? PS: I won't be able to give you a PS-specific answer, but if we can narrow down your precise requirements I can probably write an ImageMagick script, and someone else can adapt it for you.
    – Sparr
    Oct 8, 2012 at 19:46
  • The effect of a given pattern sometimes simply isn't achievable when the color moves either too light or too dark. Oct 8, 2012 at 19:47
  • Also, to illustrate another important case, consider a texture that is mostly 25%-grey with a few white and a few black areas. If your chosen color is 75%-grey, what color should the white and black areas end up?
    – Sparr
    Oct 8, 2012 at 19:47

3 Answers 3


An awesome way to precisely colourise anything? Gradient Map adjustment layers.

Given that your texture has tone, you'll need to decide which part of the texture you'd like to match to your main colour. With Gradient Maps you get to control everything, in a precise and reproducible way. They're great.

I've set the gradient up below so it includes your colour, with a darker version to the left and white to the right. By editing the gradient's colours and position of colours, you can dictate how much contrast you'd like and therefore how strong the texture appears.

enter image description here


My process for this in the past has been to average by eye.

  1. Open a doc filled with your desired color in one window.
  2. In an adjacent window, colorize the texture tile and eyeball the averaging.

The perceptual average is all the really matters here. Use whatever colorization method works best for you. Don't forget to check it on a few different screens (like you would anytime you're choosing a color).


I took your image with the subtle pattern, duplicated the layer, inverted the result, then converted that into a mask (as it's transparency) then saved the result as a transparent PNG.

-->TransparentPattern PNG<--

It's hard to see (on white) but if you load it as a tiled background with a background color as well, say green (or tan), it will look like this.

-->Green Sample<-- -->Tan Sample<--

So the trick is to create a semitransparent texture and save as a PNG then use it over a base color.


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