I have an image on a single layer with various colours and I have several separate Hue/Saturation layers with layer masks based on those colours in the image. So for example, charcoal linked to a Hue/Saturation layer above it, targeted by a layer mask, then grey with a similar Hue/Saturation adjustment layer above it and light grey with the same.

This means the charcoal will have one Hue/Saturation alteration, while the grey and light grey will each have completely different Hue/Saturation alterations with their own adjustment layer.

This works fine, but if I change any of the colours in the image, the corresponding colour-range-matched Hue/Saturation layer will not update itself to match.

I’m guessing this can’t be done. Targeting the colours in the image with a colour range on the Hue/Saturation layer won’t work either since the image is greyscale. I need this to work with many different (but similar) images.

I tried using an action even though it’s not ideal, but it didn’t work at all since the colour range selected was fixed – I guess; it isn’t actually doing a colour range based on the colours of the image being used. Very odd.

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    Hi. Welcome to GDSE. It might help if you edit your question and post some images to show what you are actually trying to achieve. Show the starting image and then show what the result should be. Currently your questions reads like an XY Problem – Billy Kerr Aug 9 at 10:57
  • @Billy Kerr I found some results on here already and they were like this without images just descriptions of the problem, so I thought it was ok. It was the same at the adobe forum, all descriptions no images. Not sure what I would give images of even. You mean a screenshot of the layers? – Hasen Aug 9 at 11:57
  • I already told you what images to show. "Show the starting image and then show what the result should be." Without something to see, it's almost impossible to tell from words alone what effect you are actually trying to achieve. Also you are making an assumption that the method your are currently trying to use will work, when in fact it is not working for you. This suggests your entire approach may be the problem. – Billy Kerr Aug 9 at 12:23
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    I will close this question for now. Please edit it to be more clear about what you are trying to achieve, so it can be reopened. A picture is probably the best way, but you could also give us a bunch of HSL colour codes before and after your layer/effect/etc. or similar. In general, please edit any additional information into your question. (Also what does “the resulting image would be the same three shades of grey with different hues” even mean? All shades of grey have zero saturation and thus are unaffected by hue.) – Wrzlprmft Aug 10 at 6:02
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    Other users have already spent a lot of effort and have been extremely patient trying to guide you to explain your issue in such a way that we can help you. We do not ask you to show us pictures, previous attempts, and similar to make you jump through some pointless hoop. We do this because our experience with answering such questions tells us that this kind of information is what we lack to properly help you. – Wrzlprmft Aug 10 at 6:02

A Gradient Map might be suitable for your needs (although I don't fully understand your question).

It maps the values from a grayscale image to a color gradient of your choice.

Add the Gradient Map as an Adjustment Layer and the mapping is dynamically updated as you edit the image. No mask needed.

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    @Wolff - The OP is trying to do something (which he refuses to show) and which for some reason he thinks is too complicated to explain to us, but he is trying to fix his failure by trying to implement some imagined functionality that doesn't actually exist. He wants us to be able to make this non-existent functionality work in such a way as to fix his problem. This is the very definition of an XY Problem, and it's exactly why I refused to answer it. Nice answer by the way. – Billy Kerr Aug 9 at 13:45
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    Like @BillyKerr I was also a bit annoyed by the way you ask, but not by you personally. 😀 It annoys me because it doesn't seem like a fruitful way to achieve a result. "Can I use method A?", "No.", "Can I use method B?", "No.", "Can I use method C?", "No." ... If you instead asked: "I need to achieve this, what is the best method?", you would get a way better answer. No, you can't automatically update masks in PS, but there are so many other methods of dynamic filtering which might give you the same possibilities. It's not necessarily a "flaw" in PS, but perhaps in your approach? – Wolff Aug 9 at 14:02
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    Anyway, welcome to GDSE! I hope we haven't scared you off. At least now you've learned that graphic designers love screenshots. 😂 – Wolff Aug 9 at 14:16
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    @Hasen its not that text is bad. But the problem is that if your text isnt clear and you need to revise the text then you are failing. Atleast here you can discuss it. But on general stackexhange you need to make sure your wuestion is watertight. Anyway the problem here is that this is a XY problem and all people want to be able to give you an alternate solution instead, but your making it unconductive. – joojaa Aug 9 at 15:12
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    I'm sad to hear that you find this community unfriendly. That's not my impression. The way you ask your question and your reluctance to explain and illustrate the wanted result triggers this reaction. @BillyKerr, myself and others with years of Photoshop experience all sense that the method you are using is unnecessarily complicated and that there must be a much simpler way to achieve the wanted result. We've seen this phenomenon ("the XY problem") so many times now. I truly believe everybody just wants to help and just tries to "cut to the chase", which perhaps can be seen as disrespectful. – Wolff Aug 9 at 15:14

I will answer No, the way you have typed the question a layer can not drive an alpha channel. However, i'm not sure. Why? Because what you are asking for is generally non answerable. In general I can only answer with certainty questions that are in the set of things I know how to do . It awfully hard for me to glean into the set of things I don't know how to do (questions in set "No" are almost always in this set, since i don't know how to do things that can not be done). However in this case i base by assertion on the fact that being able to do this would:

  1. Break the core aim of how transparency is handled in Photoshop. IT would expose a lie that they really would want to perpetuate in name of ease of use.
  2. Cannibalize on their other products. A lot of alpha channel tool sets do not trickle down to Photoshop because it would cannibalize on After Effects sales.

This said there is most likely one of 2 nifty workarounds but you didn't ask and have made clear that you are not interested so i wont. (one s blend if mentioned)

Instead i will take you on your action idea. Yeah this can be done you just either need to work with Image -> Calculations... or you need to change the foreground color before you do color range selection because it uses that color as the selection regardless of what you recorded. It can also be scripted.

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  • Yes there is another way to do it, I was just about to post an answer to my own question but now it's been closed so I can't. You seem to be going crazy trying to emphasise that it can't be done in photoshop, no need, photoshop is missing countless functions, many that other drawing applications have and can do no problem. The colour range with actions is a bug in versions earlier than 20.0.7. Surprised nobody picked that up....although perhaps not that surprised considering. I already stated that I tried blend if and it didn't work... – Hasen Aug 10 at 6:07
  • @Hasen im not apologizing anything im just elborating that i can not answer things that have NO as a answer you can only infere therefpre i have to bas emy no on something. But this is more about you wanting a indirect modeler and photoshop being a direct modeller instead. Anyway i dont actually think photoshop is a good software for general pixel pushing, its just a good software for digital print perparation. Its really a medicore if not bad pixel manipulator, its medicore paintinig app, its a medicore image adjustment application, its really bad at keying etc. – joojaa Aug 10 at 6:13
  • "i can not answer things that have NO as a answer"....no idea what that means. Anyway, I think somehow everyone got so hung up on wanting to know what I wanted to achieve that they A. didn't realise this was just a simple question like "how do I save to png?" or "how do I reverse a layer mask?" etc...if you can't do it in photoshop, then you just say that...and b. nobody noticed that the actions option in my question, was not working for me due to a bug not present in a later version....literally anyone with any photoshop knowledge could have checked that and solved the problem... – Hasen Aug 10 at 14:59
  • @Hansen its not simple at all. I can only prove things true. This is why science can not disprove existence of god. For same reason I can not prove that photoshop can not do it because to do so i would need to know everything about photoshop. Since i dont i can only guess that photoshop can not do it. This makes it nearly impossible to get people to say you can not do it. No matter how trivial the question in Q and A most people wont answer it. Which is what counts. This is why everybody wants to modify your question into a form they can answer. – joojaa Aug 10 at 16:21
  • "This makes it nearly impossible to get people to say you can not do it." Lol, several people said it already in the comments above several times...it's very easy indeed to say that photoshop can't do it, but people seem to find it difficult to admit it for some strange reason...but a few people did after a while...people would rather try to change your question into something completely different rather than admit it's a feature missing from photoshop. Without this weird human behaviour they would have noticed the actions bug and solved the problem very quickly. – Hasen Aug 12 at 3:56

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