I apologize if this question has been answered already, I'm not experienced with Photoshop and not sure what to search for. I'm using CS4. I have a grid made up of different layers, basically like a checkers or chess board, where each square is a different layer. I've decided to change the color of some of the squares. I'm trying to find the best way to do this.

It seems I can do this by setting tolerance to 0 on Paint Bucket, since my squares are monocolor. However, in the future they might not be. Is there another way to do this, besides selecting exactly the right pixels first?

I saw a suggestion that I can "lock" the layer pixels so that transparent pixels aren't overwritten. However, the options are not available in my Photoshop version.


4 Answers 4


Photoshop is vast so there are 12,000 ways to do everything, but here's what I would suggest:

If you are going to change the colors more than once, merge the layers of the same colored checker squares.

  1. In the Layers panel, click the first checker layer
  2. Ctrl + click each additional layer of the same color
  3. Right-click and select Merge Layers
  4. Select the newly created layer
  5. In your Layers panel, next to the word "Lock:" there is a transparent square icon called Lock Transparent Pixels click that. See the image below You should have this because I'm using CS3 and its there.
  6. With this selected, you can now change the color of your squares without losing transparency.
  7. Repeat as needed for checker layers for the other color

Screenshot of the layers panel


Have two layers dedicated just to the colors of the grid. (One for each color)

Then you can just change the color of that layer, and it will change the color of all of those squares at once.

Alternatively, you can place some squares into layer groups and then do adjustments on the layer group itself.


Put each of the layers you want to change into a group and add a hue/saturation adjustment layer to it. Make sure the colorize property is checked on. Each layer in that group will then change colors to whatever you set the adjustment layer to.

If you can't see your adjustment panel, just go to the menu and choose Window -> Adjustments. If you're using the Essentials workspace setting, it should be visible by default.

The benefit to using adjustment layers is that it's a non-destructive way to edit your image. That is to say you won't edit the pixels of the original artwork.

((edit: added the benefit of non destructive edits))

Adjustments Panel


In case you have the two types of colours in separate layer groups (i.e. they are not intermingled in the layer list), then I'd create a new layer above the ones you want to change and fill it with the colour you want. Then use this layer to create a clipping mask to all the layers in the group below that. i.e. the group which you want to have this colour.

I think you can do this for all groups separately (though the mask probably needs to be outside and immediately above the group).

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