How would one pick or select all of a single color within Photoshop, Paint.NET, or The Gimp?

The objective is to edit everything with that color afterwards, such as by brushing over it with another color. So if I were to select a certain red hue of an apple, then brushed it over with pink, only all of the parts of the apple with that red color would then be pink. I could use the magic wand tool, but don't know if there's something that can scan the image for every pixel with that color.

  • 1
    This somewhat depends upon the image. Can you add a sample image to your question?
    – Scott
    May 10, 2014 at 21:07
  • I don't have one in mind. I'll think of something and add it. Thanks. May 10, 2014 at 21:08
  • Maybe i do not understand entirely, but can you not - in photoshop - select the colour then choose "similar". Is this what you want?
    – benteh
    May 10, 2014 at 23:37
  • Yes, that is what I mean. I don't have PS at the moment, but that would've helped out a lot in graphic arts. May 10, 2014 at 23:45
  • I am confused; did @Gramps answer your question correctly?
    – benteh
    May 10, 2014 at 23:57

4 Answers 4


Gimp - Select by Color

In Gimp we have the Select by Color tool (Shift+O) to allow a selection based on image color.

enter image description here

Select by Color - Threshold 0

By selecting a color difference threshold of 0 we will select only parts of the image with exactly the same color value (below shown for white):

enter image description here Image Source: Wikimedia

Select by Color - Threshold 50

To select similar colors we need to increase the threshold, in the example below light green with a threshold of 50 was selected. While keeping the left mouse button pressed on selecting we can adjust this threshold visually while dragging the mouse pointer.

enter image description here


This is a vague question so I'm just going to answer it with what I've used before.

In Photoshop:

You would use the eyedropper tool enter image description here shortcut I.

In Gimp:

You would use the color picker tool enter image description here shortcut O.

In Paint:

Also called the Color Picker Tool enter image description here

Imagemagick command line:

convert <image> -unique-colors -depth 8 txt:- > output.txt

Imagemagick PHP:

ImagickPixel Imagick::getImagePixelColor ( int $x , int $y )


  • Color Thief: The documentation for it is bad but there project is solid.
  • palette: Very simple tool.

More PHP:


To select a color, the Photoshop approach is to use Select > Color Range.... To positively select just a single color, either turn off Localized Color Groups or set the Range slider to 100%.

If your color is very well-defined and you don't need an anti-aliased or soft-edged selection, you can use the Magic Wand tool. Set the sample size (which you have to do via the Eyedropper tool in earlier versions of Photoshop) to 3x3 or 5x5 average, and click on the color you're trying to select.

If all you want to do is sample the color, then the alternatives Gramps outlined are correct, although I would again suggest you set the sample size to something larger than a single pixel if the image is jpeg compressed.



(the principle should be the same in other programmes)

I might have misunderstood, but you are trying to select all fields of one specific colour in an image?

In photoshop:

use the magic wand tool:

enter image description here

Select an area with the colour you want, fiddle with the tolerance depending on your image:

enter image description here

Right-click on the area you have selected, and choose similar from the menu:

enter image description here

  • The thing is that I want it to select every single color or one hue of the image and edit from there. May 10, 2014 at 23:51
  • If the above answer does not do the job for you, i do not understand what you want. It would be good if you could edit your question to elaborate a little.
    – benteh
    May 10, 2014 at 23:55

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