Take for example this file. I would like to make it as easily as possible for someone to grab it and change the hue from red to any other color, quickly and without losing the luminosity variation applied by the original gradient.

I desaturated the endpoints of the gradient then inserted a color overlay fx. After that I tried different variations of layer modes on this fx and also on the other 3, but it didnt produce the same result...

Is this even possible?


Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer above your "Button" layer.

You can add the layer either from the toolbar: LayerNew Adjustment LayerHue/Saturation…

Or clicking the adjustment layer button from the bottom of the Layers window and then choosing Hue/Saturation…. The button is a diagonally split black & white circle:
adjustment layer button

The changes in the adjustment layer will affect the gradient effect on the "Button" layer.

Your outcome could be, for example:


A whole different approach would be to adjust the gradient effect so that it fades from (partially transparent) black to 100 % transparent and maybe, in addition, tweak its Blending mode:

gradient example

The upper knobs adjust the gradient stop's opacity and the lower knobs the stop's color.

As Alan mentioned you should now change the shape's Fill back to 100 %. Also you might notice that plain 0 % black to 100 % black gradient might look too harsh, so you could either

  1. Tweak the color stops' opacities or …
  2. Tweak the whole gradient's opacity to get the desired effect.

As you probably are trying to mimic shadow/lighting effects, it might be a good idea to change the gradient's blending mode to either any of the shadowing blends (from Darken to Darker color in the list) or one of the blends specifically designed for lighting (Overlay to Hard mix). Here I'm using the gradient with 30 % opacity and Multiply blend:

gradient effect example

Then one could change the color of the whole layer by just changing its fill. Problem is, in your case, the other effects as well: a red color is defined also in Inner shadow and Stroke.

Consider changing the Inner shadow's color to white, reduce its opacity and change the blending mode to one of the either bleaching (Lighten—Lighter color) or, again, lighting blends. Say, white inner shadow with 40 % opacity and blended with color dodge could do wonders in your case.

Stroke, on the other hand, doesn't affect the colors of the layer it is applied to but it's background i.e. the layers beneath it—even when its position is set to Inline. You will not get the desired results if you change the stroke's gradient to black 0–100 % opacity gradient. However, you could consider adding an Inner glow effect with 1 px size and 100 % choke; then play around with its colors/gradients as above.

This would, though, work only with layers that have a fill—such as shapes, which your "Button" layer is.

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  • 1
    I understood the first method, but it becomes then, unless I am missing something, hard to apply a new specific color because the H/S/V changes are relative to the initial color. I can't just enter a new hex color to change into that. Please correct me if I am wrong. IF I am correct above, would you please elaborate on the 2nd method? Thanks Koiyu! – Gaia Sep 22 '11 at 20:20
  • You would check the "colorize" box in the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, then run the Saturation slider all the way to 100%. Coincidentally, since you are starting with red, nothing will change. You can then dial in any exact Hue you want. – Alan Gilbertson Sep 23 '11 at 1:47
  • @Gaia to be frank, you asked for how to change the hue ;-) I added some more details about the layer effects and their settings. If something confuses you just ask! And, if you feel your additional questions might not contribute to the original problem, you could post another. – Jari Keinänen Sep 23 '11 at 8:38
  • Thank you very much, Koiyu! Not only you know your stuff you can also explain it very well. – Gaia Sep 23 '11 at 14:27

What you're creating is the illusion of a slightly 3-dimensional object by mimicking light and shadows. Deconstructing the PSD, I see you've pulled the Fill to 0% so it could be any color at all, and used a quite complex set of gradients to achieve the light and shade.

The best, and much simpler way to do this is as koiyu points out: use a base shape layer in whatever color you want, then add neutral gradients and inner shadows/glows for shading only. Soft Light and Overlay are the best blend modes in this application. Changing the base layer, either directly or by using a color overlay, then changes the color without affecting the highlights and shadows that give the dimensional illusion to the image. You'll find this a much faster and more flexible workflow.

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  • yes, thats what I am looking for, a much faster and more flexible workflow. thanks. – Gaia Sep 23 '11 at 11:44
  • @Gaia: If Alan's answer is what works for you, then please accept his answer so he gets the credit he deserves. Thanks and welcome to the community. – Philip Regan Sep 23 '11 at 18:54

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