I am trying to cut/copy a selection from a photo I took of a watercolor, but when i copy it (cmd-c and cmd-shift-c) into a new layer the lighter part in the yellow, pink and green turn really grey. I've tried edit>convert to profile and messed around with that, and I've also tried to make the new documents in CMYK Color and RGB Color. nothing seems to work. I've attached an image of the two documents arranged vertically. the pallet on top is the pasted result and the image on the bottom is the photo I took. I did adjust the image contrast, vibrance and brightness a bit.

Thank you so much.

screen shot

  • 2
    Are you sure that the colors have actually changed value? It looks to me like the values are the same, but they appear different relative to their surrounding color.
    – Gary Meyer
    Jan 19, 2016 at 19:34
  • Do you copy and paste it as a "new layer" or in a "new document?" The title says document, text says layer. Could you clarify that part?
    – user45605
    Jan 19, 2016 at 20:52
  • I agree with @GaryMeyer - it seems to be the same colours, it is the effect of the missing background that tricks the eye. To make absolutely sure, cut the original in half horizontally, and overlay the other to check.
    – benteh
    Jan 19, 2016 at 22:54
  • 1
    If its a new/other Document, check the Color Profile. If they differ, the color could also be different.
    – ueberkim
    Jan 19, 2016 at 23:46

3 Answers 3


I think the problem here is an issue of perception and light.

If you take a look at your original scan, the paper is not completely white. It is gray. So your colors are the watercolor on top of gray. When you then transfer to a completely white background, you can more clearly see the gray in the original.

Adjust the original scanned image (either re-scan or adjust the levels) until the background is actually white and try again. Your colors should be closer to how they look in the original paper.


Unless you have a specific reason not to, you should work in RGB mode and convert all of your RGB images to the standard sRGB color space, and also make sure that Photoshop’s RGB color space is also set to sRGB, which I believe is the default. Then you can Paste from one image to the other while remaining in the same color space.

Color management is specifically about changing the way that colors appear onscreen to make them more accurate to their actual colors (not color values) on your specific display. So if you don’t understand color management you will likely get surprising results like this both on screen and when printing.


Make sure both documents are either in RGB or CMYK color mode. Check that via Main Menu > Image > Mode.

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