In brief, I need a way of applying a layer colour overlay with dynamic values in an action.

This is a hard one to describe but I have three source theme files which have many layers which correspond to the themes colour scheme.

For example, the layers of the blue theme are filled with these colours:

Layer 1: #1592d3 Layer 2: #f7f7f7 Layer 3: #b2b2b2

I have around 3000 icons which need changing to correspond to which ever theme file I have open, and I used to have an action which basically...

  1. opens the master file,
  2. selected the appropriate layer
  3. set the foreground to match the current layer
  4. then go to the icon which is opened and set a colour overlay with the current foreground

That all worked a treat last year when it was used, but Photoshop has been upgraded since and it's now recording the colour overlay with the exact values rather than the ones dynamically selected from the open Master document.

This is hard to described so I hope I'm getting my issue across. The way I've done it like is so that if we want a new theme designing, the designers can just create a new master document with all the correctly named layers and we can use the exact same actions to go pick and apply the correct colours.

Hope that all makes sense and if anyone know's if this is still possible or has a way better solution let me know.

I also don't have any control over these icons which is why I'm using this convoluted method.


  • Yea. I don't think I got it, but... could you use the Window > Styles panel to crate a style based on the current layer and then apply that style wherever you need it? – Joonas Feb 8 '16 at 12:36
  • I'm not sure I get it either, but pretty much you had some process or action that worked well with an older version, but doesn't now? It sounds a little like technical support to me. – Hanna Feb 8 '16 at 14:44
  • It's quite a complicated thing although my descriptive skills are obviously lacking! :) The bottom line is when applying a color overlay with an action, I don't want it to store the actual colour in the action, but pick one from what the foreground is set to... – Michael Bellamy Feb 8 '16 at 15:09
  • 1
    Something this complicated would probably be better suited to a script as opposed to an action, but that requires some coding knowledge. If you know any JavaScript, you could probably figure this out with a little help from various tutorials/resource sites that you could turn up with a simple search. Of course, I understand this isn't helpful if you have little/no coding background. – wing-it Feb 8 '16 at 16:11

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