The Replace Color filter is a new feature in ON1 Photo RAW 2021, though it will be a familiar option to many users of Photoshop and other programs. It does exactly what it says, allowing you to select a color in the image and replace it with another.
You might do this to completely change the color of an object, like the yellow door in this sample image. The adjustment will apply to other objects of the same color in the photo too, but you can mask out areas you want to leave unaffected (more below).
So first of all, you’ll find this new tool under the Filters tab. If you’re starting from scratch, i.e. not using preset, the filter panel will be empty so you need to click Add Filter. You’ll see the new Replace Color filter at the bottom of the second column.
Using the ON1 Photo RAW Replace Color filter
This is a really straightforward two-step process. First, you select the color you want to change – the Target Color – using the eyedropper. Then you set the Color Change – the new color – using the Hue, Saturation and Brightness sliders below.
Back in the top ‘target’ section you can change the Amount value to tone back the color shift if you need to, and the Range. This is the hue range that will be modified, so that if the tool doesn’t select all the subtleties of tone and hue in our subject, you can increase the Range to bring them in.
This will often start to shift the colors of other objects in the picture, so the way round this is to use the masking brush to erase the effect from those areas. Each filter in ON1 Photo RAW can have its own mask, and there’s a button for this at the top of the filter panel.
Replace Color vs Color Adjustment
The Replace Color filter is straightforward and effective, but it only works with replacement colors of similar overall brightness. You can change a yellow object like this brightly painted door to a light blue, for example, (or green, or red) but not a darker color. To be honest, it’s one of those things you might have assumed ON1 Photo RAW could do already, but it turns out it didn’t.
There are similar adjustments already in the Color Adjustment filter, where you can target a color and shift its Hue, Saturation and Brightness values, and the color Range selected. There is even a targeted adjustment tool for dragging live on the image. The difference is that the Color Adjustment filter has a maximum hue shift – you can shift colors but you can’t replace them completely in the same way as the new Replace Color filter.
So the Replace Color filter does something that wasn’t possible before, and it might be useful to have one day, but it’s not a brand new editing concept that’s never been done before – far from it.
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