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Changing Fill Color of Photoshop Shapes Tutorial, how to re-color

fill shape color photoshop controls

How to change the fill color of Photoshop custom shapes in Photoshop CC / CS6 etc (such as color / gradient etc). You can fill the Photoshop shapes as a layer with gradients as well as solid colors and also patterns. You can fill the Photoshop shapes with images by using an image as a pattern (or type etc). You can also apply fill color to a shape (pixel option) by using the artwork on a layer and then using the transparency for a selection and filling that with gradients or photos etc. You can also use a no color fill and then set a stroke to create an outline shape. You can change the color of the shape by selecting the shape tools or using the layer menu fill content. You can also change the color by using adjustments as shape / smart objects etc. This tutorial shows you a number of ways to change the fill color of Photoshop shapes.


  1. Select the shape

  2. Select the Photoshop custom shape tool

  3. Goto the fill along top bar

  4. Change to gradient or pattern etc

Fill settings and changing color of custom shapes

fill settings and changing color of custom shapesWith Adobe ® Photoshop ® CC 2017 2015 CS6, you can easily change the color of the shape via the fill and stroke settings dropdown along the top bar of Adobe ® Photoshop ®. You can also fill them with gradients as well as patterns and also apply a variety of different stroke settings to the art (though sadly not including the beautiful strokes from Illustrator - perhaps for another version ?). They are all accessed via the custom shapes tool and the preset's panel.


You can also fill them with images via the patterns as you can define any large image as a pattern and then select that from the dropdown panel (such as with the custom shape on the right)


The vector artwork (as a layer) can be re-colored while the CSH tool or if the rectangle or ellipse etc tool has been selected. The layer fill color can be set to a solid color as well as gradient and pattern.


No Color fill for the Photoshop shapes

and stroke setting photoshop fill custom shapes no colorYou can also set the fill to "No color" and I know that sounds a little boring but actually it is very useful as you can then just use the stroke (both stroke and fill can be no fill and that can have their uses such as layers with a shadow and other effects).


The no fill means you can create all kinds of artworks only with strokes and the stroke can have all kinds of different settings such as dashes


  1. Select custom shape tool in Photoshop toolbar

  2. Select shape option

  3. Select a custom shape

  4. Go to the fill and set to 'no color' option

  5. Go to the stroke and set to black and set a width for the line


Solid color for shapes

solidYou can set the fill to a solid color for the artwork layer. Just select the solid color option when you are applying the custom shape as a shape layer.


You can use any of the colors from the swatches displayed as well as add any swatches sets available.


You can, of course, also set the stroke independently the fill which can be set to a gradient or pattern or no stroke.


Gradients for the custom shape

gradients and photoshop fill color for custom shapesYou can set the custom shape color to a gradient and then select any of the items included in the displayed panel. You can load 1000s of additional presets such as our colorful Photoshop and Elements gradients collection (radial, linear etc) but there are many additional ones available on the web. You can load them via the right side menu such as replace and load.


You can set the angle and mode etc though you are limited in the things you can change via the panel (you can use the next technique to alter the origin etc).


If you have a single vector artwork (this does not appear with more than one selected) then you can also alter the gradient via the layer menu and layer content options so you can change the gradient to a radial or diamond as well as change the origin as well as scale and more


  1. Select custom shape tool

  2. Select shape

  3. Select fill

  4. Set to gradient (3rd entry)

  5. Use gradient preset picker to select a gradient

  6. Change gradient style



patterns and fill color custom shapeYou can set the color for the fill color / custom shape to a pattern.


You can use any of the pre-defined patterns included in the panel as well as any of the items available via the right side menu. You can also define your own or use ones ready made available on the web (such as on this site). You can also use any super large image and then define that as a pattern and use that via that option (if it is much larger than the shape then it doesn't matter if the artwork is seamless or not).


You can also set the scale for the artwork. If you have only one piece of artwork selected then you can modify the pattern such as origin and scale etc via the layer menu layer content options.


  1. Select custom shape tool

  2. Select shape

  3. Select fill

  4. Set to Pattern (4th entry)

  5. Use Pattern preset picker

  6. Select scale etc



Change color if pixel option selected

selection and pixel layerYou cannot change the fill color via the dropdown if you select the pixel option. You can change the color before you add the artwork.


Quick workaround for this is to add the vector to a layer and then use the various adjustment functions to change the color at a later date.


You can also the magic wand to select the area of the custom shape in Adobe ® Photoshop ® and this can then be filled with gradients, images (using paste into command) as well as patterns Via the layer fill content)


  1. Layer menu in Photoshop toolbar

  2. New layer

  3. Custom shapes tool

  4. Set color

  5. Apply shape as pixel / fill

  6. Select menu

  7. Load selection

  8. Select transparency

  9. OK

  10. Fill with gradient etc using gradient tool


Layer content options

layer fill content for the custom shape in PhotoshopYou can change the color of the shapes if you select one of the shape tools.


You can modify the color settings for the custom shape without needing to select the shape tools, you can


  1. layer menu

  2. layer content options

  3. Change gradient etc depending on whether or not it is a pattern or gradient or solid color


Sadly, you cannot change to gradient or solid etc, you can only change the settings like shifting the gradient or changing the style etc


Alternative approaches

As with most things in Photoshop, there are also other ways of approaching the color of Photoshop shapes

  1. You can also just copy the artwork to Illustrator and re-color it there.

  2. You can turn the artwork into a smart object and then use smart adjustments to re-color it such as black and white or LUT etc

  3. You can also filters such as camera raw to modify the color etc. Certain there are even more ways


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Video Tutorial

Tutorial on the subject [Youtube]