Home > Articles > Graphics & Web Design > Photoshop & Adobe

This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Understanding Foreground and Background Colors

The Foreground and Background colors, located near the bottom of the toolbox, are Photoshop’s way of identifying your primary painting color, as well as the color Photoshop uses in conjunction with the Background layer. When you select any of Photoshop’s painting or drawing tools, the color applied to the document will be the foreground color—that’s its purpose. Hence, it’s sometimes referred to as Photoshop’s active color. The Background color serves several functions—its primary purpose is to instruct Photoshop how to handle erasing on the Background layer. When you use an eraser tool on a Photoshop layer, by default, the pixels are converted to transparency. However, when you use an eraser tool on the Background, something different happens. Since the Background does not support transparency, it replaces the erased pixels with the current background color.

Change the Active Foreground and Background Colors

Use any of the following methods to change the active foreground or background colors:

  • Select the Eyedropper tool on the toolbox, and then click anywhere in the active document to change the foreground color.

    Hold down the Alt (Win) or Option (Mac) key, and then click to change the background color.

  • Click on a color swatch in the Swatches panel to change the foreground color.

    Hold down the Ctrl (Win) or cmd.jpg (Mac) key, and then click to change the background color.

  • Click the Foreground or Background thumbnail to choose the color’s destination. Create a color in the Color panel.
  • Click the Foreground or Background Color box to open the Color Picker dialog box, select a color or enter color values, and then click OK.

Use Default and Switch the Foreground and Background Colors

  • blue-circle1.jpg Click the Default Foreground and Background Colors button to revert the foreground and background colors to their default values of black and white.
  • blue-circle2.jpg Click the Switch Foreground and Background Colors button to switch current colors.
  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account