Photoshop : Tutorial – Using "Lock Transparent Pixels"

Changing the colour of an object that is semi-transparent or has faded edges in Photoshop is easy when you know how. In this short tutorial, I’m going to show you how to use the “Lock Transparent Pixels” button on the layers palette to do just that.

Let’s start off with a yellow blob. As you can see from the image below, it is definitely yellow in the middle but then it starts to fade out at the edges.

If you try to use the Paint Bucket tool on this faded edge, you will just end up with a circle with very rough edges, as seen below.

To get over this problem, click on the “Lock Transparent Pixels” button near the top of the layers palette in Photoshop.

Note that you cannot use this on the background layer only on layers with transparency.

By locking the transparent pixels, we can now only manipulate the opaque areas of the layer.

Now when I use the Paint Bucket on the yellow blob, the fade is preserved.

Obviously this is a very simple example, but as you can imagine this would be extremely useful when you are designing things like t-shirts or print work where you may need to change an objects fade colour.


  1. stick900 says:

    Thanks for the tip. You explained that very well as I wanted a simple answer & not a long drawn out one. I’ve been playing with photoshop since 2002 & never quite understood what that button is for. And now thanks to your tutorial I know. Thanks again!

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