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Advice for filling a selection solidly.


New Member
Lifelong PS amateur here.

My girlfriend is an illustrator, and wants to release her ink drawings in a series of prints. Some of which she'd like to have versions with color, so we have scanned them all in high enough resolutions for printing and for me to add color to.

I'm able to fill in white spaces with color just fine (eg. adding red to the flags in provided pictures) but I don't know how to go about turning black areas into different colors (eg. the night sky was black but I'd like it to be a dark blue).

When I select the black areas, either with the Magic Wand, Quick Select Tool or via Select - Color Range, it still leaves some black/gray pixels around the edges. And expanding the selection by 1 pixel sometimes is too much and bleeds over.

The prints will be high quality and as big as A3 so the edges of colors will be visible, so I'd like to be able to fill the black areas without spending so much time going over them all intricately with my tablet.

I've attached screen shots to indicate what I'm talking about. Thank you to anyone who knows a quicker, precise way to fill the black areas with color.


Hi cannonbawl
It would actually help to see a copy of the original file (or a portion of it) through a file sharing service to best determine how to proceed. Many line/ink sketches before and even more after scanning don’t have hard crisp edges which may be part of the problem.
Just a recommendation.
John Wheeler


Staff member
Hello and welcome.

Without having a sample to experiment with, I would suggest using Select & Mask after making the selection. You can shift the edges of the selection in positive or negative increments (percentile). There's also the possibility of using the Matting options under LAYER. This would depend on how the selection was handled.

As John has pointed out, the quality of the scan is important as well as the line quality of the original illustration. In your example above, there seems to be a lot of noise in the white. This noise was either present on the original or an artifact of the scanning process. Either way, it will make selections with the "easy" tools very challenging. Did you use a home scanner or did you have the illustration professionally scanned?

Vectorizing the original scan in Ai could be another option. This may change the overall character of the drawing.