How to Create a Solid-Color Fill Layer in Adobe Photoshop

In Brief...

A solid-color fill layer is exactly what it sounds like: a layer filled with a solid color. Creating a solid-color adjustment layer, as opposed to simply filling a layer with a solid color, has the added benefit of automatically creating a layer mask that can be edited.


  1. In the Layers panel, go to the Adjustment Layer menu and select Solid Color.
    Adjustment Layer Menu
  2. The Color Picker opens. Click OK. The color will be changed in the next step.
  3. To change the color, double-click the Adjustment Layer Properties icon in the Layers panel, which will reopen the Color Picker. In this example, I want to use a color in the image, so I've also turned off the Adjustment Layer's visibility.
    Layers Panel
  4. When the Color Picker is open, you can sample a color in the image. As you hover outside the dialog box, you'll see the cursor change to the Eyedropper, and you can click a region in the image to select a color.
    Sampling Color From Image
  5. Adjustment layers always have layer masks, which can be selectively edited to let the original image show through. To edit the mask, turn the visibility of the layer back on, then click the Layer Mask thumbnail in the Layers Panel. Make sure the corner brackets are around the layer mask.
    Layers Panel
  6. I'll apply a gradient to the mask to reveal a portion of the image by selecting the Gradient Tool, verifying that the foreground and background colors are set to black and white, then going to the image and dragging through the mask. Tip: Holding down the Shift key will constrain the direction of the gradient to horizontal, vertical, or 45°.
    Image with Gradient
  7. Blending Modes can also be applied to the Adjustment Layer to create additional effects.
    Image with Blending Mode Applied

Author: Kate Cahill

Kate Cahill is a graphic designer, writer, and creative director who has developed content for print and web. As creative director, she has produced award-winning work for agencies focused on the pharmaceutical, and health and beauty aid industries. She has also served as production manager, with responsibility for the successful fulfillment of long-run print contracts. Kate has been delivering training for Webucator clients since 2010. Her enthusiasm for cutting-edge technology, combined with hands-on practical experience, brings an added benefit to her class. Kate teaches real-world techniques and integration of Adobe software, as well as Microsoft PowerPoint to produce a fully-developed and cohesive brand identity.