Photoshop: Change color of Layer Group without changing every child layer's color.

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  • Idea
  • Updated 2 years ago
  • (Edited)
Photoshop 2017.0.1
Windows 10 x64

This post's subject is layer group coloring, and giving the user a little more control over it.
Seemingly trivial, but since so many users deal with it so frequently this small feature idea stands to be highly valuable.

_________________ The Problem _________________

For clarity, I'm going to carefully explain the situation. Sorry if overly explanatory.

My example layers panel:

I want to create a new violet colored layer group and make currently selected layers/layer groups the children of said new layer group, but I don't want the children to inherit the new group's color.

If I use the layers panel "Create a new group" button

I get this result:

But that's no good. I am no longer able to colorize just the new group without affecting all children.

As you can see, doing this:

results in this:

No good. All previous color coding is gone.

Ok so, I'll back up to the create new layer group step and use instead the application menu option Layer > New > Group from Layers:

(notice I'm setting the layer group color with the dialogue)

Alright, this looks good. Hopefully it's what I need - let's see what it does:

Oh . . . hmmm.

Well, close. But all "None" colored layers inherited the new group's color. For me, that's not useful, and feels like quite an aggressive assumption on Photoshop's part.

If I'm not mistaken - In previous Photoshop versions, a somewhat viable workaround was to first create a fresh new layer group without first selecting any layers/layer groups so nothing got automatically colored when the group was created THEN nest layers/layer groups within it but that no longer works either.
Although, even that old trick I consider too clunky - layer coloring is too important and Photoshop too advanced to require users to do this. It felt silly, and like an oversight in the user interface.

Even though I associate a certain meaning with every available layer color and I apply them in my projects (if complex enough; has enough layers to become confusing) accordingly, I can say I'm not nearly as picky about layer coloring as some.

This is one of those issues that we've simply settled on tolerating.
Please think about this, if this issue gets considered during a future JDI update.

_________________ The Solution _________________

1. Disable all automatic layer coloring when "None" colored layers/layer groups are nested into a colored layer group via dragging in the layers panel.
Yes, by now, the automatic color inheriting behavior may be expected, but it's blatantly inconvenient and takes control away from users.
I've nested hundreds of uncolored layers into a colored layer group before and had to undo all the automatic coloring so my coloring convention isn't invalidated. A project with hundreds of layers is already stressful enough - we don't want to have to fight Photoshop on top of that.

2. When using the Layer > New > Group from Layers menu option, add a new checkbox to the dialogue popup that enables or disables automatic layer coloring of uncolored layers/layer groups:

AND, if needing to maintain legacy functionality while offering this new option, the checkbox would not be checked by default.
Personally, I'd vote to have it checked by default, though . . .

Please inquire if anything is unclear, etc.

Thanks for reading!
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Posted 2 years ago

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Photo of Max Johnson

Max Johnson, Champion

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I too find myself dragging layers out of a group, coloring the group, then dragging them back in.
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Benedikt Zwölfer

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled BUG: A Color Label of Folders affects the color newly created of folders below.

This is a long term bug and I'm writing here for nearly 20 mates and colleagues:

When creating a folder below another folder, that has an color label, then the newly created folder gets the same color.
All (sometimes 100's) layers inside loose there no-color-label, if they have no color.
Colors make only sense, when you can control them when applied.

Next issue is: It should be possible to give a folder, which already contains many layers, a color without affecting the already assigned color labels inside it.

Please look at attached screenshots!
Again this is no question of philosophy, it is a buggy inconsistent workflow.
The behaviour is different, when it is only a layer and not folder.

All this makes even much more problems in huge documents with many nested folders.
When everything bets in the end a color (and a wrong color by the way), all the labeling makes no sense anymore or takes a lot effort to take it out again.


Giving just the folder a color deletes all information inside.
There should be at least a choice. Imagine many nested folders inside.
And in my opinion there is no reason to overwrite different already assigned colors.
Even for neutral colors (no color) to have the option would be good.


Folders below a colored group take the same color label information of that group over it.
There is no logical reason and makes trouble trouble trouble...

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Benedikt Zwölfer

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Hello Jeffrey Tranberry (Moderator),
I saw you merged my topic into this, thanks. But this is only partially right:
I am describing TWO PROBLEMS.
My main ISSUE 1 is different from this Main Topic here and much more unneccessary and it is –sorry to call it that–  just bad buggy programming!
Please realize that the Layers and the Group in SCREENSHOT ISSUE 1 have nothing to do with each other and that this is just a BUG and no question of interpretation.