4 Minute Read

Design 101: Using RGB Level Layers in Photoshop

Have you seen photos that are monochromatic, and are colored to the brand they represent? If not, you can check out some examples here. I recently worked on a project that required me to create these types of images. In this article, I’ll show you how you can use Photoshop’s Adjustment Layers to create your own monochromatic images.

Adding Adjustment Layers

First, open up Photoshop and import your picture. After you’ve imported your picture, start by making 4 Adjustment Layers. Click on “Layer” from the top menu bar, then go to “New Adjustment Layer,” and then click on “Black & White” to set your first layer to change your picture to black and white. A window will appear to label and color your layer. You can change the color of the layer if you’d like.

To adjust the color of your image, you’ll modify the RGB settings individually. In making each of these layers individually, you can make your color overlay display the exact color you’d like. First, create the blue layer of RGB. Click on “Layer” from the top menu bar, then go to “New Adjustment Layer” and click on “Levels.” When the layer menu popped up, label the layer with “B” and select the layer color to be blue. Next, use the same process to create another level layer and name it “G” with the color green and finally creating the last layer with “R” for the label and red as it’s color.

Modifying Level Layers


Here’s where you will set your monochromatic color for your image. If you have a specific color picked out, this is where you’ll enter its RGB values individually into each layer to create the color.

First, click on the “R” layer to modify the red. Notice the “Properties” panel at top. From the “RGB” dropdown menu select “Red.” Next to “Output Levels” replace the “0” value with the red value of your color. Now click on your “G” layer, and select “Green” from the dropdown menu and replace the “0” with your green value.

Finally, click on the blue layer and select “Blue” from the dropdown menu and replace the “0” with your blue value. You now have your complete monochromatic image. To revert it back to the original, simply turn off the layers. Here’s the finished product.


Adding Other Adjustment Layers

If you would like to add additional modifications to your finished image like brightness and contrast, curves, exposure, etc., you can easily adjust these settings by adding additional Adjustment Layers. Click on Layer > New Adjustment Layer > and select any of the other options. You can add or subtract any amount of these new Adjustment Layers you’d like.

As long as you add your modifications by making them separate layers, they will not damage your original photo since you will be able to delete or turn off the new layers if you decide not to use your additional settings.


In conclusion, there are many things you can do with adjustment layers and since they are layers they won’t damage your photo. In this article, I showed you how to use the RGB channel layers to create a monochromatic filter over your image. For more information on Adjustment Layers, visit the Adobe page here. Keep in mind, if you’d like to create an image with a color overlay these methods here work as well.