Turn a Red Car to Gold in Photoshop


Excerpted from Deke’s Techniques on lynda.com.

Whether you’re aiming for realism or an exaggerated effect that grabs attention, it’s often handy to be able to change the color of one object in a photo without affecting the rest of the image. Most people will tell you to use Adobe Photoshop’s Hue/Saturation command to do this, but if the object you’re changing has hue variations — not just one flat shade of red, for example — this relative adjustment won’t work.

Instead, you need to make an absolute adjustment. And to limit the change to a single object, you also need a mask. “A mask?” you gripe. “They take forever!”

Au contraire. You simply create a new Adjustment layer, select a color range inside the image with a click and a drag, and Photoshop will auto-generate your mask. Then you choose the Hue/Saturation command and make your color adjustments.

In the video below, I’ll demonstrate this better, more flexible way to take a red car and turn it gold without affecting the rest of the image.

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  • Anonymous says:

    How often do you have a family come for a portrait and the clothing is wildly out of color sync? It’s almost inevitable that one person in a group will stick out like a sore thumb. Deke’s technique can be a lifesaver – it’s majorly important to use the selection steps, because fabric often has shading and “edge” colors, just like his car example. Another way that will often solve problems is to paint a new color from the color picker in color blend mode over the selected fabric, but then the new color will mix with the original, like mixing 2 disparate colors of paint.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you! This is a technique that I will be using often when I need to change colors. It seems quick and a lot easier than I thought it would be.

  • Anonymous says:

    Deke, nobody comes close to your teaching techniques. Never a dull moment in your lessons.

  • Stanley says:

    Wow… Awesome tutorial! Spot On!!!

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