Color Change - Adobe Photoshop

You are on a production and the director wants very colorful buses in the background for a particular shot—but the second unit shot this with a plain yellow and white bus center frame. The director asks that since this is a locked-off shot (there is no camera move, so a matte painting can be substituted for the background plate), can you change this to a yellow and purple bus? Oh, and he would prefer you to make the yellow parts purple and the white parts yellow.

Life never is easy, is it? Luckily, this isn’t hard to accomplish. Take a look at the background image in Figure, which you can download from the book’s companion web site.

The director wants a different color bus center frame.

  1. Attend first to the purple parts. Add a Hue/Saturation layer on top by going to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation.
  2. Figure shows this step.

    This gives the same effect as going to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation, but allows more editing freedom.

  3. Accept the default layer name by clicking OK in the New Layer dialog box
  4. You can give the layer any name, but I accept the default naming convention.

  5. Play with the sliders in the Hue/Saturation dialog box to get the purple you want.Don’t worry about any other part of the picture; just get the yellow parts to the color purple that you like. See Figure.
  6. Don’t worry about any color other than the purple.

  7. Click OK
  8. Click the Default Foreground and Background Colors icon and press X or click the Switch Foreground and Background Colors button to switch the foreground color to black.Because you are on an adjustment layer, the colors are switched to reflect the default colors for masking. That is why you have to press X, shown in Figure.
  9. Normally, the default colors are black foreground with white background.

  10. Press Option+Delete (Win: Alt+ Backspace) to fill the Hue/Saturation mask with black. The layer changes should disappear in your main canvas window.
  11. The Hue/Saturation layer is still there, but is masked out so you only see the original image underneath it.

  12. Press X again to switch to white, click the Brush tool, and choose a brush in the options bar. I chose a small soft brush at 100 percent opacity.
  13. Carefully brush away the yellow to reveal the purple.
  14. The white and black parts stay white and black. If you try to paint in the white areas, you see no results. See Figure for the results you want. Now you have the purple parts; Figure shows them in all their glory. You already saw that the Hue shift doesn’t work on white, so how are you going to make the white parts yellow?

    Painting with a white brush paints onto the Hue/Saturation mask and reveals the purple.

    Purple parts accomplished!

  15. Choose the Magic Wand tool, set Tolerance to 20 in the options bar, and click the white part of the bus that you want to change.
  16. Hold Shift and continue clicking until you have most of it selected, which is shown in Figure.
  17. Selecting the white areas of the bus.

    If the wand goes outside of the white area and you want to subtract it, hold Option (Win: Alt) and click the area you want to subtract. Don’t worry if it is not exact; you clean it up after you have most of the white areas selected.

  18. Click the Quick Mask mode button and use a brush to clean up your selection.When you are done, click on the Standard Mode button. Figure shows what’s going on.
  19. Similar to what you did with the purple parts, you are defining the area you want to affect with the Quick mask.

  20. Now you’re ready to add a new color fill layer. Go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color.
  21. Accept the default name by clicking OK in the New Layer dialog box. Choose an appropriate yellow in the Color Picker dialog box and click OK.
  22. Choose a yellow that you think would look good in the picture.

  23. The added layer looks flat and odd. Change the blend mode for the layer to Overlay and it looks much better.
  24. Changing the layer’s blend mode to Overlay gets rid of the yellow paint's graphic look.

    You’re almost finished. Just tone down the colors a bit, as they are much more saturated than anything else in the plate.

  25. Holding Command (Win: Ctrl), click the layer mask thumbnail that defined the purple areas.
  26. Holding Shift+Command (Win: Shift+Ctrl), click the layer mask thumbnail that defined the yellow areas to select both the yellow and purple areas.
  27. Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer by going to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation.
  28. Since you had a selection in memory, the adjustment layer comes in with the selection as its matte.

  29. In the Hue/Saturation dialog box, adjust the Saturation and Lightness settings to blend in with the rest of the plate, pressing OK when you are done. Then compare the before and after in Figure.
  30. Here are the results! I have hand painted back the patches into the modified bus as an added detail.


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