How to change the colour of a car in Photoshop
I love photo-editing. Opening up a piece of software such as Photoshop or Affinity Photo, and having the freedom of producing anything you want has me constantly coming back for more. About a year ago, I stumbled across a video by a YouTuber that goes by the name of Nathan Brummer (which has since been deleted) showing exactly how to change the colour of a car in Photoshop. This is something I wanted to share on DriveTribe, so here we go!
For this article, I will be using Affinity Photo as the software I use for screenshots; but this method works exactly the same in Photoshop.
Step 1: Open the image you want to use
The first step is to open the image you want to use and duplicate it. Rasterise the duplicated layer and you should be able to make all the changes you would like. Select the duplicated image once you are done. Sadly, cars that are painted black won't work with this method due to blending complications - I'll explain this more later.
Here we have a lovely orange Lamborghini that is going to change colour. I took this image from Unsplash, and as you can see next to the word 'cut' I have selected the duplicate layer and clicked 'Rasterise'.
Step 2: Start painting!
Now we are going to start painting the car. Select the colour that you want to change the car to (note that black and white won't work with this method) and click the brush tool. Now that we have this selected, we want to turn down the hardness. 35% is a nice value to use as it makes the edges a lot softer, which will help when you need to erase the outlines later on.
With the duplicate layer selected, you can now start painting over the top of the car. It doesn't matter if you go over windows, wheels, headlights, or even into the background - we will fix this later!
I selected a neon green, turned the hardness down, and drew over the top of the car. As you can see, I didn't put much care into the painting, but thankfully I can tweak this later.
Step 3: The tweaking
This is the fun part. Whether you are using Photoshop or Affinity Photo, you should see a tab that says 'Normal' - this is otherwise known as the 'Blending mode' tab in the lower right (next to your layers). If you click on this, a big menu of different options will appear.
Depending on the colour of the car that you chose, as well as the colour you have painted; this will affect which option you need to pick. To find the best result, hover your mouse over each option until you find an option you are happy with. For me, this was the 'Hue' option. Click this option to add it and the colour should stay. You can compare the colour to the original by turning the duplicate layer off by unticking the layer's box in Affinity, or clicking the 'eye' in Photoshop.
The best result for me was when the 'hue' option was selected. Other colours may prefer options such as 'Multiply'.
You can get some pretty strange results if you select other colours, take a look!
This was with the 'Difference' option!
Step 4: Cleaning up!
You may have noticed that parts of the background, such as the car and the floor have also been tinted green. Believe it or not, you can get rid of this by rubbing out the paint with the eraser tool! The wheels, windows, headlights and grilles will also be affected by this green, so this is the time to fix this.
Make sure your eraser brush is small, and zoom in to get a more accurate view of the area you are fixing. If you erase something and the original colour of the car appears, undo the change as you don't want to see any of this.
After you have erased all of the non-colourful car components, you want to also erase the outline of the car. The second image emphasises the excess paint that was caused by my lack of care when originally painting the car. Just make sure you take your time when going around the edges for the best results.
The final product!
And there we have it! A Lamborghini that has turned green, after originally being orange. The background and windscreen are all the correct colours and even the reflections are blended properly! The original image of the Lamborghini was taken by Toni Zaat from Unsplash.com.
Sadly I was unable to link the video that taught me this technique, but as I said; it was made by Youtuber Nathan Brummer - full credit goes to him for this method! Remember, if you are going to change the colours of a car for an article of some kind, ensure the website you take the image from allows you to edit images, as well as be allowed for editorial use.
I hope this guide has helped those of you that are interested in changing the colours of cars. Now you can make a custom colour of your favourite car to set as your wallpaper! Let me know what you think of this technique, share your creations, or ask me any questions in the comments below.
Here is the final image in its exported glory. Image: Toni Zaat via Unsplash.
Unfortunately, black cars are unable to be changed due to the way blending modes work with the colour black. On top of this, you cannot turn any colour car into the colour black or white as both of these colours make strange changes. However, white cars should be able to change without any problem.