Recently, I had just submitted a Photoshop doctored image of a car for a one-on-one dual hosted on an artist's forum called Biorust. The idea for the challenge was to "pimp" a photo of an older, not-so-hot foreign car.
So, my first mod was to change the color of the paint. The dull yellow was definitely not pimping at all. So I change the color to a purple using various methods in Photoshop (maybe another tutorial on this later). Next, I wanted to change some of the chrome parts to more of a golden color like the parts were gold plated possibly. What says pimpin' more than gold right?
To accomplish this... first I duplicate the original image by duplicate the original background layer. I always do this as first step to any photo mod because I want to make sure I keep an original untouched on bottom layer in case I should need to refer back to it at any time during the process. It also serves as a master in which I will no doubt use to duplicate more layers from later on during other mod processes.
The next step is color manipulation. Using the layer which is probably called a "background layer now, I proceed to select from the top menu... Image>Adjustments>Color Balance to adjust the color on that top layer.
Why use Color Balance? There is probably several ways you could conceivably accomplish the same effect I am about to show you. If you haven't noticed yet, Photoshop offers several ways to do many things. Which way you do it all depends on what you are comfortable using. Color Balance seems to work really well here and doesn't take much time or effort.
Now stop and think about what it is we are trying to accomplish. We want all chrome to look golden right? That would mean we probably want to add lots of yellow and a little red to the highlights to create that bright golden color. So first thing we do in Color Balance is select "Highlight" from the Tone Balance options on the bottom so we can change the colors in the highlights of the image. I found that pumping up yellow to nearly max and red to half of maximum was a nice golden color as shown in example A (click here to view). You could also click on the mid-range button and maybe add just a tad yellow and red there too. I leave shadows alone though.
Yes, the colors of the grass and everything around the chrome is now horrible but, it doesn't matter because you are going to have to apply a mask to the golden layer and mask out everything that you don't want to look like gold. In this case... you want to mask everything but maybe the chrome wheels, bumpers, and other chrome trim. Don't rush your masking. Start with with a loose selection around the elements and then go to Quick Mask mode in Photoshop, zoom in lots on the area's that are being masked and take your time with a small brush to fill in and erase the masking so you are left with nice clean lines. This will keep the gold color just where it needs to be... on the chrome parts. See my rough mask in example B (click here to view). Don't settle for "close enough' because this is often the difference between a good image and sorry image... lack of attention to detail. Stay focused and imagine you are creating this to display to millions of people which if you post it to the web... it could be viewed by millions!
I have added my finished piece to show an example of this effect (click here to view). Its a large 300k image so give it a second to load. I hope you enjoyed this Photoshop tip. If you have any questions... feel free to post in comments or contact me. Stop back for more tips and other graphic design/photography talk.