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I was looking at this page, which is a demo allowing the user to choose the colors of certain parts of a motorcycle. It struck me that while the user chooses flat colors, the result still shows the bumps and curves of the bodywork. Now that of course is the result of some patches of translucent white or black that overlays the transparent background. In fact, this is the image they used:

enter image description here

To produce a picture like that, I can imagine cutting out the shapes for the body panels that I want to color dynamically and then painstakingly recreating the gradients to show the reflections coming off the bodywork.

But is that the way this would normally be done? Or is there a tool that would allow me to select the base color of the body panel and delete that, while leaving the reflections as white or black gradients as we see here?

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  • Hi Cobus, what is it that you are trying to achieve exactly? do you have a coloured image and wish to change its colours? Nov 9, 2016 at 9:39
  • @Cai It's not greyscale. It's a PNG with transparent patches where the bodywork appears lightgrey. Please take a look at the web site you linked and you'll see what I mean. If you click green, the body part becomes green, click red and it becomes red. But it doesn't become a flat featureless green or red; it retains the highlights. Nov 9, 2016 at 10:29
  • @JoanaRibeiro The simplest way to understand is to just look at the website. You can basically choose the colors used in various body parts. Also, please see my comment to Cai. Nov 9, 2016 at 10:31

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There is no need to manually recreate anything by hand. You can simply use the image as an alpha mask to replace the areas you want with transparency. Let me show you a quick example using another image.

Take the following image (taken from here and converted to black & white).

enter image description here

Using the technique I describe here I use the image as an alpha mask on itself.

enter image description here

Then we can mask off the areas we want to keep transparent and overlay the original image.

enter image description here

Then by placing a solid color behind we can change the color of the transparent areas.

enter image description here

You can use two masked layers to control the shadows and highlights independently.

enter image description here

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Is this what you were meaning to do? I downloaded your pic that you gave and did a little painting on it with gimp 2.8. If this indeed what you are wanting to accomplish then it's quite simple, go to the painting tool of your choice pencil, paint-brush or air-brush. In the tool options box at the top above the brush size you will see normal, click that then at the bottom of the list is color and hue. Color mode is what I used for your picture, the hue mode will only color over other colors with another hue, and will color over pretty much anything except for solid white and solid black. So if you use hue mode on a black, gray or white area it will have no effect at all. I hope that my answer was helpful to you.Original posters picture

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  • I am very sorry I misread your question. You are looking for a way to do the opposite of what i did yes? If so then just follow what I stated above and just choose white or black as your color on color mode, doing this will pretty much make you paint in grayscale so you are removing color while leaving texture and detail intact. Nov 10, 2016 at 21:52
  • No worries. I still found it instructive :) Thanks for taking the trouble. Nov 11, 2016 at 7:56

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