Deke’s Techniques: Coloring the stripes on a zebra

Published by | Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Although you may have heard that a leopard can’t change its spots, a zebra can definitely change its stripes with a little help from Deke and Photoshop. In this week’s free technique, Deke adds a little pizazz to an otherwise monochromatic creature, by changing the black stripes on a zebra from black to red, green, and blue.

The color itself is applied pretty haphazardly, then Deke efficiently reins it in with an easy-to-craft layer mask using the Color Range command you saw in last week’s technique, only even easier to apply. After employing a little advanced blending and then cleaning up the mask by hand, Deke manages to defy conventional wisdom and take the tediously typical zebra on the left to the flashy figment of Deke’s imagination on the right.

Before and After Zebrae

This technique can be effective for changing all sorts of black areas of a photo into another color, and the results are realistic. Try variations on Deke’s technique in your own projects and let us know how it works. Who knows, you may be able to change those leopard spots after all.

There’s another new free video next week, and members can see the entire collection (along with some exclusive movies just for members).

Interested in more?
• Deke’s Techniques
• courses on Photoshop in the Online Training Library®
• courses by Deke McClelland in the Online Training Library®

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3 Responses to “Deke’s Techniques: Coloring the stripes on a zebra”

  1. Dimitris says:

    :-D RGBZ… Once again, this guy is hilarious!
    Keep up the great work, Deke! :-)

  2. Doreen says:

    Gotta love this guy!

  3. Dave says:


    You remain the “Masking Master.” This vid really helped explain a few things about blending/masking that I continually find difficult.



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