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Enhance Complimentary Colors in Photoshop

Jul 30

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Working with Color

Working with color is never easy, there are just too darned many colors to keep up with. Scientists estimate the human eye can see 7-10 MILLION colors. Imagine if you had 10 Million friends and you had to remember all of their names. Not gonna happen.

Some colors look better together than others and a quick way to see if those colors might compliment each other is to check out a color wheel. Generally complimentary colors will always look good together. To push it even farther try going with a triad – three colors together such as red, yellow, and blue.

Color Scheme Designer

Using complimentary colors is a great way to add a refined touch to your images while making them work better as a whole. Complimentary colors are colors that are opposite from one other on the color wheel. don’t have a color wheel, you say? Don’t worry! Check out this awesome online color wheel and take a look at the examples below.

  • Guest

    Adobe Kuler it’s a good designer tool too!!!

  • Kevin Watson

    Aaron….. you have been my new HERO for the past month !!!! Dig watching your tutorials and have been learning a lot ! Still haven’t got the graphic tablet down yet ( Intuos 5 S ), but still practicing !
    Kevin Watson from Carson City NV. !!!!!

  • Leszek Frankowski

    Great episode as always though I think it wouldn’t actually be wrong to flip the building since the sun is in the middle, not on the side.

  • Rena

    Aaron, the previews are backwards, We are hovering to view the final, and not the original!

  • Paul Liebrand

    That is a pretty awesome designer tool. Thanks for sharing!

  • Phlearn

    So glad the tutorials are helping! And don’t worry about the tablet, practice makes perfect! I’m sure you’ll be a pro in no time!

  • Guest

    NACE, Thats my image!

  • Rajat Chadda

    Should do a video on that!

  • Lucas Menezes

    Great to see my image being photoshoped by you Nace, thanks! Looked awesome. That building is an icon in my city, called Dragão do Mar. No problem with that. There´s olnly one thing, i have a website,, if you could change the one thats bellow the before/after image in the post i would apreciate! After all, that´s my image, not Nicholas Williams :/

    Thanks a lot!

  • Phlearn

    Sorry about that, Lucas! It’s all fixed now with a link to your website instead. Thanks for letting us know!

  • ed

    Arron..screen capture..aaaaackkkk. Just use Adobe Kuler. The most awesome resource for color therorists available and even has a built in extension to CS. Like the color toning of a movie? You can rebuild the color pallete by sampling a frame, it will store your own color palletes, even use your iphone to capature colors and Kuhler creates a complimentary pallete for you. Its an amazing resource..dont forget to use the extension manager in CS-it magically appears and you may miss it for months like me. I think you especially would like it.

  • Sambath S

    You could have also removed the background near the arm(left).
    Anyways a job well done Nace.

    Sambath S

  • Christian Stein

    Aaron, great tutorial as usual! I’m a huge Phlearn addict and have learned a ton from you. Keep em coming! One tiny comment on this one though – when you added the building on the left, besides the potential issue with lighting, you didn’t adjust it to take into account the laws of perspective so it doesn’t look right. I know you did it super quick and just for fun, but in my opinion, that small oversight makes the retouched image look a bit off. But otherwise, great job and thanks for the link to the colour wheel!

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Random Tips

If on a mac, close and reopen Photoshop every hour or so – speeds things up a bit.