*Update* I redid the writeup with a Monte Carlo to fit the rules of the writeup. Other than the pictures it's more or less the same.

A couple guys asked for a write-up so here it is. This how-to will walk you through making simple color changes in a program called GIMP. I use GIMP because it works really good and more importantly is free.


First you've got to get GIMP. Go to http://www.download.com and search "gimp".

If you have Windows, download "The GIMP 2.4.2" with the Windows icon by it. If you've got a Mac, you'll want to download "The GIMP 2.2.10" with the apple by it. I'll assume everyone can successfully download and install a program so I'll skip over that part.

Ok, now that you've got The GIMP installed, open it up.

You want to display the "layers" dialog box under file: Dialogs: layers.

This is how I position the two toolbars to maximize my work area.

Now is when you choose the picture that you want to modify. I've done a few MCSS lately so I decided to switch it up with an AMX 2. Save the picture to your hard drive in a place you will remember it. I recommend making a folder for each project you do. For selecting the picture, the higher resolution, the better the final result.

Select File: Open

Navigate to where your picture is located and click open.

You want to save the image file as a .xcf file to save the properties that you are about to create. Select File: Save As

Save it as file type "GIMP XCF Image" with extension .xcf. It should be the first on the list.

Now go to the layers dialog box and right click the "Background" and then click "Duplicate".

Click the "eye" of the "Background" layer to turn it off. Make sure the "Background Copy" layer is still highlighted.

This picture shows you where the zoom function is. You may or may not need to use this depending on how detailed you want to get.

Select the "Paths Tool" located on the left tool bar (It is the one selected in the picture). Then pick points close together on the boundary. You can move them after you place them so don't worry about goofing up.

Click "Selection from Path". This will make a selection from the boundary that you just selected.

Press the "Delete" key on your keyboard. The selected region should disappear and a checkerboard background should appear. If it does not, make sure that the "Background" layer is turned off and that the "Background Copy" layer is selected.

Repeat until the everything that you do not want to change color is deleted. For whatever reason, you have to click another command and then go back to the "Selection From Path" command otherwise it will be a continution of the previous path. You'll see what I mean when you try it.

For large areas with no boundaries touching the car, you can use the "Free Select Tool" to quickly select and delete them.

Give yourself a pat on the back, you're done with the hard part.

Now, turn the "Background" layer back on. You should now have the full picture back on the screen.

Next click the "Bucket Fill Tool" in the left toolbar (selected in the picture below). For "Fill Type" select "FG Color Fill". For "Affected Area" select "Fill Whole Section".
What you select for "Mode" will vary from picture to picture. I generally start with "Grain Merge" and play around with others if it doesn't work.

Next, double click on the color palette (seen in the picture below).

side of the dialog box, pick your color. I decided to go with black.

Make sure that the "Background Copy" layer is still the active (highlighted) layer. On the drop down menu go to Select: All or simply hold crtl and press A. Reselect the "Bucket Fill Tool" and click anywhere on the picture. The main body of the car should change color but not the background. It probably won't look perfect on the first try, so hit "undo" and try it again with a different color or mode setting. You'll eventually get it right.

Now you've got the picture you want but it's in GIMP's xcf format and useless for internet posting. Go to File: Save As

Name the file whatever you want. Select file type "JPEG Image". You can save it as a BMP but JPEG is a much smaller file. Click "Save".

A message box will come up asking about exporting. Click "Export".

Another message box will come up. Set the quality to whatever you feel is enough. I always do 100% but it's up to you.

Congratulations! You've just made a color change!

Here's the original picture for reference.

1986 Monte Carlo SS - stock
1976 Wagoneer - AMC 401 + nitrous = 11s
1983 Cherokee - AMC 401 + turbo = ???