• Software:Photoshop CS6  ·
  • Difficulty:Beginner

Rules of the Exercise

  • 1
    Download and open the practice worksheet for this exercise.
  • 2
    Observe and analyze the subject matter. Follow the guides of the instructor notes.
  • 3
    Submit your work for this exercise under the "Submissions" tab for grading!


  This exercise is best completed after watching the "Color Shifting Using HSB" tutorial included in the "Color Course". When working with choosing colors for your subject matter, it's good to understand that it's natural to first assume using black and white for the shadows and highlights. You may notice that the end result can often look rather dull and uninteresting. This exercise asks you to bend your highlight colors toward a warm hue and your shadow colors toward a cooler hue. This will give your subject matter more depth and interest. So start with your diffuse color (hue identity) and then mix that color with a warm and cool color to create a new color palette that has a wider variety of hue and saturation shifting rather than just brightness shifting. Below is the practice worksheet that you can download! You can find this on the “Downloads” tab under the header image near the top of this exercise! Exercise_41_ColorShifting-1  



  • Try not to overdo the mixing of warm and cool colors, having that subtle effect and transition can be all you need to create the feeling.
  • Avoid Black and White all together for this exercise.
  • Keep a basic lighting setup, nothing too dramatic. We want to focus on the color shifting, not on the extreme lighting.
  • Have fun with the color play, if you want you can even take it a step further into a "Fantastical Intuition" color selection.

This is a crucial type of exercise to understand how shifting colors and experimenting with them can create a more interesting outcome. So have fun mixing new colors and seeing how laying them down creates a different feeling when looking at it.


  For this exercise, I wanted to create a step by step along with shots of the color picker so you can understand how these colors were chosen.  So when I choose my colors for "shifting" I generally follow the same pattern as shown below.

  • I will "bend" my shadow colors toward cool colors, increase the saturation, and lower the brightness.
  • I will "bend" my light colors toward warm colors, decrease the saturation, and raise the brightness.

This is a quick way to choose colors without relying on black and white to create forms. It's a good tip but one that you don't have to use all the time. Instead, experiment with this to create new color palettes and combinations to create your own swatch palette from. colorpickers In terms of the actual shading of each object, we are relying more on our fundamental knowledge of adding form, value, and lighting but this time we have more colors to work with. I always say that having strong foundations are important to build upon, and you can see in the example how before we add any highlights or texture, we first lay down a base color and build up the forms. When doing real life studies, the placement of highlights are key. So don't overdo the highlight but where you do place it, make sure it has purpose and stands out with contrast! You can download the step by step chart .PSD below including the layers used for each object! Exercise_41_Results When you finish the exercise, remember to submit the result to the “Submissions” tab near the top of this exercise. You can see other submissions alongside your own!