Test exterior paint colors digitally with low- to no-cost software

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Quite a few of you requested details on the imaging software used in our how-to video, How to Choose Exterior Paint Schemes. Turns out there's more than one brushless way to digitally skin your home in just about any color. In the video, we used the Benjamin Moore software (available for download at a cost of $10) to run zero-commitment color tests. But, here are some other ways you can test any/all of your favorite shades for $0.

- The Valspar/ Lowes Online Painter allows you to test colors by house style (for exteriors) or room (for interiors) on pre-loaded images. You should have no problem finding an image in their library similar to the home or room you wish to test colors for. The site also gives you the option to create an "Idea Notebook" to help with planning.

- The Sherwin-Williams Color Visualizer is a similar tool that allows you to apply their interior and exterior color options to preloaded, generic images. This site also allows you to download the entire Sherwin-Williams color palette (also at no cost) for use on your own digital snaps in Photoshop or AutoCAD applications.

- Which brings me to another, possibly free color testing option for you. Photoshop isn't just for celebrity gossip bloggers, and you might be hard-pressed to find a Mac in America without the program loaded. If one of our past interns could 'shop Linsday Lohan's head onto the Statue of Liberty in no time at all (don't ask), then you can change the color of your home's siding. About.com can tell you how to do it.

Once you've settled on colors, check out How to Paint Your Exterior for all the tools, supplies, and tips you'll need to get the job done! -Tabitha Sukhai

Img from hisoldhouse.com photo gallery Choosing Exterior Colors