June 2007 Archives

Photograph to Color Palette

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One of the more interesting tricks of color theory is to generate a set of color swatches in Photoshop from a reasonably pleasing photo.

In this exercise, you open a photo in Photoshop (or whatever) and use the eyedropper to pick colors from different parts of the photo. Then you use the paint can to add color to adjacent rectangular areas in a new file. When you're done, you usually get a palette where the colors seem to all come together perfectly through the magic of Photoshop. You can then use these colors as backgrounds and text colors to coordinate with each other (and the photo). See http://24ways.org/2006/photographic-palettes for an example.

Well here's my dog on my living room sofa in a fairly overexposed photo (I still need photo classes), but yes I did get a reasonably decent palette out of it.


Palette of tans, teals, greens

I did figure out that

1. You should select different areas of one object to get several value options for each color.
2. I recommend focusing on whatever areas jump out at you.