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Thread: Extracting a clean palette from an image using Photoshop

  1. #1
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    Extracting a clean palette from an image using Photoshop

    This is about getting a clean sample palette as a starting point for painting in ArtRage.

    Ever noticed how picking a color from a reference pic can be dicey? Not all the colors of all the pixels are clean, because they are optically blending. Zoom way in and you will see how the diverse pixels are sitting aside each other -- expecially if you're working from a printed photo.

    Well, if you have Photoshop, there's an easy way to break a full value and color picture down into a managable palette of clean color that you know will be pure when picking/sampling a color to paint with. (If you don't have Photoshop, there are undoubtedly other ways of getting at this. But this is the principle.)

    1) Open your original picture in PS.
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  2. #2
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    2) Then go to File > Save For Web.

    That window that opens is an interface to see how far you need to compress your image so it will load smoothly on a webpage.

    But the part I want to point out is the palette to the right of the image.

    Pick GIF and you will be able to choose the number of colors you want to compress it down to.

    Voila! Your palette.

    Careful that you don't over compress it, as after a point it starts eliminating key colors. So you can play with it so that there aren't too many nor too few.
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  3. #3
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    3) In order to pull only the color palette off to be used it takes two steps.

    Do a screen grab. Macs use: [Command/Apple]+[Shift]+[3]
    PCs use: Print Screen (to the right of the function keys at the top of the keyboard)

    Now the image is either saved (Mac) or in your copy buffer (PC). (I'm doing this PC part from memory, so please correct me if I'm wrong.)

    So with Mac. open the file in Photoshop (in my case screengrabs get saved to my Desktop and it's named 'picture1', 'picture2' etc).

    Or with PC you can, as I recall, open File > New > Ok and it will open the grab from your buffer. And if the image is not in the new window, then just paste it in [Ctrl]+[V] or Edit > Paste.
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    4) You can't see it in my previous post because the colors are clear against a white background, so it looks white. But there's a way to isolate the colors on a clear field so that you don't accidentally pick white (as if you wouldn't notice. . .). Not essential, but it's a small matter to do.

    In PS, in the Layers palette, double click on the only layer called 'Background'. just rename it the default 'Layer 0' in order to make it floating. Again, not sure about everybody's, but it MAY get pasted in, in which case delete the background layer and that's it.

    In short, you want that layer with the palette to be floating over clear like the ascetate cell AR talks about.

    Then go to your Tools Palette and pick your Wand Tool. With it, go to your image and select the black line in between the colors.

    Go to Select > Modify > Expand (by 1 px).

    And cut it away. Edit > Cut.

    Save the remaining image as a .psd (Photoshop) or .png.

    Finally, you can import it into ArtRage:

    Tools > Open a Reference Image
    and find where that pic was saved and select it to open and click Open.

    The cool thing about this is that you can use that palette forever, and as a started for any new picture too, and it will give you clean color every time. What you see is what you get, as they say. Flat Color.

    Another bonus is that you can still load the original reference pic to look at as you paint. (or trace or whatever).

    I hope I was being clear. I'm going to go stick my head in a bucket of ice water now. Even MY eyes are crossing from all the details!

    Bottom line is that it's really easy when you know how to do it. Takes all of two minutes to get a palette. That's quick.

    Enjoy!

  5. #5
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    thanks for that!
    Enchanter
    Draw what you see!....not what you think you see!!
    My artist friend

    We Must each think of ourselves as an endless work in progress ....Harley Brown

  6. #6
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    extracting a clean palette from image

    can you do the same thing with GIMP?

  7. #7
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    yes d akey, how else can this be done???
    i'm working on a portrait of my mother in law, but only have a couple of super grainy teensy snapshots to work from and i'm tired of picking up purples and hot pinks instead of flesh colors! my husband the shutterbug, also loves the scissors a bit too much.

  8. #8
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    Well, it isn't as precise as D Akey's method, but I may have another way that could work. It requires the use of Microsoft Paint (which has always come free with every Windows operated system I've owned). It's pretty easy to do, but not so easy to discribe, so I made a video to demenstrate how to do it. You can watch it at YouTube HERE, or download a higher quality version of it HERE.

    I also found a couple links online that will convert an image into an indexed color palette, but they of course have limits as well (amount of colors, needing to be online, etc). Here are the links for the two sites I found:

    link1

    link2
    Nothing is easy to the unwilling.

  9. #9
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    i'll be trying that soon. thank you someonesane! you've made my day

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by earthmama View Post
    i'll be trying that soon. thank you someonesane! you've made my day
    No problem .

    I've actually painted this apple a number of times for various reasons ranging from testing my drawing tablet, to testing how far my own skills have come. Once again, I have used the image to test how close I could come to the actual picture (in terms of color values this time) using only the index color chart I made from the image. For the relatively small amount of time I put into this image, this time around, I'm actually pretty happy with the results. I'll probably try using a color index more often.


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    Nothing is easy to the unwilling.

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