Friday, May 18

Design by Nature: generate color schemes from your photos

Web designer, John (fd on flickr) at Big Huge Labs, recently introduced a fun, fast and easy way to generate a harmonious color scheme from a photograph. Imagine using this tool to quickly generate color combinations for graphics, painting, design, interior design ... whatever you can come up with. They new tool is called Palette Generator -- it works with any photograph on your computer, on the web, or in your Flickr account.

I used this series of stormy weather photos:
to generate this palette, complete with color specific numbers:
#595f56; #9ca99f; #333126 #484f49; #3f483b; #4d4a3d; #5f6653 #423926; #8a8a79; #827e78; #304150; #6a655b; #716f67; #344451; #716c61



Of course, this color combo includes lots of grays and browns because there are some sepias and black&white photos in the group. It's a slightly brighter palette if I analyze just one of the storm photos:





Below is a another color scheme generated from this photo of Dune Juniper I shot at Coral Pink Sand Dunes.










In the past, when I've had the urge to create a palette based on a photo (for instance, when I'm laying out a print ad and want some harmonious solid color areas surrounding a photo) I have used Photoshop's color sampling (eyedropper) tool to do that. It takes time to generate more than just a few colors this way.

Have fun with this new tool/toy from fd. I hope you find it as useful as I do.

18 Comments:

Patia said...

That is insanely cool.

Thanks for the heads-up!

maureen said...

you are very welcome, Patia -- so.... I expect to see photos of a newly painted apartment on our blog someday. [grin]

marybeth said...

it's like kismet...i often get my colour schemes for paintings from images, but using the manual eyeball method...this is much more efficient!! thanks, maureen!

maureen said...

though there is something to be said for the purely eyeball method, marybeth .... nothing like being totally involved in the process. I like eyeballing color, too. I used to be the color-mixer-matcher for Lindsey Models in North Van because I was so good at matching paint colors to some real object they were trying to reproduce. It was really fun -- a part of the job I loved. Still, i think this tool sometimes comes up with surprising combinations I might not have seen with my own eyes. There's a place for both methods.

-Suzie- said...

Thanks for sharing! I will try try it.

-Suzie- said...

Hi Maureen, I tried it and I really like it. The only problem, I do not know how to save the colour palette (as picture ?) to my computer. Can you help?
Thank you,
Suzie

maureen said...

Suzie, I could not figure out a way to directly save the color palette to my computer from the tool -- what I did was make a screenshot of the color palette and saved that on my computer. Hope that helps.

Tammy said...

I love this Maureen. Thank you!

maureen said...

isn't it a cool toy, Tammy? Maybe you'll put some color combos on your blog soon. :-}

-Suzie- said...

Hi Maureen,
thank you. I tried a screenshot already before asking... maybe have to wait for my husband to explain the laptop to me ;-) and than I will let you know about my palettes.

maureen said...

Hi suzie, if you don't know how to make a screenshot on your laptop (maybe you do, but I'm not sure from your comment if you do or not) check the Help section for your computer for instructions. Once you do a screenshot the picture is probabaly sitting on your desktop or wherever the default location for screenshots is set. I use an iMac, so it's really easy for me. Not sure about doing and saving screenshots for a PC. You may have to open the resulting picture in a photo editing program and crop out everything but the color palette.

I'd email you with instructions but I can't find your blog or email address.

Hope this helps :-)

SK said...

Try www.pic2color.com . It will soon allow you to recolor your web page based on photos

Bitterroot said...

What a completely cool thing. I did not know about it. You have shown me so many marvelous wonders in this world!!

maureen said...

and you have shown me some cool stuff, too, E

Meg in Nelson said...

Blues and grays - a woman REALLY after my heart. I can't wait to meet you - I know we will some day.

maureen said...

Meg, I told Tim we have to go to NZ sometime in the next ten years [grin] -- he agrees. heheh. I would love to meet you in person, so we will have to put that out to the universe as a goal, eh?

julie said...

looks great, where and how can you get it from?
julie-boots

Maureen said...

Hi Julie -- I have a couple of links in the blog post above, but I'll put it here as well. Go to Palette Generator to make color palettes from your own photos.