View Full Version : A way to figure out color blends (using Photoshop)

29th Jul 2009, 11:05 AM
I am making a pattern with 16 colors, and after a while of thinking I figured out a very simple way to figure out best color blends! And using the suggested colors below you may get a lot of colors, maybe not perfect photo realistic colors but good enough for a lot of uses. Obviously easier to use on illustrations than photos.. ;)

(this require you to know how to use layers in photoshop)

Start a picture, empty and any size you want.

Add 4 layers so you have 5 layers if you include the background one.

Layer 1 should be at bottom, next to background, layer 4 at top.

Now, the Background layer = the Background color (the fixed color) in Patterns.
Layer 1 (next to background = Red channel (palette 1)
Layer 2 = Green channel (palette 2)
Layer 3 = Blue channel (palette 3)
Layer 4 = Alpha channel (palette 4)

Using fill, pour the colors you want in the layers. I suggest you to use black as background, white in layer 1, red in layer 2, yellow in layer 3 and blue in layer 4. As for red and blue it is suggested to use magenta or reddish magenta for red and cyan or blueish cyan for blue for best results.

Set the opacity on all layers with exception for background to zero.

From here you can blend with the opacity setting of the layers to get the color you like.

To get a light blue color you set opacity 35% on layer 4, 40% opacity on layer 2 and 100% opacity on layer 1.

Over to the pattern file:
So now you note that you need to pour 65% grey in Alpha channel, 60% grey in Green channel and 100% white in Red channel to get light blue!
(in my photoshop version 7 the default color swatches have nice grey values, do mouse-over to get know the percent of grey)

Ok, maybe this is confusing to read... But it is helpful! :)
Maybe I will program a small utility software to do this... :)

However, patterns made in this method are not easy to recolor using CAST without making it ugly, so it is best used on patterns with well known colors such as brand logo, cartoon figures etc.... But it is still a good way to get patterns with a lot of colors...

30th Jul 2009, 3:19 AM
That was very clear... though as you say, it's still going to be challenging to apply it to actual patterns, since then there's still a lot of figuring out to do as to which pixels have which percent fill on which layers ;)

Thanks for your pioneering work on blends though! Looking forward to seeing what you do with this.

30th Jul 2009, 6:33 AM
If you want a really really good way to preview your work while in photoshop check out steps 12-18 in my tutorial (http://www.modthesims.info/showthread.php?t=343264).

Once you have that set up you can use level or curves to adjust each mask to get the amount of blending you want. The bonus is you can see a preview in lots of different colors, so you can get a good idea of how useful your pattern is.