Did you ever try to make a color palette from a photograph, but it came out looking too dark or very different to what you wanted? It happens when you try to pick colors with the Eyedropper Tool from a moodboard or image you like. This is because the colors you see are often composed of pixels that have different hues. Don’t worry, there’s a little trick you can use to make sure those pixels go away.
It will also be easier to find a great color scheme. I often have a hard time finding colors that go well together so I used to rely on a lot of sites and apps that use a mathematical algorithm to match them. I recently found a great way to make a color palette from a photograph and I will share it with you.
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Choose an image
Use an image that inspires you and reflects the tone and style of your current project. Open it in Photoshop and edit it if necessary. If you are using adjustment layers, merge them with your image when you are done editing or flatten the image.
How to work with color swatches
You can find the color swatches in the upper right corner of your workspace. If the window is not open, you can open it from Window/Swatches.
Even though Photoshop is 25 years old, we still don’t have a button to clear the existing colors, but emptying it is not that hard. Move your mouse over the colors and hold the Alt key. The arrow icon will turn into scissors and you can delete all those colors by clicking on them. You can leave the last color and save the swatch so you don’t have to do it every time you want to make a new palette.
In the right side of the swatches window, you have a menu button. If you click on it, you can see the preexisting swatches, and you can save, load, reset, and replace the palettes.
At the bottom of the window, you have two buttons: the first one adds the selected (foreground) color to you new palette, the second button deletes the selected color swatch if you drag it to the trashcan icon.
How to create a color palette
You can obviously pick random colors using the Eyedropper Tool, but things will be much easier if you use a filter on your image. Go to Filter/Pixelate/Crystallize.
The crystallizing effect will merge similar pixels and make it easier for you to pick the colors you want.
Enter the cell size you want. The bigger the cells, the fewer color options you’ll have. I usually use 45 because I like to have more options.
Now pick a color you like with the Eyedropper Tool and press the Create New Swatch button to add it to the swatches window.
When you are done, press the menu button in the right corner and save your new color palette. You can also add swatches to the library for easier access.
This is how my new color palette looks like. What did you make?