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Colour Swatch - Creating Working with a custom palette

To create a custom palette
Working with a custom palette


Microsoft Image Composer provides three custom colour palettes in addition to the True Colour palette:

Gray Ramp 

Use the Gray Ramp palette for compositions that use black, white, and shades of gray.

Grey Ramp

Web (Dithered) 

Use the Web (Dithered) palette for full-color compositions that use up to 256 colors:

Web (Dithered)

If this palette doesn’t include a color needed by an image that you insert in your composition, Image Composer uses the nearest matching color from this palette.

Web (Solid) 

Use the Web (Solid) palette for line art or solid-colored art that you want to publish to the Web. This palette includes the same colors as the Web (Dithered) palette, but does not allow the colors in your composition to dither.

– or –

If these custom color palettes don’t meet the needs of your composition, or if your display system doesn’t support true color, you can create your own custom color palette that contains only the colors that your composition needs. 

However, Image Composer automatically generates new palettes from images that are inserted into the composition, and if you are designing graphics for the World Wide Web by using the so-called Safety Palette of 216 colors that are generally available on all systems that have color monitors. The icon below, created by Robert Hess,

Safty colours

contains exactly these 216 colors, so if you copy and save it from this page and insert it into your compositions, you'll have a easy way to force you graphics to conform to the safety palette. Note, however, that force-fitting graphics to the safety palette after the fact often results in unacceptable degradation of image quality; you'll have better results if you work from the colors that make up the safety palette in the first place. For more information on how to do this, see Robert Bentley's discussion of color considerations in improving performance of web pages.

To create a custom palette:

1 On the toolbox, click the Color Swatch.
2 In the Color Picker dialog box, click the Custom Palette tab.
3 Under Create and edit custom palettes, click New.
4 In the New Color Palette dialog box, type a name in the Palette name box.
5 In the Palette size box, select the number of colors you want to add to your new palette.

Note: Once you specify a number of colors, you can’t change it. If you think you will want to add colors to the palette after you create the initial set of color entries, select the next largest palette size.

6 In the Dither by box, select a method for approximating colors that are not in the current color palette.

To  ClickResult
Not ditherSolid  

No color blending, which creates a poster-like effect with splotches of color


Use a standard 16 x 16 ordered dither  Pattern Little color blending, which produces a blocky appearance
Use a 256 x 256 ordered dither Random Medium color blending

Distribute the color difference between the true color and the nearest palette color to the neighboring colors

Error Diffusion High color blending, which is useful with photographs

7 Click OK.

Now you can add colors to your custom palette. (For details, see Adding colors from a sprite or composition and Adding colors from a color ramp, in the Image Composer Help.)

Working with a custom palette:

1 Open the color Picker dialog box
2 Click the custom Palette tab
3 Click the Import button
4 Select one the predefined palettes and click Open to load it.

These can be found in ImgComp\Common|Mmfiles|Palettes on your Image Composer CD.

These are are also installed and stored in |Multimedia Files|Graphics|Color Palette |Microsoft Image Composer. When you click import it should default to this folder.

When you have loaded Custom Palette, then you can use the Color Format drop-down menu to view the Image Composer workspace with the palette you have loaded. This will give you some idea of how your images will look after you save them using a Custom Palette.