So, in a post titled "Which Is The Superior Palette?" over on my new site, I expressed a desire to improve my palette style. I set out to accomplish that on that same night. However, there's a problem: you open the color tool, pick a color, choose a ramp size, paint a cell, open the color picker tool again, tweak the colors, paint the next cell, open the color tool... you noticing the issue here?
In case you haven't, I realized that creating a palette is a slow, repetitive, tedious process. Normally that's fine, but this wasn't a normal case. It took me a good 10 minutes of tweaking to get one ramp I liked, and in pursuit of a new way of creating my colors, I needed to create potentially dozens of ramps. In other words, it was taking too damn long, and was really fucking tedious. I looked online for something to do it for me, but there aren't any. So I gave up.
But about a week later, I decided to try again. I managed to get all of one color I liked and painted it in before realizing "oh yeah, this is far too slow". But what was I going to do? I needed a machine to do the tedious part for me, so that it could get done quicker. Style testing won't really go anywhere if you're bogged down making tweaks a swatch at a time, and standard gradients weren't fast enough, or good enough. Too many unknown variables...
Technically, I wasn't really being honest earlier. There are numerous color palette generators online... PixelFor.me was one of them. But the site suddenly went down recently. Plus, the damn thing was slow and inaccurate. I wanted a lot of control. I wanted speed. I wanted accuracy. I WANTED POWER! So what did I do? I designed and programmed my own ramp generator.
It's a standalone Game Maker game file, so I'm not sure how many systems are able to run it, but it's relatively light weight.
Yes, that means it's technically a GameMaker game. I'm too damn stupid to program in anything but GML.
Are there other palette makers out there? Yes. Are there better ones than this one? No. My palette generator is the best palette generator there is. It allows you to adjust hue, saturation, brightness, and automatically shifts them, as shown above. Oh yeah, it's also super accurate, too. Since I built it to as precise as possible*, all you have to do is take the HSL/HSB/HSV values from the color you'd like to use as a base**, and adjust the sliders and bam, automatically generated ramp. Want some variety? No problem. Each swatch in the ramp can be augmented individually, or multiple at a time with the augment sliders. Want to save a palette and move on to the next one so you can compare multiples? Cool, no prob. My ramp generator has up to 10 save slots for you to use.
*Unfortunately, with the way it works, it can be a little tricky to 100% recreate a specific color. But I'm sure it's possible. This might be something I need to polish up later on.
**Not all programs use 0 - 359 for their hue values, so it's not going to be completely accurate for all values taken from all programs. MS Paint, for example, is 0-239.
Now.... after having bragged my ass off, I do have to admit that the ramp-size modifier is a little wonky. It was becoming a borefest trying to perfectly balance the colors between ramp sizes. If you want the best results, you kind of have to use the 15-cell ramp. That's not to say you can't use the others, but they get a little janky and may require you to toy with the settings to improve them and make them flow a little nicer, or to go in afterwards and edit them yourself.
The whole thing is cobbled together, really. It works, it's stable, it's lightning quick, but it does have issues on the programming side of things. I do plan to release the GameMaker file. I've commented as much as I thought would be necessary, but I'm going to need to add in a few instructions. If anyone out there is good in programming or knows GML well, and is brave enough to try to pick through my crappy programming work, you can go ahead and fix it up if you feel inclined, then you can send me your patched version and I'll update the download file along with credit.... presuming I've not been simply talking into the ether all along... Which is entirely possible.
It only goes down to 3, and up to a maximum of 15... but at least I allowed every possibility in between. Frankly, if you need a ramp under 3, why the hell do you need my generator for? It's just two colors.
The other issue is the saturation direction switcher. It doesn't look good the other way around, and I have no idea why. Part of me believes that might be my fault, and there might be some way of rebuilding it, but I couldn't find it. I tend to use option 1 anyway, so it wasn't really something I focused a lot of time on. I increase saturation as I decrease brightness when I make my palettes, but I know that Earth's Mightiest Pixel Artists™ do it the other way around, so I included the switcher option it just in case I was being a moron and just hadn't set the sliders properly for reversed sat.
This only took me a few days to finish, and that's including frustrating roadblocks and procrastination. The cool thing about it is if you adjust the hue shift to '5', you can actually get it to closely mimic Earth's Mightiest Pixel Artist's™ Earth's Lousiest Palette Style™™. (Ok, I promise I'll stop doing that, now...)
But that's not a joke. My palette generator is actually capable of generating their palettes better than I was ever able to, (and in some cases, better than they're able to) so that's actually great, because I can now use my generator to do a better job of undermining their style. I don't have to guess anymore. When I need to say 'this is how their palette looks under <X> circumstance', I can show it more accurately. But on top of that, it will help me in growing my style and my ability. Now that I don't have to play stupid guessing games and waste hours of my day on creating the palettes, I can play around with colors much more easily. And since it's a standalone that can be installed, I'm no longer going to be hindered by 504 errors and webpage loading times. Actually, just in the course of making and testing this generator, I've learned some new tricks and come up with some interesting ideas with color. Words can't describe how pleased I am that not only was I able to put this thing together, but that is has already paid off in spades.
You can pick up my ramp generator on my new web store for 6 easy payments of..... absolutely nothing.
Nice to see Weebly has some brand new bugs to make me glad I finally switched...
I'm giving it away for free, and not just because it's using someone else's image as an example. Even though I spent 4 days non-stop working on it and frustrated the crap out of myself on at least 3 occasions, it's far too handy a tool to charge money for. Not only that, but you can download direct. No ads, no sketchy third party download site, no affiliate links, no shilling, no trial period, no hidden/sneaky affiliate downloads, no popups begging for support or donations, no 'limited time offer', no pro/lite versions, no nothing. I'm getting nothing for the program and when you click that download button, you get the full version for life.
Keep in mind, I have no idea what operating systems it will run on. It may not run on Mac OS... But in terms of hardware, you should be able to run this thing on a toaster. It doesn't take a lot of CPU, it doesn't require much of a graphics card, there's not a whole hell of a lot going on under the hood at any given moment so it shouldn't have frame rate issues even on lower range machines, all of the graphics are small, so there should be no distortion. The only thing really terribly wrong that I can conceive of being an issue is that it's got kind of a large window that can't be resized, so it may not be good for mobile and tablet, or monitors/screens under 1024 x 768 in size. But there are no load times, I've installed it on my machine and it installs and opens instantly. (Although the installer did crash after it was finished, but everything worked out in the end, so.... no problems here. It's GameMaker's installer, so there's nothing I could hope to do about it...)
NOTICE: For some reason, if your computer already has the folder it's trying to write to, it will not be able to install the generator. Or at least that's how it was for me. It kept coming back with errors while attempting to install. I had to uninstall the old version, delete the folder, and try again. Then it allowed me to install it. This shouldn't happen on your first install, though. Hopefully...
And no, I'm not making a connected ramp version. Why the fuck would I make something that did something I hate for people I actively oppose? The connected palette can die for all I care. I'm not contributing to that bullshit or making something those asshole can use.
Sigh... Why the hell am I always so nice? God damn it. Fine. I do have ideas on how I could do a connected ramp generator. I've thought about how I could go about making it, and I do think I might be able to pull off not only a generator capable of doing it, but the best damn connected ramp generator anyone has ever seen.
But I sure as shit won't be giving it away for free, and you can bet your ass I'm going to need some motivation. ...this one was hard. It made me want to cry... I still have a headache from the save mechanic I was working on 8 hours ago, by now. And my cat only made it worse by being a little attention whore bitch. It's like she can sense when I need to really focus, because she becomes dead set on making me lose my train of thought on the most difficult parts of these projects. Frankly, she's lucky I'm not prone to violent outbursts otherwise she would have died 6 times over during the programming of this thing. The stress has been heavy. (No, I'm not chronically stressed. My brain will be fine.)
If you end up using my generator and find a bug in it, do let me know and I'll try to fix it.
Oh and the power just went out destroying all the data I had just collected.... that's just fantastic. I had all the palette generation data sitting in waiting on a word document I forgot to save, and now it's all gone. I fucking knew the power was going to go out. I could sense it. And yet, much like a genius, I forgot to fucking save the document. Looks like I know what I'm spending the rest of the god damn night doing...
I do so love living here..... in this place.... where the power goes out at random... all the damn time.... in a 1st world country...