October 17, 2013

Creating color palettes with Photoshop

I have a new discovery to share with all of you! Yesterday I was messing around on Photoshop trying to find a specific color to match one I already had in a photo and found a way to make color palettes from photos I already have. It's so much fun!  Now, if you already know this super fun technique, I apologize. I am known to be a little behind when it comes to technology and most things involving the computer.  But if you'd want to learn how to do it, I have instructions below.

Here are some photos that I've taken and created color palettes for. 

Aren't they neat? It was so fun creating the palettes. I think having a color palette can be so useful for home decor. For instance, if you had trouble deciding what colors to add to a room, you could take a photo of the room and create a color palette from it.

The rest of this post is instructions on how I did this so if you're not interested in reading a confusing list of instructions, feel free to bid me adieu until next time!  For my blog friends, if after reading the instructions, you still can't figure it out but have a photo you'd like to create a palette for, feel free to email it to me and I'll do it for you and send it back!

Now, I am absolutely the last person you should ask about how to use Photoshop. Everything I ever do in Photoshop, I either ask Mr. H, find a YouTube tutorial or drive myself crazy trying to figure it out on my own which is how I discovered this. Usually after I figure out whatever it was I was trying to do, it leaves my brain so I never remember how to do anything. So this is as much for me as it is for you. I hope I don't leave out anything but if you find that I did, please let me know! I have Photoshop CS5 Extended so I'm not sure if the steps would be the same for other versions of Photoshop.

1) Open Photoshop and open up the photo you want to make a palette of

2) Under File, chose Save for Web & Devices

Your photo will pop up with swatches of colors to the right of it. Mine defaults as a GIF file so I just leave it.

3) The only setting I change is the "Colors" setting. It sets how many color swatches you will see. I chose 128, enough to get a good selection but not too much to be overwhelming

4) In the Color Table section on the right side of the table there is a Color Palette Menu. It looks like an upside down triangle with four lines by it. Click on this and select Save Color Table. Name your table and save it wherever you want. Click Done

5) Now you are back at your original photo. Go up to the Swatches tab (upper right of screen) and click on the drop down menu (the upside down triangle with 4 lines next to it) and select Load Swatches or Replace Swatches. Load Swatches will add your new palette to the ones already there. Replace Swatches will remove the ones already there and replace them with your new color palette.  I like Replace Swatches so I don't have to guess which are the new colors

6) Find where you saved your new color table. You may have to change the Files of type section at the bottom to .ACT. Click on the file.

Now you're ready to start creating your palette!

7) Choose the Rectangle Tool or whatever shape you want. I like the Rounded Rectangle Tool

8) Go to Swatches and chose your first color

9) Go to your photo. Make sure you are on the Background layer.  Click and drag the shape to however you want it. When you let go, the color will fill in

10) Repeat with each color you add. Make sure you click on the Background layer after each new color you choose because as you add colors, a new layer is created and it won't let you change the color if you're not on the Background layer

11) When you are done, save it as you normally would save any photo 

12) If you chose Replace Swatches in step 5, remember to Reset Swatches when you are done or the next person using Photoshop will wonder what happened to the colors. Do this by going up to the Swatches tab and clicking on the drop down menu. Select Reset Swatches. It will ask you "Replace current color swatches with the default colors?" Click OK.


  1. Oh I'm loving it. I'll have to try it.

  2. Very nice and such great instructions too! Thank you for sharing with us!

  3. great!!!
    would you like to follow each other?
    just let me know

  4. Love the complementary colours to your pics, Khammany! Such a useful device and perfect for pairing accessories and even bigger ticket items, like furniture! Thanks for the little exhibit!


  5. I know I will be trying this!

  6. This is certainly a wonderful tool to use!
    Mary Alice

  7. Wow, this is the coolest. I have such a hard time with picking out colors. I just visited your bathroom post again, I love the blue color you have in there. I'm liking the colors in the last photo of the purple flowers... very pretty.

  8. I think this is really cool and very useful! I bought photoshop last Christmas for my dad, thinking I could just pop over to his house when I needed to use it for touching up the family christmas photo card. But then he moved! Hope you are having a wonderful day!

  9. Hi, Khammany!
    Thanks for sharing this with all of us!! My knowledge of Photoshop is very basic, so this is quite advance for me. I'm bookmarking this post for a rainy day when I can play around with Photoshop. I might have to email you for help :)

  10. Hi Khammany .. thanks so much for sharing this with your clear concise instructions. I am absolutely computer illiterate when it comes to any thing photoshop so I am most keen to give this a go now. Thanks again, Julie x0x

  11. A good tutorial. Thank you for sharing

  12. What a wonderful tutorial and one I will be trying!!

  13. Love this, Khammany! Always such beautiful inspiration from nature! Have a great weekend!

  14. Beautiful pictures. Thanks for always visiting me and leaving such lovely comments.

  15. Thanks for sharing this...such a neat tool! You gave a great tutorial as well. Have a wonderful weekend!

  16. Oh wow thanks so much for sharing Khammany. Jodi x

  17. Just wanted to let you know that I posted a link to your blog on my recent posting.
    Have a great week!

  18. I need to get photoshop! That is great thanks so much for sharing !

  19. It's a nice way to choose paint colours; the fig shades are lovely.

  20. Thanks for the helpful info on color palettes. I use another photo editor, but you make me want to try Photoshop again!

  21. Interesting scheme of colours. I love all the palettes but my favourite of all is the pot with the cat.

    Have a good week Khammany.

  22. These are so cool and I love that you added the instructions! I really need to learn photoshop!

  23. That is so awesome. I don't have photoshop but now I wish I did! You explained it well! Hugs!

  24. that's a great idea ... wish I had photoshop !! have a lovely autumn weekend !
    Gail x

  25. Such a beautiful post and wonderful idea! You have a wonderful blog!




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...