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No single visual element has more effect on a view than colour.  Color gets attentions, sets a mood, sends a message.  But what colours are the right ones?  The key is that colour is relational.  Colours are always seen with other colours.  Because of this you need to design a colour coordinated document based on colours from within the image that you are working with.  By following these simple steps, you will better understand how to make this work.

Every photo has a natural colour palette.  When you zoom in on an image you’ll be amazed at how many colours you see.

Step 1 – At a normal viewing distance we only see a few dozen colours: purple flowers, green stems, pink shirt, skin tones, but when we zoom in we see millions!

The first step is to reduce the colours to a manageable number, 16, 32 or 64.  In Photoshop, duplicate the layer (so you maintain the original image), then select Filter>Pixelate>Mosaic.  A large cell size give you very few colours, if you need more reduce the cell size.

Step 2 Pick out the colours 

Extract the colours with the the eyedropper tool. Work from the most dominate colours (the ones you see the most of) to the smallest. For contrast, pick up dark, medium and light pixels of each colour.

Step 3 Work first on the big colours

These are the ones you see at a glance; skin, hair, flowers, jeans. Then do the small colours; eyes, lips, highlights in hair & soft shadows. You can see a light & shadow side emerging as you work on an image. Finish each area before moving on. Sort your results by colour, then value (light to dark). If a colour looks close to another  discard it.

 

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