Nature’s Perfect Pallet

by Ramona on July 1, 2014

Have you ever had a moment of pure silliness that developed into an awesome journey? That is what happened to me tonight.

You know sometimes how you have a silly moment (aka: senior moment) and forget how to spell something? Now, I’m a pretty good speller and don’t have too many of these little lapses in memory. But on occasion, it does happen. I was doing a Google search how to spell “pallet” (don’t laugh, you know you’ve had these moments, too!). I sat here thinking to myself, is it one l, two t’s or is it two l’s and two t’s???  As I was typing in the little search box, the Google auto-fill came up “color pallet” and “color pallet generator”. Curiosity got the best of me…a generator? I wonder what that does, I thought to myself.

I clicked on the link. Nope; didn’t like that one. Back. This sounds interesting; I clicked on http://www.cssdrive.com/imagepalette/index.php and read the instructions quickly…well, how cool is this! Just upload a picture (or URL) and a color pallet of chips found in the photo is generated automatically.

I decided to try it. I found a picture on my computer that I had taken of a tangerine colored day lily and had uploaded to the ASG Facebook page earlier today. I love the colors and would love to find some linen this color for a jacket. I think the color is so vibrant and so pretty. I also like the lime in the buds as a contrast. Nature often makes perfect pallets if we only look.

S1540208

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After mere seconds, the color pallet for the picture was generated.

fabric color numbers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WOW! I could see all kinds of uses for a tool like this! Just imagine if making a project whether a jacket or a quilt and we have a photo in mind of colors that we like. Now all we have to do is upload it and generate the colors seen in the photo. Some will be the prominent colors and some the background and subtle colors perhaps not even noticed upon first glance at the photo. We have a pallet for color selection while shopping at our favorite fabric stores!

The color palette that is generated can also be saved as a Photoshop file for future use. The pallet has “hex” numbers, or a hex color code, which is information about the color. On this website http://www.color-hex.com/ the hex number can be put in and useful information generated for other purposes. Among other things it will generate RGB (red, green, blue) and CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) color information. For more information here is a website that has a good explanation of the difference: http://marvin.mrtoads.com/rgb_vs_cmyk.html

Our Dad was a printer by trade, using the four-color CMYK process. Years ago he explained the basics to me. It was fascinating to watch the old printing press run with Dad changing plates and ink colors on what I termed the old “Ben Franklin” press (it’s real name is an Excelsior press). He also had a Hiedelberg printing press, but that one lacked the romance of the other. Sometimes I still think I can smell the ink as he mixed it and the lead as he did the typesetting in the printers boxes. He had manuals and cans of ink he’d mix according to the manual “recipe”. Today, we have computers to help. There are still printers and cans of ink, but we can use the color generators to quickly decide on colors for a website or a color for fabric or even painting a house. All we have to do is know the RGB or CMYK color numbers and BINGO! The color can be created in many mediums.

We’re getting our house painted. My husband is going to choose the paint color. I took a photo of the stones on the lower part of our house. I put the photo in the pallet generator and a pallet of the stone colors appeared. Won’t that make it easy for my husband to choose a color that he automatically knows is in the color family of the stones? Notice the Hex number under the uploaded image. I just randomly selected that color.

house stone colors pallet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I put the hex number in the search box on the color-hex website and voila! We can take the chart to the paint store and get the exact color to paint the garage, if this is the color he chooses.

house hex

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How can this be used with fabric? There are many companies, like http://www.dharmatrading.com/  that supply dyes to be used on fabrics. Supply color numbers and they are matched to Pantone colors and you can mix to your heart’s content. I’m very novice when it comes to dying fabrics. I do so admire those who do it and create fabrics that are works of art in themselves. Information on color is on this website, or give them a call; they are very helpful folks.

dharma dyes

 

 

 

 

 

There are also some companies like www.spoonflower.com that will print fabric according to customer supplied colors and prints. Supply the “fabric chip” from the computer monitor and within days the fabric with that color printed on it will appear at the door ready to be sewn. Here, I did a screen capture of the color hex from the website.
tangerine color number

I pulled the screen capture into the paint program and selected and saved just the color as a fabric color chip to upload to the website.

fabric chip

 

 

 

 

 

I opened up the website, uploaded the file, and as you can see from the dropdown box, there are several selections of fabric types that I could have printed.  Read all the information on this site before ordering. Colors seen on the actual fabric may vary from what is seen on a computer monitor. They do have a swatch service and the file can be saved in your account on the website until the final decision is made. The nice thing is that if the color isn’t perfect, before ordering, just adjust it in the paint-type software program and try again before ordering fabric or swatches.

spoonflower color fabric to print

 

 

 

 

 

What if I wanted to print the lilies in the photo? They’d do that, too. Here I’ve played with the options on the website and find I could have the fabric printed as I wish. Here are three options I played with: an overall 1” image, an overall 3” image, and a single design. By playing with the original image, I could single out flowers, omit the background, and have anything I wish in my fabric.

fabric

 

 

 

I wish I would have discovered this long before now and I could have had the tangerine colored fabric for a conference jacket. But, now I know how I can have the perfect color I like if I cannot find it in my favorite ASG vendor member stores.

Sew ‘til next time, Enjoy the Journey of Sewing!

Ramona

 

 

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