If you’re working on a new design and are stuck for colour inspiration, this short post has a great hint: Pixelate a favourite photograph.
The basic concept is that a photograph, being a natural juxtaposition of colours and shades, will render up colours that naturally complement or contrast with each other without looking garish. I gave it a try to see what it would produce.
1) Find a photograph. This part’s easy.
2) In Photoshop, go to Filter > Pixelate > Mosaic, and adjust so the mosaic squares are pretty large in relation to the photograph.
And that’s basically it. Once you have the pixellated photo, just pick and choose a set of 5-6 colours from it and lo, you have a palette. The following three palettes are all obtained from this experiment: the first is a set of unaltered colours from the photo, the second has had its value and saturation adjusted slightly, and the third is a result of playing with the “Hue” slider in the “Hue/Saturation” adjustments dialog.
Here are a few more quick examples I just cooked up, unadjusted from the original: