Colour extract experimentation

Last week I tried my first “colour extract”  – click here to see the original photo and the grid of colours I came up with.

Over the past week, in little corners and oddments of time pilfered from my non-textile life, I’ve been experimenting with the software. I’ve been using gimp (GNU Image Manipulation Program – freely distributed software) on and off for over 10 years, but know only a few of its many features. Here are some new-to-me ones.

colour_extract_2pI used a cropped version of the same photo as last week. The one here is also reduced in size for the blog – I found it useful while playing to try things with both the high resolution version and a lower one. It was a balancing act between quality of information (colours not too blended and muddied) versus quantity (overwhelming). I also went into Tools/Color Tools/Levels and used the slider where the histogram was flat (based on this tutorial which explains  “making full use of our available dynamic range improves the overall contrast of the image” ) – to my eyes giving richer colour.

Filters/Colors/Smooth Palette gave me “bar codes” of colour. First 256 bars:
colour_extract_2_bar1 then 100 bars
colour_extract_2_bar2 then 100 bars with increased search depth
colour_extract_2_bar3They look like warp yarn wraps, all set to go…

colour_extract_2_mosaic1Next is Filters/Distorts/Mosaic. This has a lot of parameters to play with – the sample here is rectangular tiles, no splitting, high tile neatness, 0.0 light direction, 0.00 color variation, color averaging… The tile size was chosen with an eye for use on the blog and it gives a very dull and muddied result.colour_extract_2_mosaic2

This second mosiac, just the front flower, was created with all the same settings except for tile size.

These make me think of bead weaving – there’s an interesting article in the current (March/April 2009) Handwoven magazine “Add Beading to Fabrics for One-of-a-Kind Art Pieces “. Something for another day.

colour_extract_2_pixelize1Ucolour_extract_2_pixelize2sing Filters/Blur/Pixelize  gives these results, first focused on the front flower then the larger picture. I like the separate blocks of colour, not too muddied.

I feel this gives me the best result for my purpose. It gives me colours still in the pictorial context, unlike the barcode palette. The colours aren’t averaged into non-descript mud, but retain a range of value and hue. It does help me by reducing the choice, simplifying colour selection both in the sense of deciding which colour and in the physical picking up the colour with the mouse.

colour_extract_2So why am I hesitating to produce “my” palette, using the same grid as last week? Partly the layout of the grid itself – large flat blocks of colour. Mostly because I don’t have an end purpose in mind to guide the choice… except of course the practise. So here is today’s effort.

3 Responses to “Colour extract experimentation”


  1. 1 Alison March 22, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    How cool! My head is swimming with possibilities. Thanks for sharing!

  2. 2 ReluctantDragon March 26, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Pardon my ignorance – color extracts are not something I’m at all familiar with… Is the grid of colors the finished piece, or a step in preparation for something else? It looks like an interesting process!
    ——
    Different topic, but I’ll go ahead and sneak it in to the same comment box –
    Your blog was one of the ones I chose for passing along the “Kreativ Blogger” award to – it’s on my blog here: http://shuttlemoves.com/blog1.php/2009/03/25/blog-award


  1. 1 GIMP detour « Fibres of Being Trackback on April 5, 2009 at 2:41 pm

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