Posted by: Ocean's Dream | March 9, 2008

I can taste colors!


This one is about color. Sometimes people have difficulty picking colors for their chips. So they might either use default color palettes or try to make their own but end up with oversaturated colors, or ones with not enough contrast in them. It can be problematic, as a color can look different when placed near others, making it harder to find colors that are right. One thing I find useful is looking at the colors used by commercial game graphics. Feel free to take those colors and look at how they are used. How much red,green and blue is in them? You don’t need to memorize numbers. But keep them in mind. Also, don’t be afraid to alter colors once you’ve got them.

Let’s go over the various problems one could have with colors. First thing is contrasts. There’s the problem of too much contrast, and not enough. Floor tiles are one of the most important things to have low contrasts on. If they have high contrast, then you’ll find that the floor pops out too much and takes too much attention away from the other things. You don’t want that. For objects and characters, that’s usually fine. But then you may need to use too many colors if your colors don’t have enough contrast, either that or your piece will end up looking flat. Check out this comparison:

Hue is another thing. You may think: This object is green. So the highlight will be a lighter green, the shadow will be a darker green. Instead, refer back to the color wheel I spoke about earlier. What color light do you want? Make the highlight have more of that color. Let the shadow colors have more of the opposite color. It can make your object more interesting than just having different brightness levels of the same color. For red, you can make the highlights a brighter orange, yellow, or pink. Your shadows could be bluer or purpler.

And we’ll end this one on saturation. Saturation is how bright and pure a color is. Desaturate it and you get grey. I work in RGB values, but you can also use Hue, Saturation and Value (or brightness). If the RGB values are all the same (like 127,127,127), then you have a grey color. If the RGB values are only or mainly just on one of them, you have a saturated color (like 255,0,0). In general unless you’re doing this for a specific purpose, you could try avoiding using saturated colors like pure Green, and include a bit of other colors in them. Here’s an example of saturated colors on top, desaturated colors in the middle, and examples from other games. Grass is from Seiken Densetsu 3 and the brick wall/water is from Star Ocean.

I find it best to test out colors on a middle grey (127,127,127) background, rather than a white or black background.

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