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DB32 - DawnBringer's 32 Col Palette V1.0

Printed From: Pixel Joint
Category: The Lounge
Forum Name: Resources and Support
Forum Discription: Help your fellow pixel artists out with links to good tutorials, other forums, software, fonts, etc. Bugs and support issues should go here as well.
Printed Date: 11 July 2020 at 2:16pm

Topic: DB32 - DawnBringer's 32 Col Palette V1.0
Posted By: DawnBringer
Subject: DB32 - DawnBringer's 32 Col Palette V1.0
Date Posted: 30 April 2013 at 7:07am
As somewhat of a follow-up to the - DB16 Palette , I here present a 32 color big-brother; the DB32. Again, this is a palette that tries to be as multi-purpose as possible, but with a clear slant towards archetypical game graphics & pixelart.

I have been working on a 32c pal since the DB16, but 32 colors is far more complex than 16 when you try to make all things work optimally together. Then when - Hapiel of PJ accidentally asked if I could help out with a 32 color palette for the - Open Pixel Platformer Project , it was a good incentive to wrap this one up.

For this reason, the presentation is a little basic right now - but over time, I hope to expand this page with more info, drawings, ramp & dither charts etc. But feel free to ask any questions.

Files: - PAL file (.pal) - GIMP (.gpl) (provided by neota) - Photoshop Swatch (.aco) (provided by skunk)


("Tru" or True Saturation is the very arbitrary name of one the many methods of more accurately measuring Color/Saturation I'm experimenting with. "Tru" is a hybrid value of the color's distance from the grayscale-axis and the classic HSL value.)

DB32 Neutralizers:



Posted By: neota
Date Posted: 30 April 2013 at 7:14pm
I look forward to trying this out for painting; I wanted to use the 16col version but it was too limited. This has a nice range of hues with an overall watercolor or cartoon feel.
I hope it will be included in the upcoming release of DBToolbox :)

Re: "Tru": I notice you never use LAB or LCH colorspaces in the DB-Toolbox code. Is this because you've tried it and found it unsuitable, it's too hard to implement correctly, too slow, it only roundtrips 99.5% of sRGB colors intact, or what?

I ask because LCH definitely has a more 'true' measurement of saturation than HSL (either standard or 'correct linear' HSL), and LCH/LAB are the colorspaces used by several standard 'color difference' measuring algorithms that seem to perform well.

I decided to put the rest of my reply in - your DBToolbox topic as it'd be pretty OT here (deals with doing more accurate/ aesthetic ramping)

Here's a - .GPL version of this palette. And the - Direct download link

I'm happy with it so far:
. Less happy with how my browser's treating the timing information ;)


Posted By: DawnBringer
Date Posted: 30 April 2013 at 8:48pm
"Here's a GPL version of this palette"

Thanx! Funny names, nice there's both "Valhalla" and "Viking" in this palette! :D

Posted By: ultimaodin
Date Posted: 30 April 2013 at 10:55pm
DawnBringer, why are you so amazing with colours? ^_^

Here, have a cross dither chart.

The world is but a shadow of emotion, cast in shades of grey.

Posted By: AtskaHeart
Date Posted: 07 May 2013 at 5:13pm
I'll love to use it in future pieces. I liked your 16 color palette a lot, required some skill to use it yet it made the pixelling task funnier (and the general style of the pieces is pretty nice).

At first glance this palette seems to wide the limits of the 16 color palette (there is more variety in saturation which allows a better contrast as can be seen in the Monroe piece, and the fact it supports magentas is awesome!).

I haven't understood the 'Tru' value though :o.

Posted By: Mrmo Tarius
Date Posted: 09 May 2013 at 4:50am
I am amazed and feel like when someone gives a shiny new toy to a kid :D

if this seems familiar, yeah, I'm basically following that one older tileset I made, but only from memory :D

*edit* SO MANY COLORS ARGH omg this palette is the next big thing :D

Posted By: DawnBringer
Date Posted: 09 May 2013 at 11:40pm
You're a dynamo Mrmo! :D
Don't forget to explore the two "dirty yellows" (last in palette) they are wonderful in their versatility, f.ex one of them could replace the gray on the tree's trunk.

Posted By: DawnBringer
Date Posted: 16 May 2013 at 5:12pm
Exploring some of the color-options for a few basic terrains:

Posted By: jalonso
Date Posted: 17 May 2013 at 12:30pm
Your 16 and now 32 color palettes have been so inspirational and motivational. These have quickly become pixelart classics. Many are more comfortable and color savvy that they ever would have been without them. We simply don't know how to properly thank you other than by using and exploring them.

We hold on to SilverStar Badges and save them for special occasions only and this truly is deserving. Its in your profile.

------------- - PJs FAQ <•> - Sticky Reads

Posted By: AtskaHeart
Date Posted: 17 May 2013 at 12:51pm
Gratz! You certainly deserve it :). I've learnt a lot with your colors (and still learning!).

Posted By: DawnBringer
Date Posted: 17 May 2013 at 2:53pm
Yay, the elusive silverstar! :) Now, how to get one of those sexy thumbs-up trophies...

Posted By: Hillah
Date Posted: 31 May 2013 at 10:19am
Hi, can u help me, how i can use this pallete in Graphics Gale? im newbee in pixel art and programs used for it... great thx for urs attention :)

Posted By: Numberplay
Date Posted: 31 May 2013 at 10:52am
save the picture of the palette and open it in GG. Open this tab : All frames -> Color Depth, then select the 8bpp option. You'll notice your palette window changed to all 32 colors (more if you added new colors).

In the same palette window click the small arrow icon and click "save palette". Just name the file DB32 or anything you like.

Now you just have to load that palette for your future works.

EDIT : Noticed there's the pal file in the first post. You can just download that and load it.

Posted By: shampoop
Date Posted: 06 June 2013 at 5:07pm
Nothing like Mrmo's but I thought I'd share a little practice piece I did with your pallet

Posted By: Patt-Ytto
Date Posted: 13 June 2013 at 11:12am
I'm fairly new to the concept of actively using pallettes.
How do you guys use them?

Posted By: neota
Date Posted: 13 June 2013 at 6:48pm
Do you mean 'how do we get the palettes into the software we use'?

  • Some programs have a 'load palette' option in the menu (MtPaint, ?Pro Motion?)
  • Others have it in the palette editor/viewer (?GraphicsGale?, MyPaint, ?Krita?)
  • Still others look in predefined directories, and you have to save it into one of them and tell the program to refresh it's list before the palette will show up. Then you can choose it (GIMP, Inkscape)
  • Some others simply allow you to load a palette through the Load/Open dialog, as if it were an image (Grafx2, ?DeluxePaint?)
  • Other software, which is frequently regarded as crippled for pixel-art, fails to provide any way at all to do it, or doesn't even HAVE a proper palette (MSPaint, ???)

If you just mean 'how do we utilize them' in an artistic sense, there's really not much to it -- we just don't use colors that aren't in the palette; sometimes this forces us to make different choices in color scheming, that are often better than we would otherwise make. Similarly when choosing lighter/darker shades of a base color, or blending between colors, we often have to think creatively about what existing palette color to use, rather than simply making a few new colors exactly dedicated to it. This tends to give the picture an attractive sense of consistency.


Posted By: Pheno
Date Posted: 14 June 2013 at 6:25pm
I almost want to make an entire game's worth of graphics with this palette. Could I, if I decided to?

Posted By: surt
Date Posted: 14 June 2013 at 7:01pm
Pheno: See OPP.

I've been using DB32 as a basis for a bunch of non pixel-art doodles ad I think it works quite nicely with blending too.
EDIT: urls dont work?*ttle2.png


Posted By: Mishok
Date Posted: 24 July 2013 at 4:51pm
Posting my little work with DB32 here.

Actually here is 31 color, but i think it's never mind. )))
DawnBringer, thanks for good instrument!!!

Posted By: neota
Date Posted: 24 July 2013 at 5:46pm
Originally posted by surt

Pheno: See OPP.

I've been using DB32 as a basis for a bunch of non pixel-art doodles ad I think it works quite nicely with blending too.
EDIT: urls dont work?*ttle2.png

Apparently not. I can linkify the above items, but when I preview the post, they are not linkified.

sh*ttle2 is probably wrong though -- the filename probably got changed during upload, since it has a bad character.


Posted By: sgtcrispy
Date Posted: 20 September 2013 at 12:48pm
I've converted the 32 color and 16 color palettes over to
Hope that's cool.

Posted By: x-death
Date Posted: 25 September 2013 at 5:12pm
Mrmo this palette suits you brilliantly.

Posted By: PotatoLogic
Date Posted: 21 October 2013 at 4:35pm
How do you use this?

Posted By: pyxl
Date Posted: 21 November 2014 at 10:24am
figured i'd save someone some time...

; DB32 Palette File for Paint.Net
; save this code into a file here:
;   C:\Users\<username>\Documents\ User Files\Palettes\db32.txt

Posted By: skunk
Date Posted: 30 December 2014 at 2:15am
How 'bout an .aco (Photoshop Swatches)? -

Posted By: DawnBringer
Date Posted: 30 December 2014 at 5:09am

Posted By: PiKCeL
Date Posted: 12 May 2015 at 8:31pm
Are these meant to be the only 32 colors you use or are these basically "base" colors that you can create more from while having them still look good together? If the latter, which RGB and/or HSV sliders can I change and still make these colors look good with each other?

Sorry if these questions are silly. I'm new to pixel art/color palettes.

Posted By: StoneStephenT
Date Posted: 13 May 2015 at 4:04am
Either/or, really.

Generally speaking, pixel artists try to keep color counts low with smart mixing of colors, and a limited color palette encourages creative uses of colors. In that sense, DB’s palette limits your color choices to spur your creativity.

DB’s palette can also serve as a “base” palette, yes. I don’t think even he would say otherwise. But try working with the limited color selection first; it’ll likely help you understand how colors work together in pixel art (an important bit of knowledge you’ll need going forward).

Posted By: yrizoud
Date Posted: 13 May 2015 at 5:40am
If you feel you need more colors "between" two existing colors, add one that is the average of the two colors which don't seem to give you enough choice : Use an average of the HSV numbers if you can (*), because it's closer to what you'll percieve as the intermediate color (RGB average can look more greyish thant the two original bright colors)
After you have started using this color in your image, tweak the HSV numbers and use your own eyes to determine what is the best lightness, hue/value, saturation.

newcolor.H = (color1.H + color2.H) / 2
newcolor.S = (color1.S + color2.S) / 2
newcolor.V = (color1.V + color2.V) / 2

The above process creates linear ramps/gradients, especially if you repeat it several times between two original colors. The range in itself will look OK, but note that it will not be as "rich" as if you had nudged the colors towards different hues and saturations. If the original palette is brilliant and rich, and you still use a lot of it, your image will still use most of the palette's potential. But if you use a lot of your intermediate colors, you may want to spend some time tweaking the entire ranges, to bring some variety.

Posted By: PiKCeL
Date Posted: 13 May 2015 at 8:22am
Originally posted by yrizoud

newcolor.H = (color1.H + color2.H) / 2
newcolor.S = (color1.S + color2.S) / 2
newcolor.V = (color1.V + color2.V) / 2
Interesting. I probably would have never thought to do this. Thanks.

Question, though: is the idea that I should try sticking to ONLY this palette's 32 colors if possible and only use the above formula if absolutely necessary? Because, one thing I noticed is there's really only one yellow color. For example, I tried copying someone's thunderbolt game icon for practice and I had trouble doing so because they used a light yellow for light which faded into all kinds of golds, etc.. Would that be an example of when I should use the formula to create some golds?

P.S. - Is there a simpler way to find these averages than to manually use a calculator?

Posted By: DawnBringer
Date Posted: 13 May 2015 at 10:38am
There's litte point in using a preset palette unless you're gonna stick with it. DB32 is quite evenly distributed over most of the (frequently used) spectrum/colorspace. While there are gaps that could be filled without distrupting the harmony too much, you're more likely to create a mess. Adding to a preset palette will teach you close to nothing (as a beginner). Instead, as StoneStephenT pointed out, learn to think dynamically & creatively about the colors that are available. Do you really need a specific color, maybe a slightly different hue could also do the job? If availabe colors aren't quite matching your needs, think about shifting the hue or brightness-level of your scene instead. Learn to mix it up with different colors to create the perception of another hue.

However one can use a preset palette as a quick & solid starting point; only using a selection of colors, then adding your own and possibly tweaking the original colors to conform with your vision. But just adding more & more colors to the original palette is not recommended unless you know exactly what you're doing.

Also realize that the bigger the palette is, the harder it is to tweak it and still maintain coherency. And in this context 32 colors is pretty damn big.

Posted By: yrizoud
Date Posted: 13 May 2015 at 11:26am
Originally posted by PiKCeL

P.S. - Is there a simpler way to find these averages than to manually use a calculator?

If you draw at 50% opacity/transparency with color1 over color2, it will produce an average of the two. Depending on your program, it can be the RGB average, or a better rule. In any case, you can start from there, and adjust manually.

Posted By: PiKCeL
Date Posted: 13 May 2015 at 12:31pm
Originally posted by DawnBringer

Do you really need a specific color, maybe a slightly different hue could also do the job?
That's why I asked if I could change HSV sliders while still keep the colors "matched" together. So, you're saying I could indeed change these sliders if I needed a slightly different color than the ones available? I just wanna know exactly how far I can push these colors - or, are they literally meant to be the ONLY 32 colors you should use and you should NOT change any HSV sliders, if possible.

Also, if I were to come across a game's(or whatever) art that I love in terms of color, could I just use the color picker to take its colors from screenshots and sorta create my own palette that way, or is this not a good way to create palettes?

Posted By: DawnBringer
Date Posted: 13 May 2015 at 1:17pm
I meant picking a different color from the palette. It's about working with what you got. Making minor tweaks to an established palette is just bad form and confusing to the public. Either use it intact or as a starting point to make something completely new.

You'll never make a good palette if you don't practice how to use limited colors in the first place.

Posted By: StoneStephenT
Date Posted: 13 May 2015 at 1:20pm
There is no one “ideal” way to create a palette. What matters is creating a palette that lets you portray your work as close to your idea as possible while keeping the color count low.

Take a look at my current avatar (a sprite of Gadget Hackwrench from Rescue Rangers). Not counting transparency, that piece uses 13 colors to express the “idea” of Gadget in a standing pose with her hands behind her back. I could’ve probably used two or three additional colors for shading/AA purposes, but 13 was enough to get the “idea” across to the best of my abilities.

Now, take a look at this:

With a few “tricks”/techniques I’ve picked up in the year since I posted that sprite, I did my best to improve it—and I switched to using the DB32 palette due to reading this thread right before I set to work on the last few edits. I reduced the color count by three (again, not including transparency) and went for a less “outlined” look, but I didn’t have to alter much about the sprite to achieve what I feel is a slightly improved attempt at expressing the “idea” of that standing pose.

Quoting author Chuck Wendig: “The idea is God: perfect, divine, incapable of repudiation, utterly untouchable. The result is Man: fumbling, foolish, a jester’s mockery, a bundle of mistakes in tacky pants.” You’ll never achieve a perfect representation of the idea in your head, regardless of the medium you use to express it. The best you can do is an imperfect representation—but you can make it slightly less imperfect if you know what you’re doing. In pixel art terms, that means knowing how to use a small(-ish) amount of colors in the right ways. A good number of artists around here will tell you that you’ll want to use only as many colors as are necessary to express your idea. You can create a piece that uses 20 colors, but if you can whittle that count down to 15 via color balancing and achieve similar/better results, your work (and your skills) will likely be all the better for it.

While I wouldn't suggest straight-up copying another game’s palette (unless your work calls for doing that), studying how those games used colors might lend you some insight into how you can better use colors in your own works. Same goes for pixel art pieces around here.

Posted By: PiKCeL
Date Posted: 13 May 2015 at 1:57pm
Thanks for the replies, guys. =) Think I should start with the DB16 and practice.

Posted By: skunk
Date Posted: 13 May 2015 at 2:04pm
Originally posted by PiKCeL

That's why I asked if I could change HSV sliders while still keep the colors "matched" together.

Originally posted by StoneStephenT

(again, not including transparency)

Something that hasn't explicitly been discussed on this thread is transparency.

Using transparency, especially on the outside of a sprite or when two sprites (or colors) come together will help blend your world and strictly speaking make more colors. Again, try limiting yourself to only using certain transparency values (like 50% only, or 20%/40%/60%/80% only).

Originally posted by PiKCeL

I tried copying someone's thunderbolt game icon for practice and I had trouble doing so because they used a light yellow for light which faded into all kinds of golds, etc..

So yes, either use transparency or (better yet), depart from the original image's pallette and use this one to its fullest. There are plenty of orange, peaches, greys, browns, and reds that I imagine you can approximate the lightning bolt just fine - it will just necessarily look different (which, remember, is the point).

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