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An Easy Way to Choose Attractive Color Combinations

Lots of people struggle to come up with attractive color combinations when designing logos, banners or web sites. So, here's an easy technique that only takes a few minutes.

What You Need:

1. An image that you like, maybe one that you think ties in with the theme of whatever you're designing.
2. A paint program with an eye dropper tool.

1. Load the image into your paint program.
2. If you want a color scheme consisting of colors that are in the browser color-safe palette, and your paint program (not every program does) has a function to convert images into color-safe palettes, use it now.

If your want color-safe colors, but your paint program doesn't have a function to convert images into it, don't worry, I'll show you how to convert colors manually at the end of this article. In this case, proceed with steps 3 and 4, and then at the end manually convert each of your chosen colors to browser-safe colors using the method explained below.

3. Now use the eye dropper tool to paint program to pick-up one of the most prominent colors in the image. Somewhere in your paint program there should be a function to give you the Red, Green and Blue values (three numbers) for the color selected (in some paint programs it's even displayed in the status bar). Make a note of the three numbers.

4. Repeat step 3 for the 2nd, 3rd, etc. most prominent colors in the image. Depending on how many colors you need for your color scheme, you'll know when to stop (hint: too many colors can make your designs look confused and messy).

Converting Decimal to Hexadecimal:

The RGB three color values that you picked up in your paint program may either be in decimal (0 to 255) or hexadecimal (00 to FF) - most paint programs tend to use the former. If you want to use your colors in HTML code, you'll need to convert the three numbers into hexadecimal, and put the digits in order RRGGBB.

A quick way to do this is:

1. Start the Windows calculator.
2. Make sure that it's in "Scientific" mode (on View menu).
3. Make sure the "Dec" radio button is selected.
4. Enter a decimal number.
5. Click the "Hex" radio button, and note down the value. If the value is only a single digit, add a leading 0.
6. Repeat steps 3 to 6 for each of the three numbers in your triplet of RGB values.

For example:

R (decimal) = 194, converts to C2 (hexadecimal)
G (decimal) = 15, converts to 0F (hexadecimal)
B (decimal) = 140, converts to 8C (hexadecimal)

Therefore color to use in the HTML code is C20F8C.

Manual Conversion To Color-Safe Palette:

I promised earlier that I would tell you how to manually convert a color into a color-safe value if your paint program doesn't have a built-in function for this. Here's how:

1. First, for your color, you need the triplet of Red, Green and Blue values that we've talked about throughout this article.
2. For each of the three values, you need to convert them separately into their color-safe equivalents.

If you're starting from decimal values:

0 to 25 - converts to 0 (decimal) or 00 (hexadecimal)
26 to 76 - converts to 51 (decimal) or 33 (hexadecimal)
77 to 127 - converts to 102 (decimal) or 66 (hexadecimal)
128 to 178 - converts to 153 (decimal) or 99 (hexadecimal)
179 to 229 - converts to 204 (decimal) or CC (hexadecimal)
230 to 255 - converts to 255 (decimal) or FF (hexadecimal)

If you're starting from hexadecimal values:

00 to 19 - converts to 0 (decimal) or 00 (hexadecimal)
1A to 4C - converts to 51 (decimal) or 33 (hexadecimal)
4D to 7F - converts to 102 (decimal) or 66 (hexadecimal)
80 to B2 - converts to 153 (decimal) or 99 (hexadecimal)
B3 to E5 - converts to 204 (decimal) or CC (hexadecimal)
E6 to FF - converts to 255 (decimal) or FF (hexadecimal)

For example:

If we need to convert C20F8C to its closest color-safe equivalent:
- We would convert the C2 part to CC
- We would convert the 0F part to 00
- We would convert the 8C part to 99
- And thus we would CC0099 as the final color.

For more graphics tutorials, tricks and tips, please visit http://www.graphicsacademy.com

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