In an effort to break away from how I usually start an image I came up with an exercise.
Go to Google.
Find a photo or image:
Drop it into GraphicsGale.
Reduce to 16 colors:
Whatever colors you are dealt, use them.
Even if they are not the best colors that's what you get to work with.
The idea is that if the image you found is still legible after being reduced, and almost always is, then infinite legible images could be created from the same colors.
So I started out with something really plain:
And then just continued to work with it.
I've even cheated a bit.
I added 3 or 4 colors and kicked some out.
Here the current color pal is at 15 colors:
A trick to it is that the image is not actually "random".
You yourself get to choose the image, so you can effectively choose your color range.
Choose an image with people and you're bound to get some skin tones.
Choose an image with more reds and yellows if that's what you want to work with.
Choose an image with high or low contrast.
The element of surprise comes when you reduce to 16 colors.
The balance is not always what you expect.
Of course if the colors are really unappealing to you just go find a different image.
I'm kind of back and forth about the strictness of the exercise right now.
Obviously these colors aren't the brightest, but then again the idea was to use what I was given.
But I've added some, so why not just change them all?
Or just add another 16 on top so that the current dim colors will make the new ones shine even brighter.
But what about a 16 color limit?
I'll have to create a series of rule sets in the future, ranging from extremely strict to extremely flexible.
Basically it boils down to this.
The more rules you follow, the more it's like a game.
But the less rules you follow, the more its like a process tool.
The choice is yours.
Both degrees are beneficial exercises.
The original palette can also be seen as a base.
Since I've already cheated some, here I've added colors and changed the contrast/brightness.
At this point I'm up to 24 colors:
This is about 6 hours work (yes I'm super slow).
There's plenty of messy areas and things that could be changed.
I plan on dropping in some more to finish it off.
Crits and edits are welcome of course.
Ideally you should post:
1. The photo
2. Reduced photo with original palette
3. Current palette
4. Your art!
If you get some time try it yourself!
It's an interesting exercise.