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Creating an Inlay from a Photograph - Part 2
(more colours).
Article © MAIL User: ManowarDave

This article is intended as an addendum to my previous article Creating an Inlay from a Photograph.

This article will assume that the previous article has been read.


In the previous article the image was reduced from 16 million colours down to two, black and white. This 1-bit image was then used as a map to create the final inlay. To use more than two colours you simply create a custom palette that only contains the colours you have available in wire/rings etc. Then you use the same method to reduce the 16 million colour image down to the specially selected colours of your choice.

Building a custom palette.

Assuming GIMP is open.

From the "Windows" menu in GIMP go to "Dockable Dialogs" and select "Palettes"

You will be presented with the "Palettes" window shown below.

Image: dhr_custom_palette_inlay_01.jpg

From the buttons at the bottom select "New Palette" (looks like a blank piece of paper).

This will give you the "Palette Editor" window like this.

Image: dhr_custom_palette_inlay_02.jpg

At the top enter a name for your palette, something meaningful like "Inlay" and change the number of columns at the bottom from 0 to 1.

Now, from the menu buttons along the bottom of this window click on "New colour from foreground" (looks like a blank piece of paper again).

A block of colour will appear in the middle of the window like this.

Image: dhr_custom_palette_inlay_03.jpg

The exact colour will depend on the selected foreground colour in the "Toolbox" window. Don't worry as we will be changing this colour in the next step.

Right click on this block of colour and select "Edit Colour" from the menu.

The "Edit Palette Colour" window looks like this.

Image: dhr_custom_palette_inlay_04.jpg

From this window you can select the new colour. Now, this is up to you. Pick a colour that best matches one of the materials you will be using in your inlay.

Once you have selected the colour you want, click "OK" to return to the "Palette Editior" window. You will see that the block of colour you added has changed to the colour you selected.

Now click on "New colour from foreground" again. This will add a new colour block to the palette below the first. As before, right click and edit the colour.

Wash, rinse and repeat until your palette contains all the colours you intend to use in your inlay.

As an alternative to manually picking colours to match, you can use the eye dropper tool to select colours from other pictures. Simply open the required picture in GIMP and from the "Edit Palette Colour" window click the eye dropper tool which is just to the right of the "HTML notation" box. Now use the eye dropper tool to pick a colour from your selected picture.

This can be especially usefull if your supplier has a picture of the rings/wire you intend to use, say anodised aluminum or enamelled copper. You just open the picture in GIMP and pick all the relevant colours and place them in your palette.

In the example below I have populated the palette with colours taken from a popular supplier's range of anodised aluminium.

Image: dhr_custom_palette_inlay_05.jpg

To save the custom palette click the save button in the bottom left of the window, then exit the "Palette Editor" window and the "Palettes" window.

Now you can jump back into the original article. The only difference will be is that when you come to the "Indexed Colour Conversion" window, instead of choosing "Use black and white (1-bit) palette", select "Use custom palette" and choose the custom palette you have created from the drop down menu.

This is the result of the same image dithered down to the new twelve colour custom palette created above.

Image: dhr_custom_palette_inlay_06.jpg

And this is the render using IGP2POV

Image: dhr_custom_palette_inlay_07.jpg

As stated in the original article, if you are not happy with the results at this stage you can play with colour and contrast settings in the original master image or you can even remove or add colours to you custom palette. Generally the more colours in your palette, the better the final image will be.

As always, any questions or corrections then please PM me.

And don't forget to post all you marvelous new inlay creations in the Gallery

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