Ah, yes. colors. when one opens MSP they see the 28 colors provided and turn away, dun they? after all, who can make a doll on those colors alone? the proper colors seem all but inaccessible in MSP sometimes. well this isn't so, of course!

Observe the color chart in all it's glory:

Not much to do with it, it only comes in those 28 colors. and though they are very useful for starting things out, we all would like a little more color, yes?. let's break down the important parts of the color bar.

1. This is the main color, the front color. This is the color you choose when you left-click the mouse. commonly, it's the color you use the most. To change the color in this box, you simply left-click the desired color (be it in the pallet or with the dropper tool)

2. This is the secondary color, the back color. This is the color your choose when you right-click the mouse. It's the color that is usually neglected, but best for using when you want to keep a second color on hand. it is also the color your eraser tool erases with. To change the color in this box, you simply right-click the desired color (be it in the pallet or with the dropper tool)

3. I won't lie to you, I've not much knowledge in what use this color has for anything I do in MSP. I know it has something to do with transparencies, but I don't use MSP to make transparent gifs. if there is a color here, that means that the color is a transparent one.


Editing Colors

To access more colors from your pallet, simply doubleclick any of the 28 colors on the pallet and a window like this will open up:

So now you see quite a bit more colors available to you now! ::counts:: 48 colors to choose from now! To choose the color you want from these 48, you click on the color you want and click "OK". Now you have a new color on the pallet to play with! But, the world is not 48 colors, huh? What if the colors in this window not what you wanted? MSP thought of that, aren't they darling? Open up the window again and click the button that says "Define Custom Colors". The window will look like this (not exactly like this, the Gif Monster ate up a great deal of it, but you get the idea):

Now you have hundreds of color choices you can make yourself! Not only is there a wide range of colors. but you can change the gray-scale of it too, to make it as light or as dark as you want.


Custom Colors Pallet

Now, the use of the custom colors part of the pallet.

This is not so much the way to make a pallet as it is a whole other place to put the colors you want, so they don't make a clusterfuck mess on the 28 color pallet MSP gives you to work with. So the original colors aren't completely lost when you want a different color, but you don't, say, want to replace the black when you already replaced the red with the custom color you made. well, here you can store up to 16 colors to use and keep on hand for your dolling purposes.

Did that make sense?... I hope so. well pictures always make sense! so, let's move onto some visuals! Here is a little animation on how exactly to make a custom color:

Here is what's going on:

  1. first thing to do is click on the box in the custom colors selection you want to fill with color
  2. next, find the color on the color flood chart
  3. then, go through the gray-scale and determine exactly how light or dark you want the color.
  4. click "define custom colors" and the color will show up in the box you want.
  5. lather, rinse, repeat.
  6. click "OK" when you're done, and the color will be replaced

The reason why you cannot use the custom colors to make a gradient pallet is because when you choose another blank box to make another color, it is white. And you have to do the process all over again. But, you can fill the custom color pallet with the 16 colors you desire. And when you want to use them, simply open the window again, click the custom color box of your choice, and click "OK"


Making Your Own Pallet

If you cannot make a gradient pallet with the custom colors, then what good is it? well, we finally get to go outside the window and begin to use the canvas. here is how it goes:

for this pallet demonstration, I used the maroon color on the 28 color pallet (third from the left, top row). Choose the brush tool (i suggest using the biggest square of all the brush types). then, choose a color on the pallet. Now, make a dot on the canvas with your brush tool. it should look something like this:

Now, open up the window by double-clicking the color (for this example, maroon), then click the "Define Custom Colors" button. If you notice, the gray-scale should be set for the color chosen. So now go to the black arrow next to the gray-scale and move it up and down. notice that the lightness of the color changes? here, observe:

When you get the color to the lightness or darkness you want, you click "OK", and the color will change. then, with your brush tool, put a square next to the one you made. Notice the color is lighter then the first? (or darker, depending on what route you chose to take). repeat this with the same color: opening the window, changing the lightness or darkness of the color, clicking OK", then putting the square next to the last color. do that and the progress should be thus:

But, say you don't want to make a pallet that goes from lighter to darker. Maybe you want to go from one color to another in your pallet? Well that is possible too. but, this time, instead of playing with the gray-scale, you're going to be playing with the flood color chart.

Click the color you want to change and open up the color editing window. click "Define Custom Colors" to open the flood color chart. for this demonstration Iím going to be going from a reddish color to a greenish color. follow the same path you did as with the gray-scale maroon color. (opening the window, changing the color, clicking OK", then putting the square next to the last color with your brush tool.) You keep moving the black cross-sight gradually over to the desired color. like so:

Keep doing that until you get the desired pallet. it should look a little something like this:

Of course you're not limited to just moving the cross-sight sideways to get a pallet. you can move it diagonal, in circles, in an S... The possibilities are limitless! the pallets should come out interesting, I feel.

In Closing

So, in closing, go experiment with your new-found knowledge of colors. It's not as hard as you would think it could be. It only looks like a monster. Don't forget to save your pallets (a 24-bit Bitmap [BMP] is preferable)! You don't want to loose your pallets, do you? But, of course, pallets are not limited to what you can make in the Color Editing Window. Nothing says you can't Copy and Paste a picture into the canvas and use your dropper and brush tool to make pallets from pictures. I do that sometimes, it can help a great deal (especially when dealing with skin tone) I hope this tutorial helped you! Mwuah!

(c) Shelby Wright 2011. All Rights Reserved