View Full Version : Computer artists graduated colours for skin tones

24-05-2003, 12:46 AM
Are there any guidelines for getting graduated colours? Is there any way of working out suitable graduations technically (using regular increments of RGB or HSL), or is it purely a visual thing?

I want to set up a palette of about 36 Caucasian skin colours in TurboCAD. Have never had trouble changing BMPs and JPEGs to get the results I want because there are many excellent tutorials on the internet, but because skin is textured with highlighted bumps or dark pores it is fairly hard to get suitable-looking untextured colours, and I prefer reddish-browns to neutral or orange-browns. After weeks of trial-and-error I got a reasonable palette, a good mid-tone being 253-181-161, but later found that my monitor had given me lousy colours since new. Now that I have another monitor my original pictures lack contrast and the darker colours are too neutral, so I'm back to square one in having to figure out more colours. Besides, there wasn't enough separation between some adjacent colours, and too much between others.

It's easy enough to pick out colours that are suitable for a one-off job, but a general-purpose palette is more difficult. By playing around with Paint Shop Pro, I got the idea of setting up about five or six different colours from highlight to shadow and then doing graduated rectangular fills between successive pairs. It's then a simple matter of using a colour picker to pick out suitable-looking colours, but it would still be easy to get too little or too much separation between successive tones.

Has anyone seen any high-quality clip-art where many variations on the same tone are used for skin tones? I've bought heaps of clip-art, but most of it is just rubbish.

Googling for "color picker" and "color palette AND manipulation" leads mostly to sites that deal with web design and not the sort of information I'm trying to find.

The following two links show skin colours that are close to those I want. Although they include the word "babes" they are reasonably tasteful pictures from Ralph magazine. Clicking on the Wallpaper button downloads a larger version, and the Archives button leads to many other examples of skin colours.

[url=]http://ralph.ninemsn.com.au/ralph/babespoll/babes71.asp (]http://ralph.ninemsn.com.au/ralph/babespoll/babes116.asp[/url)

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Jen C
24-05-2003, 12:30 PM
Hi Deebee

Sorry, but your example links do not work. I have tried to find the correct links for you on the Ralph site but I couldn't find/access those two images on their site.

>Now that I have another monitor my original pictures lack contrast and the darker colours are too neutral, so I'm back to square one in having to figure out more colours

If you are requiring such colour detail, you should be calibrating your monitor. What you are seeing colourwise maybe quite different for other people on their monitors. The links below have good advice on this:

Color Management Systems (CMS) (http://desktoppub.about.com/cs/colormanagementsw/)

Paint Shop Pro - Calibrating the monitor (http://www.jasc.com/monitor1.asp)

Visual Monitor Calibration Tests (http://desktoppub.about.com/cs/visualmonitor/index.htm)


25-05-2003, 03:35 AM
Thanks Jen

I didn't check the links here because they worked properly after being pasted to Word then back to IE, but will try again:



Interestingly, on some of the Ralph pages tonight there is a clip-art picture of a guy with a rose in his mouth and his skin colour is only 5 units of green away from one of my colours. Both it and the one mentioned above look a little too pink for a natural-looking skin tone, but work well in combination with the right highlight and shadow colours, giving a healthy-looking glow to skin without an overly-red sunburnt look. I'm pretty fussy about colours, having been a professional photographer.

My replacement monitor is fine and performs perfectly in all but two of about 20 tests I've run. The last 8-10 pixels at the edges are slightly out of focus but I have to look hard to see it, and the power supply regulation isn't good, but that's probably common with many cheaper monitors. After calibrating it I still have plenty of adjustment on the brightness and contrast controls. It was a brilliant buy at only $60 from a dealer and getting it was almost like getting a new set of eyes.

My original pictures need redoing because of being drawn on a monitor that performed very poorly with all dark colours and couldn't even differentiate between colours on a basic HTML chart of about 216 colours. Any grays below 83-83-83 were black. In the pictures, colours that looked dark on the old monitor are now just mid-to-slightly dark on the new monitor.

Greg S
25-05-2003, 04:57 PM
Couldn't you make up palettes using the colour picker on those photos? Also, how about going to a Mac forum where they tend to use their machines more frequently for graphic apps