Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Considering colors: a site to savor

One of my favorite photographs - if you know the photographer, PLEASE let me know so I can credit them properly.

Many people struggle with the idea of building a wardrobe in a limited color palette, so I've been nosing about, finding some interesting websites which help train one's eye, and evaluate gut reactions, where colors are concerned.

One of my favorites can be found here; it's a site on which you can upload a favorite photograph, and then build a color palette based on the colors detected in that photograph.  For example, I have always admired Canada geese - they wear the same monochromatic palette every day, but are always the most elegant birds in the city.  Coupled with the stunning photograph above, I knew that I might learn something interesting about my personal color preferences by using the Image to Palette tool.

Image as loaded on the CSS website

So I uploaded the photo to the site (you can also reference a URL - it's very user-friendly), and was presented with the three following palettes:

From these palettes, I could choose colors at will and combine them in a final palette of eight colors; my choices are shown below.

Anybody who knows me will recognize the grey and black immediately!  And I'm gradually migrating toward the soft pinks and blues as my hair turns grey.  And of course, the colors that I use here on my blog are drawn right from this palette (which I built this morning!) So my love of this photograph seems to be an obvious reflection of my favorite colors.

This is a ridiculously fun tool - give it a try!


  1. Fun tool, thanks for posting this (and all your other wonderful insights!)

    tineye.com does reverse image searches. A quick look found the goose image here http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/media/97738/Canada-goose -- Credit © Getty Images

  2. Hi Vivienne- I read your blog religiously, and am very excited about the color site above. I am the proud owner of my first Hermes scarf, and I've tried to enter it's pic from the Hermes website with no success. Evidently the file is too big.

    Have you figured out a work around for scarf entries? Thanks so much!

  3. You probably will need to save the scarf photo onto your computer and then upload it from there. The easiest way to do this is to go to the website, get the photo of your scarf as large as possible, and then "Print Screen" what's on your screen. And then you can crop that, save it and upload. If you run into trouble, send me an email at theviviennefiles@gmail.com and I can get it for you!
    how fun...

  4. I just put my newest Hermes scarf into the system. (I just took a quick picture of mine) It was fun to see all the colours I could wear with my scarf, some of which I had only just thought about. This tool really helped me focus on the main colors. Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. Oh, yes, I"m going to try this, too. Not only will I try one of my scarves, but I can think of some paintings that I'd like to check out. Thanks, Vivienne!

  6. Thank you for the demonstration and link. I tested the program with few of my favorite pictures and was amazed. So if and when I get started I have an idea of the colour palette to start with to reproduce these pictures in watercolour.

  7. This is fantastic; thank you! This is going to be a valuable way to discover my sartorial color sense by starting with what I like to look at, not the clothes themselves... Yes, I see these patterns in the wardrobes you've created. But just to make sure I understand the process, I'd love to see you move from an image to a wardrobe, so if you don't mind doing an "A to Z" using this technique, that would be wonderful -- in fact, could be a great regular feature! Thank you! Also, could one upload a portrait photo and come with one's colors -- a step toward a cheap way of "having your colors done"?

  8. Ah, from picture to wardrobe is a GREAT idea - sort of like some that I did last fall using painting as the basis. Anybody got a picture or painting to suggest?

    Also, I've heard of people uploading photographs of their eye - particularly their iris - in order to determine their colors. An interesting idea, but one which would leave me wearing brown, gold and purple! But if you've got some good photographs, all you invest is time, and in order to learn more about yourself and your preferences, I'd say it's time well-spent.

  9. Hi Vivienne,

    This is such fun and a very useful tool. BUT it still requires a creative and talented person ( like you) to utilize it to best advantage. I would love to see what you would do by using your previous header for your blog. I think it was in Scotland. I thought the colours were amazing.

    Deb from Vancouver

  10. Thanks for sharing.Such a kind gesture and very inspirung.

  11. Wow! That is totally cool! I have trouble with colors, especially small blocks like that. So I noticed that each block had a six letter/number code with the word "HEX". You can go to a HEX color Chart and enter the corresponding letter/number code and see that color the full size of your computer screen!! Fun, fun, fun!! Thanks so much for sharing this with us!!!
    (Oh, and I too would love to see you go from picture to wardrobe!!)

  12. Thanks for showing me how to use this site. I visited it long ago but couldn't figure out what to do once I got the colors. Will have to try it again with a new perspective!

  13. I traced the photo to the Encyclopædia Britannica Advocacy for Animals.
    The image is credit reads: Canada goose, © Getty Images