Chasing Rainbows (or: How I Chose my Palette)

It’s no secret that colors are a super important part of game design. They can create a mood/ambiance for the whole game (e.g. Limbo) or give each level a unique feel (e.g. Ori and the Blind Forest). Colors can also be used to guide the player or give him/her tips on which elements to interact with (e.g. The Witcher 3). And lets face it, colors can definitely get your game that extra WOW factor you are looking for. But sometimes choosing your palette can feel like chasing rainbows.

Limbo monocrhome
Limbo monochrome for that eerie feel
A level of Ori and the Blind Forest
“Happy” level of Ori and the Blind Forest
A level of Ori and the Blind Forest
“Scary” level of Ori and the Blind Forest
The Witcher 3 witcher senses guiding you
The Witcher 3- witcher senses guiding you

So, needless to say, I was stressed about choosing the colors for our game. I started by trying to read a bit about the theory of color. Now that, let me tell you, is a whole gigantic world in itself. It would have taken me a LONG time to seriously dive into that. And time, as you know, is never on our side. BUT if you do want to be thorough, you can check out “The Dimensions of Colour” by David Briggs recommended to me by Daz Watford. It looks scary but really explains the theory of color.

As I didn’t really want to dig too deep, I read a few informative blog posts about how to get started. This was one of them, by Creative Bloq; and this is another by Tyler Seitz. There are many more out there as well, especially in the world of web design.

So, as the blogs recommended, I started out by finding pictures that portrayed the look&feel I wanted in our game. From those I filtered the ones that were the prettiest 🙂 I uploaded them to Adobe Color CC to get the main colors I liked out of the pictures. I filtered a few palettes I thought could work nicely from there (easier said than done, of course, as you still have to select your color mood and such).

Another space landscape I liked
Another space landscape I liked
Space landscape I liked
Space landscape I liked

Then, I uploaded those colors to Paletton for additional shades, tones and tints. I selected the color rule here as well (chose Tetrad or Double-Split Complementary with four colors). I tested the resulting 20-color palettes on a few models I had already played around with for the game. And voilà! I had my palette. The colors aren’t written in stone, mind you, I do deviate from those and change things around a bit when a model doesn’t look good enough. But I generally try to keep as close as I can to it.

Our Palette
Our Palette from paletton

Below is an example of how the color scheme turned out (the picture is from an environment prototype). You can also check previous blog posts to see how it looks in game: here and here and here.

Environment prototype
Environment prototype

Once again, thanks for reading. Stay tuned for next week’s blog (and don’t forget to subscribe!).

Cheers 🙂


Chasing Rainbows (or: How I Chose my Palette)

3 thoughts on “Chasing Rainbows (or: How I Chose my Palette)

  1. Leon Grunhaus says:

    Hi LiranJulia. I am following your blog and enjoying your descriptions of how your game develops. It is remarkable the amount of “self-teaching” you have been doing. I want to see your game :out there”.
    Best regards

  2. Alma says:

    I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your website.

    It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes iit much mofe pleasant for me to come here and visit more
    often. Diid you hire out a designer too creaste
    your theme? Excellent work!

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