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Shinobody
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Quote Shinobody Replybullet Topic: ZX Spectrum palette replacement - ZX16 palette
    Posted: 15 October 2018 at 12:19pm
Hi everyone, this is my first post here.

So I always adored pixel art on ZX Spectrum because due to high resolution, it was always so meticulously detailed and used shading and dithering (unlike the pixel art on the technically superior NES).

However, one thing that always bothered me was the palette. The terrible, eye-burning arbitrary palette. So I was curious - just for fun, how would ZX Spectrum look with less eye-melting color choices?

So I made this:


Of course, it's clearly derivative of DawnBringer's 16 color palette (some colors are actually stolen wholesale, lol). The idea was mostly to keep color interactions largely similar while reducing the saturation - only real big change was replacing the useless hot pink with orange because in 90% of cases Spectrum artists used pink only as a half-step between yellow and red. I mean, hot pink doesn't exist in nature, so there won't be a single case of someone going 'hey, this is supposed to be pink!', right?

Also I kept dark red, and both shades of orange super-saturated because this is meant for video games after all; you need to have SOME shades to be saturated to draw player's eye and indicate health, enemy projectiles and such.

Here are some examples of this palette in action, left is the original, right is new version:




And here is an imgur album with more examples: https://imgur.com/a/FsW0NFR

Now I wonder if it'd be doable to actually mod ZX Spectrum to use such a palette. Perhaps using a Raspberry Pi as a converter?

What do you guys think? Is my palette terrible and I should feel bad? Or maybe you can think of other old machines which could've used a better palette?
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eishiya
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Quote eishiya Replybullet Posted: 15 October 2018 at 12:59pm
The red and orange are very similar, and the palette doesn't have any pinks as a result, making the results less colourful than they could be. Perhaps instead have two more distinct pairs of red, one that's more purplish, and the other that's more of a red-orange? The purplish red (replacing the magenta) could keep roughly the same values as the magentas, avoiding contrast issues like in the 2nd example, where the new orange blends with the grey.

Other than that decision, I quite like your palette, it's a lot easier on the eyes.
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Shinobody
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Quote Shinobody Replybullet Posted: 15 October 2018 at 1:27pm
I mean, I kinda would prefer to keep the oranges, because orange is a MUCH more useful color than magenta, and I'd like to improve this palette in regards making it useful for actual art... As I'm considering actually doing some ZX Spectrum-style pieces using it.

Honestly I literally can't think of a single use of magenta on ZX Spectrum that isn't better suited by orange. However, I will almost certainly tweak the hue to be less safety orange, and perhaps more gold/yellow, to make it visibly distinct from both yellows and reds, so it won't blend as much.

Another idea was to set everything up so the warm colors and cold colors create a decent, varied color ramp each - but after examining it in greyscale you're absolutely right, low intensity orange and high intensity red look TOO similar. I will definitely be tweaking that.



Using that greyscale pic I also noticed that high intensity blue is way too dark, so I will be definitely tweaking that too.


Thank you for your input, much appreciated!


EDIT: Okay, so here are some tweaks that helpfully could solve some of these problems. Overall this should result in better value ramping, and in orange being easier to distinguish from red.


Left is original, the middle is OLD replacement palette, right is the new tweaked palette.

More examples of the new palette: https://i.imgur.com/PfLhqno.png

EDIT 2, 10-16-2018

So I had to tweak the palette AGAIN. Turns out that I found exactly ONE picture on the internet, "Game Over 3" that actually looks badly in my palette - as it actually uses magentas as an actual ramp, so I had to tweak the oranges so they contrast less next to each other.

Here is the example picture - original is NSFW so I slightly censored is since I don't want to make this thread inherently NSFW.


Also here is more examples of the new orange (warning: NSFW)
https://imgur.com/a/X5ljXOp

Also I given the palette an actual name - ZX16.
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snv
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Quote snv Replybullet Posted: 15 November 2018 at 4:07pm
1. Your palette looks worse.
2. ZX Spectrum output through onto CRT TV through composite cable, messing and blending the colors. I.e what you see in emulator output is not the same what artists intended.
On old TV it would look something like that (GIMP -> upscale by 3/2 -> pixelize by 2, sharpen, downscale):

As you see, your palette botched the alien's helmet, so now the transition looks too contrast. Same for red to orange transition, which is broken contrast now. Also, the metallic "GAME OVER" font is not metallic anymore - it is just watery blue.
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