Color Reduction and Pattern Re-Coloring in Photoshop

rose pattern in millions of colors rose pattern in four colors rose pattern in three colors rose pattern in two colors

Color reducing and re-coloring patterns in Photoshop

These essential skills are valuable to any number of design disciplines and design room positions. Those positions are,

The author's professional digital workstation screenshot of Photoshop workspace


Reducing colors in a design reduces the cost of producing that design. If we are designing woven or knit fabrics, then a color reduced design will cost less money to manufacture. This is true of graphic t-shirts, scrubs, signage and many other professional applications.

There are dedicated solutions to these problems in the form of textile design software such as Pointcarre and Tuka among others, but these can be considerably more expensive than Photoshop. If we are doing sufficient volume to warrant the investment, then applying the more expensive solutions is a justifiable consideration.

Adobe Dimension was used to create these digitally produced package designs Gamut inks package design with die lines

However, many design firms and studios will already have an Adobe membership.

Adobe design software is among the more widely and ubiquitously used design software solutions in the industry and are quite dominant in all the design industries.

Adobe's market growth over the last 14 years bears this out quite graphically:

Adobe Market Growth Adobe Market Growth


Photoshop is not a software package that is dedicated to color reduction and recolor functions, but it sure does a great job of accomplishing these things. But it falls upon us as designers to figure out how to perform these tasks quickly and easily.

This proposed block of instruction is designed to teach us how to do exactly that.

There are two instruction pages for this site. One page that shows us how to navigate this site and the second page provides us with an overview of the color reduction and re-color projects.

We will be working with the rose pattern featured in the header of this page and site to develop our color reduction skills as well as our pattern re-coloring abilities.

Click here to download the rosepattern-start.psd file

This screenshot shows the process of reducing and recoloring a color indexed image
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