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22.4. Color Blenders

The problem with the web palette is that it has only 216 colors to choose from (and they probably wouldn't be your first choices). If you are bored with your color options, you may want to try a color blender. Color blenders approximate any RGB color by mixing two colors from the web palette in a tiny checkerboard pattern. You can use these "hybrid colors" to fill areas of graphics or to create a background tile.

Color blenders all work about the same way. Simply select an RGB color (such as from an image using an eyedropper tool) and the blender converts it to a 2 2-pixel tile made up of two web-safe colors. The hybrid color is then available as a fill color to be applied to a selected object or marquee selection.

22.4.2. Creating Hybrid Colors

Color blenders are built into Fireworks, Photoshop 5.5+, and ImageReady. If you don't have these tools yet, try the less expensive ColorSafe from BoxTop Software (http://www.boxtopsoft.com), which has nearly identical features to DitherBox in ImageReady (shown later). Photoshop/ImageReady

Photoshop and ImageReady use the DitherBox plug-in filter for creating "custom dither patterns" from web-safe colors (Figure 22-4). To use it, select an RGB color that you want to simulate. Then select the part of your image that you want to fill and choose Filter Figure Other Figure DitherBox. The DitherBox window shows you a close-up the tile used to make up your target color as well as a preview at actual size. When you are ready, click "Fill" to fill your selection with the dither pattern.

Figure 22-4

Figure 22-4. DitherBox filter in Photoshop and ImageReady Fireworks

In Fireworks, the color blender (called Web Dither) is located on the Fill palette (Figure 22-5). Select an object containing a non-web-safe color. When you select Web Dither, the tiled pattern is applied to the selected object and becomes the active fill color. Be sure also to select the Hard Edge option to maintain web-safe colors. You can also use the Web Dither tool to simulate a transparent effect when you click the Transparency box.

Figure 22-5

Figure 22-5. Web Dither tool in Fireworks

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