Tips and Tutorials

"Average" Color from Multi-colored Selection

Written by Jinny Brown


How can I get an average color from a multi-colored selection?


There are a few methods to choose from, among them the three described below and none are precisely accurate if that's what you're after.

Use the Mixer palette - Mix the colors until you get a color you like, then use the Mixer palette Dropper tool to pick the color or colors you like and add them to a Color Set. Or just use the Mixer palette Dropper tool to pick, then paint.

That's what a traditional artist would do and why the Mixer palette was added a couple of versions back (Painter 8, I think)... so we can mix colors like a "real" artist. Seriously, lots of Painter users come from a traditonal painting background and want a way to mix colors without picking up white or other color from the Canvas or Layer.

Use Super Soften - Select a few pixels, copy, then Edit > Paste Into New Image.

Use Effects > Focus > Super Soften and type a number you think might work. If it doesn't work, Undo and try another number.

It's a very fast way of blending colors but maybe not the most accurate since the result is not always a single color, depending on the number colors you start with and how much they vary.

On the left is the selection of pixels I used. On the right are the same pixels after I used Effects > Focus > Super Soften 50.00 pixels:

This is just an example. You could use fewer pixels and get a different result.

Use Motion Blur - The quickest and easiest method I've found that, at least with the selection and settings I used while testing produced the best results, is to do the following:

Make a small selection of pixels, close to the color you want when they're averaged.

2. Copy the selection, then use Edit > Paste Into New Image. Zoom in until you can see the pixels. I zoomed to 800%:

3. Use Effects > Focus > Motion Blur and adjust the sliders as shown in the screen print below:

4. The result in my test was, visually, a single color, though when I clicked around in the image with the Dropper tool, the sampled color varied just a little:

5. I used Effects > Focus > Motion Blur again with the same settings, then clicked around the image with the Dropper tool and still the sampled colors varied just a little. Then I applied Motion Blur a third time, clicked with the Dropper tool, and finally, the sampled color remained consistent wherever I clicked.

6. Later, I tried different settings in the Motion Blur dialog box. Instead of leaving the Angle slider at 0 degrees, I moved it to 180 degrees and the result was entirely different:

7. Last, I use the Painter X RealBristle Brushes' Real Blender Round variant and, painting in a circular motion, mixed the selection's pixels until the result was fairly even. Then I used the Rotate Page tool to rotate the image and painted back and forth across the pixels, rotated again, and repeated the back and forth stroking motion. When it appeared no more pixel mixing would change the result, I stopped. Using the Dropper tool to click around the image produced slightly different colors, but not enough to make any visual difference. As you can see, this time, the bright pixels in the lower right corner were included in the mix, making the resulting color lighter.

© Jinny Brown
March 11, 2007