Why make color guides? Well, the show has a unique and varied color palette and as someone who works with color both creatively and scientifically, I really appreciated the work that went into designing the color palette of the show. People were asking many times for help in IRC and other places on colors used in the show, so instead of having people eyedropper bad sources over and over again, why not make a reference that one can keep handy?
How'd you make them? Hasbro has released several bits of official artwork of many characters out on the internet in convenient vector format. The files are unencrypted and open right up in Illustrator and other applications. Using a combination of that official artwork, my pile of color books, and HD sources, I put together a convenient list of swatches just for you.
What are PANTONE colors? Why not just list RGB or CMYK values? In the United States (where the show was primarily developed), the artists and graphic designers are most familiar with Pantone's spot color system. A spot color is an extra ink or color that exists outside of a printed work - namely because the tones you're aiming for exist outside normal CMYK color gamuts. This would make the Pantone color a fifth, special ink. However, you can also use these color libraries for general purpose work and simulate the appearance of the Pantone color in your destination color space, be it CMYK or RGB.
Now here's the rub - color spaces are tricky things. Depending upon your illuminants and components (R G B photons or CMYK inks) you can get different visual renderings for the same numbers. This is why a device independent color space, like LAB, is important. However, the average artist doesn't work in LAB color space. Thankfully, most applications (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, etc) today have built-in LAB Pantone libraries in addition to CMYK equivalents. These LAB libraries allow you to get a more accurate rendering of a spot color in a destination space, as well as help when rendering partial tints of the colors without any extra work on your part.
What does this mean for you and the color guide? It means that when you say "I want Pantone 100 C for Fluttershy's body" you'll get something as close as you can reproduce in your color space regardless if it's CMYK or RGB in the end. It also means instead of building your own swatch libraries from scratch you can use standardized sources for your color and be assured that they'll look consistent across your work. If I had just listed RGB colors, they mean very different things across gamuts. Plus, I cut my teeth in printing and graphic design, and we eat and breathe Pantone. It's just what we do. If you really want more lessons on color management, gamuts, theory, etc, then just ask me and I'll be happy to expound.
Okay, but you still used RGB definitions in some places. Why? I couldn't find reasonable tints or swatches from the library to match those colors. In that case, I deferred to what was provided (e.g. Rarity's hair gradient) or my best guess based on sources (Applejack's hat). I intend to get proper swatches at some point, but for now as long as you assume sRGB color space, those numbers should get you in the ballpark.
This looks different than my TV or videos on the internet! Why? Your TV is not a calibrated monitor, most likely, and compression has likely altered the true nature of the color. In my estimation, the "truest" of color for the show is the HD episodes available on iTunes. For printed pieces, that's another story entirely, since you're crossing over into CMYK and it's entirely possible that the show production has slightly different palettes than the guys in the merchandise/packaging production. That's all base speculation on my part, but it wouldn't surprise me.
The PDF looks funky in my viewer. Why? You're not using a color management-aware viewer.
What are the uses of these color lists? You might want to color-coordinate something to a pony (such as a forum theme), or have a stable reference for your artwork. You can open up the PDF versions in your favorite applications and automatically get the proper swatches via copy and paste or inheritance - no eyedropper required.
Where can I find them? You can find them on my DeviantArt.
I disagree with what you chose, or I think there's an error. Well, let me know your opinion and I'll see what I can do. These guides are produced only for the intent to inform and assist and are not endorsed or affiliated with Hasbro or other sources. Reverse engineering at its finest.
What guides are available?
What future ones are planned?
Princess Luna / Nightmare Moon, Derpy, Big Macintosh, Trixie, Sweetie Belle, other background ponies. These ones will require a lot more effort to create since they will essentially be created from scratch with no starting point. I also need high quality vector sample art to go with them; I will probably wind up redrawing them when I have time.
3/8/11 - Updated Rainbow Dash with a new orange and main body color.
3/7/11 - Added Scootaloo.
3/3/11 - Added all of the initial guides.
The Night Mare Cometh.
- Joined: Feb 14, 2011
- Location: Horse Pun For Boston
- Gender: Male