This site attempts to create color palettes and images, that look as close as possible to what the popular chips by MOS Technology, Inc. (in particular the VIC, VIC II and TED) generate. These have been used in a bunch of amazing computers in the 80s, such as the VIC20, C64 and plus/4.
Special care has been taken to provide controls and a display, that behave the same way as the video monitors of that time. This should enable you to modify brightness, contrast and color in a way that is very similar to what one would do, when setting up real equipment – while looking at chip-specific graphics.
Once you're satisfied with your settings, you may download the palette in PNG format from the gear-menu on the upper-right and use it in pixel apps of your choice.
To this day, skilled artists create fantastic graphics on these platforms and I tried to include some recent examples.
Thanks to EBL, Skinny Norris, DeeKay, Graham, Cyclone, Mermaid, Marko Mäkelä, Bob Yannes, Mr. SID, Groepaz, Zer0-X, Pipe, Jeri Ellsworth, Jens Schönfeld, Christopher Jam, Bil Herd, Knoeki, Krill, LFT, Prowler, Veto, Rez, Sander, Algorithm, Jammer, MagerValp, Hedning, Carrion, ptoing, Mirage, saimo, STE'86, Digger, Hein, willymanilly, Ilesj, Oswald, Dr. TerrorZ, Jailbird, soci, Kabuto and JackAsser for moral support.
Is this what some people call the "pepto palette"?
I published an exemplary calculation for creating the VIC II color palette in 2001. As my nick-name is pepto, people started calling it the "pepto palette". Even if the calculation this site is based on, is very close to what I did 15 years ago, I remeasured the video-signals with better tools and made some slight adjustments for a more accurate result.
No two chips output exactly the same signal, so the values I ultimately settled on, are somewhat quantized. I think they represent most chips I tried very well and this time, I also included VIC & TED and came up with a new name... colodore
Why do the images look blurry?
This is the way they look on real hardware. There are different aesthetics to watching low resolution art. Some people prefer razor-sharp large square pixels like you would see in a zoomed view of a graphics program and others love the way it looks on the vintage equipment they grew up with.
I think both ways have their places, but this site tries to mimic real hardware.
Why did it take you so long to update your color calculation article?
I didn't know how to significantly improve it, so I left it behind for a while. I got a motivation boost when I heard, that they were doing a book about mostly C64 art and wanted to use my palette. There were certain aspects about the result of my original calculation that had some colors appear slightly tinted, especially when using too much color saturation. This site was more or less a by-product of coding a generator, in order to find a better way of calculating the colors. I'm happy that I was able to improve things.
On another note, it certainly helped my motivation that the C64 demoscene reached a mindblowing level of sophistication in the last couple of years. It never ceases to amaze and inspire me.
2016-12-11 v1.0.0 Initial Release
2016-12-13 v1.0.1 Added saving palettes in .act format
2016-12-13 v1.0.2 Fixed a rounding-error, that resulted in white being #FEFEFE
2017-02-19 v1.0.3 Fixed Hanover-Bars & Chroma-Res — this won't change palettes
I think moving the sliders would perform more fluid, if the YUV to RGB conversion was handled by the GPU via WebGL. Also adding a slot-mask pattern might look more realistic on HighDPI screens for displaying images and the appearance of colors that NTSC chips generate, might differ slightly from what I see on my PAL machines.
These are things I would love to investigate and address in a future update, but they currently have a low priority.