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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Create a Bead Program Color-Journal!

I am versed in every bead pattern program available, purchased or found free on the Internet. In working with each one, trying to learn more about getting that perfect 'bead color match' it became evident that you must learn how to 'edit each bead color' offered in the pallet created by the Programmer!

More times then not, BeadTool4 is owned by more Bead Artists, then any other Bead Pattern Program. The cost is reasonable, it is very user friendly, the Customer Support is timely and Bead Pallets are kept updated. For these reasons, I have decided to use this particular Bead Pattern Program to discuss the necessity of honing the bead color editor in any program you prefer to utilize!

Even though there are many bead colors, stored in my Delica Pallet (originally created by the publisher) of BT4, needing to be 'tweaked', I'll just use one Delica Bead Color right now to show how every bead color in your pallet should be touched or double-checked.

I created a loom pattern in BT4, using all the right steps to create a gorgeous pattern.... so I thought! Once the requested Delica colors were pulled, from my on-hand stock of colors, I realized there were some poor choices made by the program's Bead Color Selector itself. For example, the color DB170 was chosen for a portion of my pattern, denoting an area of 'dark maroon tones' in my original photograph. Take a look at the Bead Color choice below, selected by BT4:
Now look at the bead cup below. This is the 'actual bead color' requested by the Bead Program, DB170. Looking at both, back and fourth, you'll notice there is a grave difference in color hue, tone and intensity!

Anyone who has created a pattern, in a Bead Program, has realized a great change in the 'completed bead Art' vs. the 'actual pattern generated', only after the beading is completed! Your heart drops and you start to find the positives, in what you completed. No doubt, you should! Anything beaded with time, passion and enjoyment, is something to be proud! But then, step back and realize how you can 'tweak' the actual Bead Program, so you can begin to build a firm foundation of proper color selections, for future patterns and bead creations!

Shown below is a montage of steps I take to make the color corrections, in my own personal bead program pallet, no matter what program I am utilizing. The original bead color request is shown on the left, with the necessary changes on the right.

BT4, like every bead pattern program, offers a way to change or recreate the proper color, for each bead color. When I make such color corrections, I also change the name of the bead and color number by not adding the DB to the new color number. This denotes to me that I have made such corrections already, in my pallet. You may find another way, to mark these changes for your own pallet!

There are over 971 different Delica colors. It is a timely undertaking to create the proper combination of color/hue/tint, for each one of them. The Programmers of every Bead Pattern Program, has no easy task. Therefore, I would like to also show how such mistakes might have been made, during their pallet creating process.

This picture shows a close up of DB170. It is a transparent bead, which allows light to enter the bead changing its intensity under various lighting conditions. Along with that, bead also has an AB Finish, (AB stands for "Aurora Borealis", which means "Northern Lights". It is done with a special process that puts a very thin layer of metallic atoms deposited on the surface of the bead.) Because it creates a rainbow of color, selecting the proper bead color using a cursor alone is not a concise method to denote an AB bead color. This is how the color is 'picked'. The small point of the cursor can pick up any one of the multi-colors this type of bead reflects.

My 'Paint' Program was used to show how many color variations you can find in this same cup of beads, DB170! I used the 'eye dropper' (color select) and the 'paint pail' (color fill) to create the sample card below. Notice all the colors I was able to pick out of this same bead cup! I could have found more, if I wanted to continue!
(On another note, many bead artists use this very method to create a color wheel for some of their creations as it can denote the best marriage of bead colors for any given project!)

Therefore, you can see how a Bead Program, offering you a base of bead colors, can make color mishaps that relate to a poor pattern. No Bead Pattern Program is created to offer 'perfect pattern and bead color choices', from the start. Each new Program should be considered your journal and the input you offer, from each pattern you create and color correction you make, will compile the perfect base for all your phenomenal personal patterned creations!

In closing, reconsider purchasing any bead looming pattern that doesn't offer the finished looming as a sample! It would be different, if you are looming a pattern given 'free', but to invest in a pattern and the cost of any requested bead colors, which can change in so many ways, may be disheartening! To keep a positive feeling, about creating loomed bead art, consider investing in a Bead Pattern Program. You can begin to learn how to use it, tweak it so you build a program that will work with your creative style and not hinder it!

This sample was using a particular bead pattern program, but every program created for the purpose of making bead patterns have to be 'worked'. There isn't a program available that offers a 'click, perfect pattern' option!

FOOTNOTE: In a reply from another bead artist, I think I should also mention: "It isn't much work if you double check your colors for each pattern, making changes as needed. Soon, you will have more completed then you think! Also, I guess I should have added that 'not every bead color needs to be adjusted and not every bead in every program"! I would just remember this blog post and add the motions to any pattern you may create from here on out! Your style of patterns may even limit you to using more colors then others! Adjust as you go... Makes it much easier. Be sure to also mark each color you have already changed by either marking it's name or adding a letter to the DB#.


  1. Wow - I have so much to learn! What a wealth of information you have provided, thank you.

  2. Caron, my favorite newbie-loomer, just remember, I'll always have your back! :) I can't wait for you to get comfortable with this medium because your insight has been right on with others!

  3. A friend of mine has had the same problem with a peyote pattern of Mary and Child and said that she was beading a Clown instead of the Holy Mother, since the seller hadn't checked the colours prior to resell the pattern!!!!

    Thanks for the insight!!!!

  4. Thanks for your amazing insights, Erin. I love how you picked all those colours out of the cup of beads!

    I shall remember this invaluable lesson!

  5. Love this post! You won't believe how many times I've gone shopping for beads and looked at the program's color representation and I go "Really?" Fantastic idea to go through all of your beads and create a palette of your own that is closer to the true colors. Big undertaking here for my stash, but once it's done I'll be very happy! Thanks Erin!

  6. I have created a spreadsheet and every time I make a purchase, I enter abbreviation of purchase site, size, price, number, colour name and I right-click on photo on site then past special and adjust size to fit cell. Sounds complicated but it really isn't and if anyone requires help with this then I would be happy to send example. Also helps to compare prices and record of colour example.

  7. Really informative. I have created a spreadsheet and every time I make a purchase, I enter abbreviation of purchase site, size, price, number, colour name and I right-click on photo on site then past special and adjust size to fit cell. Sounds complicated but it really isn't and if anyone requires help with this then I would be happy to send example. Also helps to compare prices and record of colour example.

  8. I found this post very informative. But how did you resolve the many color choices for DB170?