NES Color Palette of Choice

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FirebrandX
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Post by FirebrandX »

Here's another thing to consider:

Nintendo's own screen pics from their dev RGB hardware output. I'm looking at my old Nintendo Players Guide Book for the NES and colors that appear light-cream on TVs are actually bright yellow in their screen pics taken from RGB output.

The book covers dozens of games, so there's plenty of reference to work with. Might be interesting to generate a pallete based on Nintendo's RGB captures...
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Post by Jipcy »

I don't think printed colors will be very useful for determining absolute color values, because printed colors degrade over time, and may not be calibrated to match screen colors in the first place.

For relative color values though, it may have usefulness.
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Post by FirebrandX »

I would agree printed colors aren't very accurate, but the paper used in the Guide Book appears to not have faded at all (at least not my copy), probably due to the "waxy" coating on them. At any rate, the colors for Zelda mostly look the same, except a few here and there are quite different.

I'm now hooking up my front-loader NES and doing my own screen captures from the composite output. I made note of some colors that seem off in ASQ's while playing Contra, so I want to confirm them myself. I have my own web site, so I'll post links to some pics soon.
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Post by FirebrandX »

Ok the first is a screen capture from the NES, which shows some green in the border graphics, while the other pic from ASQREALA shows almost completely black and white graphics in the border. I confirmed there is noticeable green content when viewed on my TV set.

ImageImage

Edit:

BTW Nesten has a very nice palette editor that lets you make your own palettes. It would be cool if Nestopia had a feature like that too, then I'd not need Nesten at all.
AspiringSquire
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Post by AspiringSquire »

-_pentium5.1_- wrote:BTW, what does "try before you buy" mean in this context?

The "Free Preview" was going to be some screenshots of the new palette; "Try before you buy!" was just a joke. :|

-_pentium5.1_- wrote:I don't have any idea what the colors should really look like.

Fortunately for you, I do! :P


Phil wrote:Imo, the A version is better. Purple sky in smb1, I don't remember that in original NES.

The 'A' version is not all that accurate, really... The blue sky is actually a bit too blue. I don't mind if you favor a prior version or someone else's palette; you decide what you like to use. My palette-forming methods are evolving, though, so you may like an upcoming release more.


FirebrandX: just so you know, my 'A' and 'B' palettes are not based directly on the composite video output. I'm aiming more for the "best" version of the RF output—it just looks better in most cases. ;) Once I'm satisfied with that, I may go about making the "composite standard"... (though I imagine that even if I "finalize" it, people will not all agree it is as they remember/know it, due to widely varying TV displays).
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Jipcy
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Post by Jipcy »

AspiringSquire wrote:(though I imagine that even if I "finalize" it, people will not all agree it is as they remember/know it, due to widely varying TV displays).

Yeah... and it's going to be annoying. Because everyone can keep saying "it's not how I remembered it." Ah... oh well. We can only hope for actual emulation someday.
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Post by FirebrandX »

AspiringSquire wrote:
FirebrandX: just so you know, my 'A' and 'B' palettes are not based directly on the composite video output. I'm aiming more for the "best" version of the RF output—it just looks better in most cases. ;) Once I'm satisfied with that, I may go about making the "composite standard"... (though I imagine that even if I "finalize" it, people will not all agree it is as they remember/know it, due to widely varying TV displays).


Except that the green value I mentioned really is too dark on your file. I found another example in my Nintendo Player's Guide, where stage 2 of Arkanoid has a background using that same green value that is in the Contra example. Again, it was almost completely black when I ran it using your file, so I change the value to match what it should look like and it looks a lot better now. I changed a few other values slightly too, but most of your other colors were spot on (nice job btw). So now I use my modified version of your set.

Have you tried out Nesten's palette editor? It's pretty nifty.

Edit: I did quite a lot more color adjusting on about 20 different selections. It looks pretty darn good right now, but I haven't checked on most of the darkest colors. Here's a link to my current file:

http://www.firebrandx.com/fbxpal.zip

Zelda 1 and 2 look near perfect from the few minutes I played.
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Post by grinvader »

Jipcy wrote:We can only hope for actual emulation someday.

You must have missed something on the way. This is not possible, because of the previously mentionned 'differences between TV displays'.
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Post by kode54 »

Yes, but we can at least emulate NTSC to the best of our ability, with configurable parameters for phosphor placement and temperature. W00t.

And hay, while we're at it, interlace emulation, with configurable phosphor persistence.
trebor
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Post by trebor »

FirebrandX wrote:
AspiringSquire wrote:
FirebrandX: just so you know, my 'A' and 'B' palettes are not based directly on the composite video output. I'm aiming more for the "best" version of the RF output—it just looks better in most cases. ;) Once I'm satisfied with that, I may go about making the "composite standard"... (though I imagine that even if I "finalize" it, people will not all agree it is as they remember/know it, due to widely varying TV displays).


Except that the green value I mentioned really is too dark on your file. I found another example in my Nintendo Player's Guide, where stage 2 of Arkanoid has a background using that same green value that is in the Contra example. Again, it was almost completely black when I ran it using your file, so I change the value to match what it should look like and it looks a lot better now. I changed a few other values slightly too, but most of your other colors were spot on (nice job btw). So now I use my modified version of your set.

Have you tried out Nesten's palette editor? It's pretty nifty.

Edit: I did quite a lot more color adjusting on about 20 different selections. It looks pretty darn good right now, but I haven't checked on most of the darkest colors. Here's a link to my current file:

http://www.firebrandx.com/fbxpal.zip

Zelda 1 and 2 look near perfect from the few minutes I played.


The only thing I would change with your palette is your value 22 under NES Palette Compare. That's the sky color for Super Mario Bros. Your value is 'too blue' (BGR Hex: FF6C5C / RGB Hex: 5C6CFF). RealityB Palette has that value right (IMHO - BGR Hex: FF828C / RGB Hex: 8C82FF).

Change that value and IMHO opinion your palette *is* the choice one. IMHO, RealityB brown colors have too much red in them. Your values are much closer to what I see on my NES for browns. Nonethless, for the time being RealityB is my choice palette. The sky color in Super Mario Bros. is way too much of a standout difference as compared to some browns appearing too red.

Just my 2 cents,
-Trebor

UPDATE: Well, I did it myself. I want to thank AspiringSquire and FirebrandX for all their hard work and all the directions in this thread for the tools I used. Between NES Palette Compare and NESten I was easily able to minipulate the blue sky color (Palette value 22). This IMHO is the best NES palette - for me at least. I am an NTSC user. It is FirebrandX's complete palette with the only change being value 22 taking from RealityB....

Well, I was going to attach it to this message - However, it appears there is no option for file attachments - oh, well. :(

UPDATE 2: Here we go again...Sorry FirebrandX but if you check Maniac Mansion, especially the opening "Twenty Years Ago Today..." screen, you'll see your palette choices are off. There are 'boxes' around the tree and the top and bottom border colors are off as well.

I guess my next bet is to go back to the RealityB and maybe 'match' FirebrandX's "browns" into RealityB. :)
trebor
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Post by trebor »

Sorry, Not trying to troll this thread, my last post was becoming to lengthy. However, I have what I believe to be the best NTSC palette thus far. I have done *very* little work to obtain these colors - as it is simply a hybrid of the hard work of AspiringSquire and FirebrandX. I call this palette Trebor.pal (lol). I would post it, but there appears to be no file attaching on these boards:

Using fbx.pal [Noted as FX] dated 11/22/2005 & RealityB.pal [Noted as RB] dated 11/10/2005 along with NESten Palette Editor inside NESten 0.61 Beta 1:

0/00 = RB
1/01 = RB
2/02 = RB
3/03 = RB
4/04 = RB
5/05 = FX
6/06 = FX
7/07 = FX
8/08 = FX
9/09 = FX
10/0A = FX
11/0B = FX
12/0C = FX
13/0D = RB
14/0E = RB
15/0F = RB

16/10 = RB
17/11 = RB
18/12 = RB
19/13 = RB
20/14 = RB
21/15 = FX
22/16 = FX
23/17 = FX
24/18 = FX
25/19 = FX
26/1A = FX
27/1B = FX
28/1C = FX
29/1D = RB
30/1E = RB
31/1F = RB

32/20 = Same in both
33/21 = RB
34/22 = RB
35/23 = RB
36/24 = RB
37/25 = FX
38/26 = FX
39/27 = FX
40/28 = FX
41/29 = FX
42/2A = FX
43/2B = FX
44/2C = FX
45/2D = RB
46/2E = RB
47/2F = RB

48/30 = Same in both
49/31 = RB
50/32 = RB
51/33 = RB
52/34 = RB
53/35 = FX
54/36 = FX
55/37 = FX
56/38 = FX
57/39 = FX
58/3A = FX
59/3B = FX
60/3C = FX
61/3D = RB
62/3E = RB
63/3F = RB

You get... tada...Trebor.pal

:-)

To explain further:
The blues, blacks, greys by AspiringSquire's RealityB.pal palette are the most accurate I have seen.
On the other hand, the reds, browns, greens in FirebrandX's fbx.pal are the most accurate I have seen as well.
Hence, the above hybrid.
My "accurate" statement is based on the following setup/equipment.

1. Top Loader NES via Panasonic 27" TV.
2. Radeon 9800 Video Card connect to same television via S-Video.
3. Television screenshots of the NES from other individuals.

IMHO, the above "hybrid" of palettes is the best I have seen for NES NTSC colors.

-Trebor
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Post by xamenus »

trebor wrote:Well, I was going to attach it to this message - However, it appears there is no option for file attachments - oh, well. :(
http://www.rapidshare.de
trebor
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Post by trebor »

xamenus wrote:
trebor wrote:Well, I was going to attach it to this message - However, it appears there is no option for file attachments - oh, well. :(
http://www.rapidshare.de


Thank You.

:D

Here's the palette:

http://rapidshare.de/files/8111878/Trebor.zip.html
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Post by Jipcy »

grinvader wrote:You must have missed something on the way. This is not possible, because of the previously mentionned 'differences between TV displays'.

I meant emulate the color rendering of an NES. I'm aware that it would be difficult/impossible, but we can always hope.
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Post by grinvader »

The only thing you can do is gather the data before it leaves the NES, make a palette from that, then add a 'NTSC TV filter' which alters every colour somewhat. The unfiltered palette would be completely unaccurate to people who played on the real thing, of course.
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Post by FirebrandX »

Unless maybe you used TV-out I think. Other than that, you'd have to filter the colors. It would still be nice to have that pure data though.
-_pentium5.1_-
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Post by -_pentium5.1_- »

Thanks for all your hard work, AspiringSquire, FirebrandX, and trebor.

Is trebor's revision a good palette to use with the "NTSC" filter in Nestopia 1.25? (Among other things, the filter boosts the color saturation to simulate the way that people tend to turn up the Color too high. ...I need to head home and actually try the palette, though, since I'm at my local library right now as usual.)
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Post by kode54 »

-_pentium5.1_- wrote:Thanks for all your hard work, AspiringSquire, FirebrandX, and trebor.

Is trebor's revision a good palette to use with the "NTSC" filter in Nestopia 1.25? (Among other things, the filter boosts the color saturation to simulate the way that people tend to turn up the Color too high. ...I need to head home and actually try the palette, though, since I'm at my local library right now as usual.)


Palette is irrelevant when using the NTSC simulation.
-_pentium5.1_-
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Post by -_pentium5.1_- »

kode54 wrote:
-_pentium5.1_- wrote:Thanks for all your hard work, AspiringSquire, FirebrandX, and trebor.

Is trebor's revision a good palette to use with the "NTSC" filter in Nestopia 1.25? (Among other things, the filter boosts the color saturation to simulate the way that people tend to turn up the Color too high. ...I need to head home and actually try the palette, though, since I'm at my local library right now as usual.)


Palette is irrelevant when using the NTSC simulation.


Oops... oh, really? I'd better do some more testing. Should the Nestopia documentation be clearer on this point?
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trebor
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Post by trebor »

-_pentium5.1_- wrote:Thanks for all your hard work, AspiringSquire, FirebrandX, and trebor.

Is trebor's revision a good palette to use with the "NTSC" filter in Nestopia 1.25? (Among other things, the filter boosts the color saturation to simulate the way that people tend to turn up the Color too high. ...I need to head home and actually try the palette, though, since I'm at my local library right now as usual.)


I wouldn't use it...lol. Try this one:
http://rapidshare.de/files/12777638/TreborR5.pal.html

Many revisions/changes were made. Too many to start listing. The above is a better palette than my original posting.

However, this is much more interesting and will be *much* more accurate:

http://nesdev.parodius.com/bbs/viewtopic.php?t=1071

-Trebor
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Post by -_pentium5.1_- »

Thanks for the update ... but why do a lot of blargg's colors disagree with yours? Does it have to do with differing points in the NES's video circuitry at which the color is measured?

EDIT: Oops, I didn't actually try the new palette yet. Sorry.
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Post by -_pentium5.1_- »

trebor, I disagree w/ a few of the changes you made to get from "Trebor.pal" to "TreborR5.pal." On my monitor, the SMB1 sky is a little too blue; also, the bright red should be brighter. I admit that the last time I saw a real NES in action was many, many years ago, but these comments happen to be the same comments someone made about a previous revision of AspiringSquire's palette. Still, good work overall.
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trebor
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Post by trebor »

-_pentium5.1_- wrote:trebor, I disagree w/ a few of the changes you made to get from "Trebor.pal" to "TreborR5.pal." On my monitor, the SMB1 sky is a little too blue; also, the bright red should be brighter. I admit that the last time I saw a real NES in action was many, many years ago, but these comments happen to be the same comments someone made about a previous revision of AspiringSquire's palette. Still, good work overall.


The disagreements in color are due to television differences and the good old "never the same color twice" NTSC signal. Regardless, Nestopia 1.27 is released and an accurate NES NTSC palette has been obtained and incorporated into it. See the NESdev forums for details on blargg's work that Martin has incoporated into the emulator:

http://nesdev.parodius.com/bbs/viewtopic.php?t=1071

As as side note, I do not believe the *.pal file offered on the first page is the "final" resulting palette incorporating all that was done to achieve an accurate palette. Some more tweaking/adjustments I believe were made afterward. Nonetheless, you can obtain the final Palette simply by using Nestopia's built in Palette editor and saving the default palette settings to a *.pal file.

The palette now used in version 1.27 of Nestopia is not just a best guess of hues/colors or video capture comparisons. While much of the work that was done to achieve it is way over my ability; Nonethless, it's accurate and final here!

An "easy" adjustment for many will be under the Video - click the advance button under the "color" section. For some, "Canonical" colors (Very similar to what many emulators like Nestopia was using before) are best for matching what they are use to seeing. For others, the "Consumer" colors (Believe these colors are emphasized in RockNES/Fx's palette rip from the Mega Man Anniversary Collection), will best represent with they are use to seeing. The again, if your were/are use to older Japanses television sets, which some had a yellow color boost - that option is there too!

The video tweaking choices in previous Nestopia versions were great, now with version 1.27 they are unbelievable. You still have Brightness, Saturation, and Hue. Additionally, now you can also adjust the Red-Green-Blue intensity and gain values!

Fortunate for some though, you may not even need that much tweaking now that an accurate palette has been obtained. For instance, for my TV - a Panasonic CT-27D20, the only adjustments I made to match exactly what an actual NES hooked up to the same TV shows is this:

Under Video -> Color
Brightness - 88
Saturation - 143
Hue - 128 (Default - No adjustment needed)

Under Video -> Color -> 'Advance' button:
Canonical (Default - No adjustment needed)

Believe it or not, if you output that to my TV (As I do via S-Video from my Radeon 9800 Pro), it matches exactly what my actual NES shows on the same TV. However, it looks a little to dark on my monitor, so I settled for a brightness of 108. A nice balance having both television and monitor looking great both matching nearly exactly what my actual NES produces.

Anyway, what are you waiting for - grab Nestopia 1.27 now...lol.

http://nestopia.sourceforge.net/

-Trebor
-_pentium5.1_-
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Post by -_pentium5.1_- »

Um, okay... I DL'ed Nestopia 1.27 way before I got to read your post. I'm in too much of a hurry to explain what settings I'm using, and I *am* satisfied w/ the controls that Nestopia 1.27 provides, but I would like to have a hand-tweakable palette for a few special uses.

EDIT: This is *not* a request for a palette update, so please disregard the last clause of the last sentence above. I just headed back to this thread to get a look at your suggested HSB settings.
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New and Improved: RealityC.pal

Post by AspiringSquire »

After an extended hiatus, I present to you my latest masterpiece (or simply "piece", if you prefer ;)):

http://rapidshare.de/files/26654791/ASQREALC.zip.html

Freshly produced from cold storage. Example screenshots to come later.
My NES palette - better colors with any emulator.

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