I was wondering how I'd go about just taking a couple of specific colors, then having something make a random pixelated picture with those colors.

I was wanting to take the colors from my current avatar and use those colors to make a banner. I tried taking my avatar, making it a PS Pattern, but when I applied the pattern, it looked too repetitive. I want the colors to be randomly placed.

  • 4
    To get a good answer, please show us some examples, let us know what you have tried, and preferably show us your efforts.
    – benteh
    Commented Jan 12, 2014 at 20:53
  • This sounds like it should be coded...or you could splotch the colours all over the page with a brush and then pixelate that?
    – Jenna
    Commented Jan 12, 2014 at 22:31
  • 1
    I'd learn how to do that something to get it to do what you want. What that something is, however, is entirely up to you. I'd suggest code. Maybe JavaScript would be a good place to stat?
    – DA01
    Commented Jan 12, 2014 at 22:48

3 Answers 3


As people have commented, coding would yield the best solution. You can get a good approximation using Image > Adjustments > Gradient Map...

Fill a canvas with 400% noise:

enter image description here

Filter using Pixelate > Mosaic...

enter image description here

Increase the saturation:

enter image description here

And re-tone the image with Gradient Map:

enter image description here


enter image description here

  • Bravo! That is cool. Thank you for teaching me that.
    – TunaMaxx
    Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 20:04

I don't know if this tip still applies anymore with new versions of Adobe Photoshop, but if you have it laying around, try this:

  • Go to File -> open
  • In the file dialog, make sure you have 'all files' selected so you can see non-psd files
  • select the 'open as raw' option
  • open a non-image file such as a small EXE or even a word doc

This was a trick back in the day to get an abstract pixelated image into PhotoShop. What PhotoShop was doing was taking raw binary data and trying to open it as an image. As it wasn't an image, you'd end up with rather interesting patterns.

Beyond that, though, you want to use some sort of scripting/programming. Here's a tutorial in javascript:



Using a script to apply random swatches.

  • Download and place script available from here

  • Create and select your artwork

  • Add the desired swatches to your default palette, and select all of the swatches while holding down Ctrl

enter image description here

  • Execute the script from File..Scripts

enter image description here

  • Re-run until the randomness suits your taste.

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