Thank you in advance for any help you might have.

I have an original jpeg image of birch trees.

These are the steps I took to make the image below:

  1. Brought it into AI.
  2. Made into an object mosaic.
  3. Made shapes into ellipse paths.

I want to paint the image I have on a canvas- but not with 3046 colors like in the image.

SO- I want to reduce the amount of colors to between 12-16. Then I can mix up that many paint colors and paint the image on a canvas.

However, I can't seem to reduce the color palette in AI down to that many.

Here is what I have tried:

  1. Edit>replace color. This doesn't seem to save the 12 colors I reduce it down to when I go back to the image. It retains all the gradiations/tints. Even when I select "Exact" colors.

  2. Imported AI into PS. Mode> Index color to 12. That doesn't work, because the colors come back again for some reason.

I'm wondering if I have to resolve to selecting the colors and then changing them one by one? Really, it can't be that that's my only option.

In addition, I have tried: Select>Similar>fill too and only 1 or 2 circles will be selected as there are so many gradations.

Any thoughts please?

Thank you! Karenenter image description here

2 Answers 2


One suggestion is to go to: Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork

This will allow you to assign a number of colours of choice to your layers. Worth experimenting with.

  • Thank you! I just edited my question below to mention that I have tried that....for about 3 hours! I think I need to watch a video on how to do it and see if I can find out what I am missing in doing so. The tints/gradations get lost.
    – Karen
    Mar 12, 2016 at 14:27

Hi My thoughts are to save it as a hi res png then Trace in illustrator restricting to twelve colours then expand, ungroup Apply your preferred colours to the trace using magic wand tool voila!

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