I'm attempting to make some simple rubiks cube art like this:

example of rubiks cube art

I'd quite like to see what a source image is going to look like before buying a load of rubiks cubes and solving them for hours.

Is there an easy way in photoshop of converting a regular image into 6 different, solid colors? I figure once I have that base of 6 different colors it will be relatively easy to convert them to the 6 colors on a rubiks cube.

  • You're actually going to solve all the Rubiks cubes to the configuration you need? Rather than just peeling off the stickers (which is what I'd do)... – Cai May 22 '16 at 14:53
  • 1
    Yep! That's the plan. – Jon May 22 '16 at 14:55
  • @Jon, Have you tried: Convert to B&W, Posterize, then add single color layers and blending based on tones? – user45605 May 22 '16 at 16:09
  • @cai It's even easier to just disassemble and reassemble one. – JBentley May 22 '16 at 20:48
  • I'm not a graphical designer or whatever (I just solve Rubiks cubes), but I wanted to point out something important - not all combinations of colours on the cube are possible. You might have to twist some corners or move some stickers to get some of the combinations you need. – angussidney May 23 '16 at 7:01
  1. Take your image

original image

  1. Pixelate your image. Work out the exact number of Rubiks cube cells you will have and make your image that size in pixels, so 1 cell = 1 pixel.

pixelated image

If you don't know what scale you want to work at, don't know how many cubes you want to use etc. Using the Mosaic effect (Filter → Pixelate → Mosiac...) will help you preview quickly.

mosaic filter

  1. Set a Gradient Map adjustment layer over your image with your chosen colors. To prevent the gradient between colors just double up each color and set the next color directly next to the previous. You can see how I set up my gradient:

gradient map

Your result may not work exactly as intended. You can play with the levels in your original image and the distribution of colors in your gradient map to get a better result.

resulting image

It's worth noting that you will most probably still get some variations on color from the gradient map but you can manually redraw any problem areas. As a quick preview this is probably fine. If you truly want only 6 colors you can convert your image to indexed color with a palette of only the 6 colors you want.

These images can be fairly unrecognisable when you are zoomed in so if you are manually redrawing areas, use the navigator window to keep a preview visible.

image with navigator window

  • THANK YOU SO MUCH! This is EXACTLY what I was trying to do. You just saved me hours of trial and error work. Thank you thank you thank you!!!! – Jon May 22 '16 at 17:31
  • @jon more hours to spend solving Rubiks cubes instead then :p – Cai May 22 '16 at 17:41
  • Isn't Posterize a more straightforward method? Wait. Scratch that - unless you can select any color you want for the Rubiks, you may want to convert to indexed color, with an exact palette of your choice. – Jongware May 22 '16 at 19:56
  • You could use posterize, it doesn't really give you any control over the color distribution though.. and you'd still either have to use a gradient map or index color palette to change the colors. – Cai May 22 '16 at 20:12
  • @RadLexus converting to indexed color ends up with the image mostly white. – Random832 May 22 '16 at 20:30

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