The commands found under the Convert To sub menu allow you to increase or decrease a picture's number of colors (or color depth). If you select a color depth that is lower than the picture's current color depth, a screen similar to the one below will prompt you for some additional information. When increasing the number of colors, no additional steps are necessary and the conversion will take place immediately.


For more information about a specific item, click the image above.

Preview

The original picture and the effects of your changes are shown in the Before and After preview windows. Drag the vertical slider to adjust the magnification level of the preview images. Click the button to shrink the preview images so that they fit completely within the preview window, or click the button to display the preview image actual size (1:1). If needed, you may move the preview to display a different portion of the picture using the scroll bars or by dragging its center with the mouse. The button can be used to quickly zero in on a specific area of the picture.


Dither Method

These options allow you to apply dithering to your picture during the conversion. When converting a high resolution picture down to 2 or 16 colors, dithering can help make up for the loss of image detail that occurs with such a dramatic reduction in color. By adding subtle shading and cross hatching, dithering can give the impression that the picture contains more colors than it actually does. The difference between the dither methods is subtle and the best choice will vary from picture to picture. The best way to choose between dither methods is by experimentation.


For many conversions, the best quality may be achieved by selecting the Nearest Color option. As the name implies, this option will change each color in the picture to the one in the palette that is the closest match. When converting to an optimized 256 color palette this will often yield better results than using one of the dither methods.


Conversion Palette*

When converting down to 256 or 16 colors, these options will allow you to control how the picture's existing colors are converted. The different palette options are described below:


Optimized

Use this option to automatically build an optimized conversion palette containing the picture's most often used colors. Selecting the Include Windows Colors option sets aside room in the palette for the 20 standard Windows colors - the remaining colors will be optimized.

Internet/Web

When converting to 256 colors, this option employs a basic web-safe palette used by older web browsers. However, advances in technology have pretty much eliminated the need for a specific web-safe palette.

Standard Windows

When converting to 256 colors, this option uses a generic palette containing a full spectrum of colors including 20 standard Windows colors. For 16 color conversion, the palette consists of 16 default Windows color.

Custom

This option allows you to specify a custom palette for use in the conversion process. Palettes can be loaded from PixelNEO PAL files (created with the Palette Editor) or extracted from an existing picture. Click the button to load a palette.

Auto

When converting to 256 colors, this option will automatically choose the best conversion method and generate an optimized palette. This option produces excellent results when converting color photographs.

*When converting down to 2 colors, the Conversion Palette options will not be available since that mode does not support palettes.

When you are satisfied with your settings, click the Apply button to perform the conversion. The Cancel button returns you to PixelNEO without altering the picture.