Gary L. Simmons  rev 09/03/03
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M2/Mi Clut Notes

I was wandering through the Hamish Halls of Horror the other day and as I paused before the jar of napalm that preserves the remains of Hamish Sanderson's exploded head, I noticed a line in the wall behind the showcase. There was a glimmer of a light from behind the crack so I pried at it with my combat knife. To my surprise, a secret panel opened and a document fell out! It was a missing tutorial on CLUTs by the man himself! I immediately translated it from its native Scottish gibberish (minus the profuse swearing, odes to whiskey, and lengthy apocalyptic prophesies) and have added it to my collection of Hamish's rantings for those seekers of Anvil Truth. - gls

I have assembled the following for your pleasure and delectation the full M2/Mi color table in Photoshop3.0 CLUT format (I believe newer versions of PS should have no problems with this though), and a PICT of said CLUT for reference. [Editors Note: you can download the materials mentioned in this tutorial at or use the exact replicas presented here- gls 01/28/2002]

I've not included an M1 one. Evil, Tempus, and every other M-scenario released to-date use the standard M2/MI palette, so the CLUT supplied is entirely useable with those too.

Marathon CLUT

The PICT [and GIF above, just drag it off the browser window] is supplied so you can eyedropper colors out of it directly, if you like working that way when drawing your art (remember kids, try to draw with colors as close to the M-palette as possible if you want it to index well). Or, if you prefer, PS can import the CLUT into the Swatch palette directly (you do know what those little arrow tabs with the pull-down menus in the top-right corner of the PS palettes are for, don't you?).

Please note that in both PICT and CLUT, I have supplied them to be (completely) Photoshop compatible - ie. The first entry is white and the last entry is black. To fit everything in, each ramp runs from its brightest color to its darkest color, but not to black. (FYI, the engine displays in a similar fashion when in 256 cols mode - a black appears at end of the first [white-black] ramp, but not at the ends of the others. Of course, the engine knows what it's doing...:)

Remember that in Anvil all ramps must end in black for M2/MI to display correctly in 256 cols. This stuff is arranged specifically to best suit your PS indexing needs, not for importing into/out of Anvil. You can paste/import your PS artwork that uses my CLUT into Anvil no problem; but don't go trying to import the CLUT itself as it just won't work right.

Refer to my EditNotes for further info and recommendations on working with Anvil and CLUTs.


I've removed the cyan entry [one of the 3 transparent background colors] as it's not really very useful. Most folks always use pure blue as their background color out of habit anyway.

However, smart munsters will note I've left in the magenta. IMO, magenta is actually probably the best color to use for background, as it is least close to any of the existing M-colors That should make it easier when indexing art which uses, say, colors found in the blue ramp - if you use pure blue as your background in this case then almost sure as guns you will find stray pixels of pure blue creeping into areas where you intended colors to be of the blue ramp, and not transparent (which means you then gotta retouch all those stray pure blue pixels). That's why I removed the cyan - it's a bit close to the light blue ramps for comfort and convenience.

So, if you want to save yourself a bit of time, delete the pure blue entry from the PS CLUT, re-save it (though keep a copy of the original for working with art which does use pure blue as background), and use magenta for your backgrounds instead. Of course, we'll all call you a girly wuss for having a pink background color to all your new art, but that's just us.:)

Other Notes: [ You do get full value for your money here, dontcha? : ) ]

Anyway, for those who still haven't figured how to draw art to best suit the M-thon CLUT, I've included the following diagram:

Typical color ramp

Using red as an example, I've mixed it with, alternately, white and black to show a ramp that goes from 100% white to 100% red to 100% black. This is the range you'd get if you took a pure red and lightened it or darkened it. Anyway, the trick when drawing M-art is to avoid colors which are tints (color+white) and use only shades (colors+black). Tint's don't appear in the M-palette, see? So if your art contains lots of pale lightened colors then you'll find that it'll end up indexing to some other ramp than the one you'd hoped for. Bear in mind too that the level of color saturation is also important, since some of the M-ramps are very similar in hue (eg. Brown is pretty much just a desaturated orange).

I'm not going to mention much more here since all this takes me waaaay too much time to write, and anyway, a ''proper' artist should already know all this stuff and doesn't need me patronizing them (and 'non-proper' artists really need far more help than I could give them, short of writing an entire book - and you guys just ain't paying me enough to do that;).

If you are feeling adventurous, however, you might want to check out my original Marathon Art Guide, which I wrote way back in the intoxicating days of High-TM1 Editing. I'm sure you'll be able to tell that just from the prose if you do read it, however. You might get lucky though and manage to extract just a little useful info from it though - the stuff on making customized PS CLUTs to contain only one or two ramps (ie. Only the colors you need to index a specific piece of art) is probably the most useful tip there - this can be a useful technique in making indexing colors more accurate. [You can also make custom CLUTs. with only specific colors in by taking a copy of the full CLUT and editing it in PS to delete all the entries you don't want, but that generally takes longer to do in practice.]

And, I don't care how often I say it, because no matter how repetitive I sound, if I don't then sure enough it's never long until you hear the next small and pathetic voice saying "I don't know how to do This, That or The Other in Anvil's Shapes editor; please tell me how." So:


(a.k.a. "HAS' Editnotes" if you don't already know)

These incorporate the Anvil Masterclass, notes on engine customizing, great advice by Randy Reddig on how to do good textures, and much, much more... Available from all good marathon archives (try a word search by name "EditNotes" to start with. Actually, do a word search by my name, and go check out some of the other cool toys I've released over the years:).

They are, and I kid you not, vital reading if you do any kind of Shapes work (and also some useful info regarding Sounds work too). I've floated this stuff separately for now because there didn't seem to be enough of it to warrant a new release of the EditNotes and it was done by request, but I am acquiring some other new info to compile into the EditNotes at some point, so watch that space, as they say...

Good Luck, and keep those kickbacks coming!

(Usual disclaimers reply; whatever it is, it ain't my fault. These notes, for what it's worth ©has99.

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