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Ice Age Mark

Easy palettes and shaders

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
by , 08-14-2013 at 10:11 PM (7422 Views)
Howdy fellow GM'ers.

Finding/making palettes and shaders can be a chore. Here is a source for 165 of them designed specifically for cartography, and a fairly easy method to get them turned into ".pal" files for use in GM.

First, go to this non-commercial site and see if any of these palettes are useful to you. Familiarize yourself with the types/color schemes/class numbers, and how the page works. The site provides four ways to export the RGB values for a chosen palette (click "Export your colors" at lower left of map area); but only one of those worked for me.

Choose the option to download an Excel file of all 165 possible palettes. If you have a newer Excel, the palette colors are illustrated in a column to the right of the RGB values, and you may not need the web page anymore. If you have an older spreadsheet program that won't show the color swatches, you will still need to refer to the web page to find a particular palette on the spreadsheet by using it's identifying code (e.g. YlGnBu) and the number of classes.

Once you've picked a palette on the spreadsheet, select and copy just the set of RGB values for that particular palette, and paste them to a new instance of the spreadsheet program. Then, in the second spreadsheet choose to "Save As" a .csv file, and name the file "yourpalettename.pal". You should then have a palette file that GM can read. If you want to adjust it after seeing it, make the changes in GM, and re-save it from there.

To make a shader from the palette in GM, choose to make a new shader from Configuration>Shader Options>Custom Shaders>New. Then click on "Initialize from Palette File". The new palette will appear in the window, and you can set your elevation or slope values for each color as needed.

The direct link to the Excel file is:


Good Luck. If you need help, just ask. You can also mix/change/combine/append them on the second spreadsheet.
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  1. HendrikNoecker's Avatar
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    Hey Mark,

    thank you very much for this mini-tutorial!

    Nice idea and also a lot of well designed color schemes.

    But unfortunatley I failed in the last step: opening the *.pal file in GM.

    My file has the format (saved as *.csv and just renamed to *.pal):


    GM is unable to open it. Do I have to add anything? Which format has you *.pal file?

    Thank you,
    Kind regards,



    The solution is:

    Just use comma instead of semicolon.



    it works.
    Updated 09-05-2013 at 02:23 PM by HendrikNoecker
  2. EDGAR's Avatar
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    To Ice Age Mark

    One who visited mentioned site
    could notice that there are such options as:
    Number of data classes - ranging sometimes upto 12 values.
    There are also another adjustments like:
    - Sequential
    - Diverging
    - Qualititative

    Starting just from that point one is able to generate "unlimited" amount of different shaders.
    Under lower-right panel appears adjusted color bar with all RGB values.
    It is possible to just COPY entire column of those values and PASTE into Excel spreadshit with commas as separation in each line.

    Next steps You've described already in your post.

    So, I believe there are much more combinations than mentioned 165.

    Best regards

    Updated 12-13-2013 at 10:29 AM by EDGAR (errors)
  3. EDGAR's Avatar
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    As an example pls find below
    newly created PAL_1 Sgader values, ready to import to GM


    Updated 12-13-2013 at 10:30 AM by EDGAR (missing line)
  4. EDGAR's Avatar
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    The effect is as follows
    Updated 12-13-2013 at 10:30 AM by EDGAR (wrong URL link)
  5. EDGAR's Avatar
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  6. EDGAR's Avatar
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    And finally the effect of using newly created PAL_1 Shader

    One should consider of propper adjusting elevation ranges within the shader, too


  7. EDGAR's Avatar
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    And finally, PAL_1 Custom Shader after "quick" elevation adjustment...

  8. EDGAR's Avatar
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    Hello All,

    GM v.15.1
    Recently Mike added nice option under Shader Options - i.e. PREVIEW !

    This is very handy when you are trying to figure out how your Custom Shader will looks like in action.

    Updated 02-11-2014 at 11:16 AM by EDGAR
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