Your favorite NES palette?

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barfood
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Your favorite NES palette?

Unread post by barfood »

I personally keep switching between Unsatured V-Final and Pixeltao v2 (from the downloadable custom palettes). I like how faithful the Unsaturated palette looks compared to an NTSC CRT, but I love the satisfying reds of Pixeltao.

Out of curiosity, which ones do you use? Any special reason?
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Newsdee
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Re: Your favorite NES palette?

Unread post by Newsdee »

I used to run Unsaturated (I had hardcoded it in the MiST core back in the day), but nowadays I like the Sony palette better.

I find that some games work betters with some palettes, though. A brighter palette goes better with "cutesy" games whereas more action / "serious" games need a darker and more NTSC-like palette to look good.
retrorepair
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Re: Your favorite NES palette?

Unread post by retrorepair »

I'm using PC-10 at the moment just because the only thing I remember about the colours on the NES from when I was little was Mario being yellow as opposed to white when he got the fire flower.

PC-10 seems to be the only palette that achieves this but I'm sure that wasn't the case on other emulators.

I may compare to my PAL NES and create a new palette, though I'm running composite on a CRT so what may look correct to me might not to others.
jlancaster86
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Re: Your favorite NES palette?

Unread post by jlancaster86 »

The Sony CXA palette is the only one I ever use. I can't stand any palette that makes the sky in Super Mario Bros. mauve.
Gryzor
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Re: Your favorite NES palette?

Unread post by Gryzor »

I also use the Sony CXA palette, displayed on a PVM and on a Taito Egret 3 candy cab.
roel27
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Re: Your favorite NES palette?

Unread post by roel27 »

I'm using the Unsatured or the pvm palette at the moment. The Sony CXA is very colorfull, maybe I need to get used to it.
Looking at Super Mario, I played this on the NES, but also in de arcades when I was a kid. I don't remember exactly how the colors where for the arcade version.
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Kitrinx
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Re: Your favorite NES palette?

Unread post by Kitrinx »

roel27 wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 10:44 am I'm using the Unsatured or the pvm palette at the moment. The Sony CXA is very colorfull, maybe I need to get used to it.
Looking at Super Mario, I played this on the NES, but also in de arcades when I was a kid. I don't remember exactly how the colors where for the arcade version.
Arcade colors were quite ugly. You can check with the PC10 palette. I use an idealized palette I made a while back. It's ended up being my favorite one when combined with gamma options.
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barfood
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Re: Your favorite NES palette?

Unread post by barfood »

Kitrinx wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 12:56 pm
roel27 wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 10:44 am I'm using the Unsatured or the pvm palette at the moment. The Sony CXA is very colorfull, maybe I need to get used to it.
Looking at Super Mario, I played this on the NES, but also in de arcades when I was a kid. I don't remember exactly how the colors where for the arcade version.
Arcade colors were quite ugly. You can check with the PC10 palette. I use an idealized palette I made a while back. It's ended up being my favorite one when combined with gamma options.
Is it math_proper.pal that I saw floating around in Discord? I have yet to try it, now I certainly will :) Do you plan on adding it to the list of official palettes?
akeley
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Re: Your favorite NES palette?

Unread post by akeley »

So would you say Unsaturated is the most authentic (OG NES+CRT) palette?
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barfood
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Re: Your favorite NES palette?

Unread post by barfood »

akeley wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 6:59 pm So would you say Unsaturated is the most authentic (OG NES+CRT) palette?
I have not been able to compare side by side yet, but I've been playing the NES over a CRT for over 20 years and it's the one that strikes me as the most authentic...scratch... accurate to my experience when using an NES on my own NTSC monitors.

However, the palette of an original NES over NTSC is pretty unsatisfying. Just play Pac-Man and look at the ghosts' color. (screenshots cherry-picked for sake of argument). I think this is why we see so many palettes pop-up, it seems hard to make an hardware-accurate palette that is also satisfying to look at for all games.
NES on the below, Arcade on the bottom
duk.jpg
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pacman.jpg
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Kitrinx
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Re: Your favorite NES palette?

Unread post by Kitrinx »

akeley wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 6:59 pm So would you say Unsaturated is the most authentic (OG NES+CRT) palette?
I'd like to stress that there is no authentic palette.

Devices of the era were extremely subjective in how they decoded composite video and the NES's composite was a bit janky, so even more subject to variations. Two of the same model PVM might display the colors differently. There was no actual source colors in the PPU, they were modulated directly. To make matters worse the way the PPU modulated seemed to be impacted by NMOS properties of the chip, so it wasn't entirely what you would expect, mathematically.

If you generate colors based on the math of the chip, and factor in the most closely measured outputs you can get your hands on, you can cook up something you might call an ideal palette. The reality of how this would be displayed on actual devices would vary wildly, however.
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Zesty
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Re: Your favorite NES palette?

Unread post by Zesty »

Kitrinx wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:23 pm If you generate colors based on the math of the chip, and factor in the most closely measured outputs you can get your hands on, you can cook up something you might call an ideal palette. The reality of how this would be displayed on actual devices would vary wildly, however.
Is this how your idealized palette was made? If so, would you mind elaborating on how it was created? I'm aware of people who've used pure math, or who've made palettes based on observations/measurements of NES output, but not any that combine the two.

(Disclaimer: I'm aware that palettes based on observation are perfectly reasonable and that no palette can be 'perfect' for reasons already discussed. I just enjoy hearing about the process of solving these problems.)
ash2fpga
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Re: Your favorite NES palette?

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barfood
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Re: Your favorite NES palette?

Unread post by barfood »

Semi off-topic, I wonder if the American NES outputs different colors than the AV Famicom. I have the AV Famicom and Mister hooked to the same TV with a splitter box. Switching back and forth between the two, I can't find a palette that visually matches the SMPTE color bars from the 240p test suite of the AV Famicom.
ash2fpga
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Re: Your favorite NES palette?

Unread post by ash2fpga »

barfood wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:51 pm Semi off-topic, I wonder if the American NES outputs different colors than the AV Famicom. I have the AV Famicom and Mister hooked to the same TV with a splitter box. Switching back and forth between the two, I can't find a palette that visually matches the SMPTE color bars from the 240p test suite of the AV Famicom.
Perhaps its related to the D93 white point for NTSC in Japan (vs D65 in US)? Some discussion on that topic: https://shmups.system11.org/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=61910
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Zesty
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Re: Your favorite NES palette?

Unread post by Zesty »

It’s almost impossible to get a perfect visual match for any specific NES/CRT combo. Modern displays can’t show some of the colors that a CRT could, and the NES would look a little different on every CRT anyway due to variability in their phosphors and decoding techniques. Just grab a composite splitter and run the same NES to two different CRTs and you’ll see what I mean.
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Newsdee
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Re: Your favorite NES palette?

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Zesty wrote: Tue Sep 29, 2020 5:56 pmJust grab a composite splitter and run the same NES to two different CRTs and you’ll see what I mean.
NTSC = Never Twice the Same Color :mrgreen:
akeley
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Re: Your favorite NES palette?

Unread post by akeley »

Zesty wrote: Tue Sep 29, 2020 5:56 pmand the NES would look a little different on every CRT anyway due to variability in their phosphors and decoding techniques
That may be so, but I still wonder which palette would be closest - in some sort of range at least - to the original setup. I display on CRTs myself and am interested because of a project I'm working on.
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Newsdee
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Re: Your favorite NES palette?

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akeley wrote: Wed Sep 30, 2020 8:04 amThat may be so, but I still wonder which palette would be closest - in some sort of range at least - to the original setup. I display on CRTs myself and am interested because of a project I'm working on.
Why not put a CRT next to an HDMI display and try palettes until you are happy with the choice?
akeley
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Re: Your favorite NES palette?

Unread post by akeley »

I did consider that but...well, HDMI+emu is not exactly "close to the original" :) Like I said it's for a project which requires at least some degree of the original look. For my personal gaming I'm not that bothered about colours.

Anyway, I was told on another forum that:
"Smooth was designed specifically for CRTs, so that's probably the one you'll want. FBX tested it by using a switch to swap between a real NES and an NT Mini with his custom palette on it, hooked the switch to his PVM, and tweaked the colors (for a crazy long time) until both of them looked as close as possible."

Sounds good enough, I suppose it will do. Other idea I had was to check old mags and compare, but the images there are often rather poor and I'm sure they had problems with white balance etc as well.
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Newsdee
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Re: Your favorite NES palette?

Unread post by Newsdee »

akeley wrote: Fri Oct 02, 2020 7:33 pm I did consider that but...well, HDMI+emu is not exactly "close to the original" :)
Who is talking about an emulator? Just put a NES on the CRT and compare to a MiSTer on HDMI.

Smooth is a good choice if you don't want to look further.

Old mags are unreliable since the pics were taken photographing a CRT or using an early capture card. We've come a very long way since :)
Peredonov
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Re: Your favorite NES palette?

Unread post by Peredonov »

Unfortunately none. After spending several years hunting for the perfect palette, or at least a few of them to choose based on what fits a given game best, I just learned to stop worrying and love the original hardware composite. This is really the only reason why my MiSTer can't replace the original, unlike several other systems.

Cool to see new projects going on trying to address this though. It was amazing to see what was recently done with the PCE and its original composite colors being emulated on the MiSTer core. I'm also reminded now of what Kevtris did with his NES core and machine, where he had extra hardware to output both composite as well as S-video in a way that apparently very closely matches the output of the original PPU. Maybe the MiSTer will need a dedicated daughter board to achieve something similar.
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Newsdee
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Re: Your favorite NES palette?

Unread post by Newsdee »

I was playing around with video captures today and compared quickly some palettes; the "composite" and "sony pvm" palettes both match very close the video captured from my AV Famicom. In the end ot the day its personal preference, though.
ash2fpga
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Re: Your favorite NES palette?

Unread post by ash2fpga »

Dan Mons has some new analysis on NES palettes.

https://stickfreaks.com/colour/nes-colo ... omparisons
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