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Programming Windows®, Fifth Edition by Charles Petzold

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Using Palettes

Traditionally, a palette is the board that a painter uses to mix colors. The word can also refer to the entire range of colors that an artist uses in creating a painting. In computer graphics, the palette is the range of colors available on a graphics output device such as a video display. The word can also refer to a lookup table on video boards that support 256-color modes.

Video Hardware

The palette lookup table on video boards works something like this:

image with no caption

In 8-bit video modes, each pixel has 8 bits. The pixel value addresses a lookup table that contains 256 RGB values. These RGB values can be a full 24 bits wide or can be smaller, ...

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