I am creating a 2.5D isometric (2D images) game.
I want the players to be able to "dye" their armor, clothes, and other things. I find that grayscaling everything leads to losing out on some of the more "natural" coloring. For example, making a dragon with red/yellow grayscale and then applied overlay color, leads to a purely red dragon with all loss of the secondary color. Meanwhile, dying that same Red/Yellow Dragon Blue, makes it Blue/White which looks great.
The characters in my game do not have a huge variety of equipment. The game is closer to how League of Legends handles characters and graphics. There may be a single type of character (ex. Hero) but multiple outfits for the character as options. I want players to be able to have as much customization as possible in the limited number of "outfits" and characters.
So I want players to be able to select a character, pick one of several weapons, alternate between a handful of costume choices (layered onto the characters), and then dye most of everything (pick a specific metallic color for weapons, pick any color at all for clothing).
If I were to be able to use grayscale without losing some of the coloring, I would.
Here is an example as to what I am talking about:
It is not even possible to "dye" the Dragon, no matter what I use in Photoshop's "Color Overlay" options. Obviously, I am doing it wrong if it is possible to color it better using grayscale. For a color like Green or Yellow or a Lighter Purple, this works okay. For any other color, it destroys the art.
However, it looks much better if I do NOT grayscale it, and instead simply apply a "HUE" color to the original (Red/Yellow) image.
Now the players could dye the Dragon ANY color, and it would still look great! (The yellow turns white, while the red turns to any color of the rainbow.)
Does this mean that WHITE or BLACK is the best secondary color? Then use some sort of method or shader to change white (secondary) color to something different?
Are there any articles on this complex method of taking a single image, and based on the coloring, dye different pixels?
For the Dragon, would it work best as a White/Black high Contrast Dragon? Is Red/Yellow the best color set? It turns out a lot better for images than a few other colors I tried. Is Grayscale still superior?
Does Photoshop's "Blending Options" not include the method to appropriately "dye" images for a video game? Are there complex Shaders/Methods that allow me to achieve better success?
Note: If GrayScale allows me to reduce the RAM consumption of my images, or prevent loss of quality during lossy compression, that would be something I would seriously consider.