An element's color attribute is stored with the element in the DGN file. The color for an element can be defined through the Active Color icon in the Attributes toolbox, which provides several ways to select a color, including a color table that assigns a color as a value from 0–255. You can also select a color graphically, by specifying values using a color model, or by selecting a color from a color book.
You can attach a color table to a DGN file. If a DGN file has a color table attached, the color table is opened (and its colors used to display elements) each time the DGN file is opened.
Color tables can be customized and saved in color table files for subsequent attachment to multiple DGN files.
MicroStation uses balanced colors to represent colors in the DGN file. Balanced colors are a representative spread of colors, evenly spaced across the color spectrum. Colors of elements in the DGN file are mapped to the colors that the hardware can display using a "closest match" algorithm.
- If the display hardware supports many colors, then a large balanced color table can be constructed and the colors of elements in the DGN file can be accurately represented on screen.
- If the display hardware supports only a few colors (especially 16 or less), then a smaller number of balanced colors must be spread more thinly across the spectrum — this may cause some colors to be less accurately represented on screen.
The benefits of balanced colors are:
- Display hardware that supports a small number of colors can be made to seem to have many more colors than it actually does.
- Elements in references that have their own color tables can be matched to the balanced colors to more accurately represent their colors.
- Balanced colors allow you to create realistic renderings of 3D models regardless of the number of colors in the DGN file, even on hardware that supports a limited number of colors.