# A Triptych named "Evolution"

You run up to the assistant professor's lab. "Just a sec..." she mutters as she puts the finishing touches on a painting in front of her:

Finally, she turns to you. "Oh -- it's you! I'm so sorry, I've already given away everything the professor had," she apologizes and turns back to the painting. "But...here, tell you what, let's make a deal. Lenora insisted that I make this series of three paintings for the avant-garde art festival in her hometown, but I'd much rather be out doing research in the forest nearby. I'll get you something special from there if you finish the other two paintings for me."

You look down at her desk, trying to process the information, but she takes it as a nod. "Great! All the info you need is in there," she points at a slender device with a small screen. "The vertical order matters, to a degree -- the series is supposed to be called 'Evolution' after all -- but the horizontal order doesn't matter at all, as long as you like how it looks. Honestly, horizontal repetition doesn't even matter, as long as everything that needs to be there is there..."

The puzzle:

1. Complete the other two paintings. (Making the actual images would be nice, but I'd also accept a detailed description of each image.)
2. Explain the different story elements. (Why is it called "Evolution"? Who's the assistant professor? What's the device? What was she going to give you? Bonus: Why this time and place and not others?)

Hint 1:

As the assistant professor leaves, you hear her muttering, "Of course it had to be me...what do I even have in common with that old professor in Palette Town?" Palette? Pallet? You hear a squeak in response. "Fine, you know what I mean, other than the ones like you..."

Transcription of the image:

#000000 #101010 #4a4a18 #3100ac #296252 #737331 #3920ee #949439 #31ac73 #626aff #b4d562 #41d5a4 #cdcdcd #c5ee83 #73ffbd #ffffff
#000000 #101010 #4a4110 #394a10 #29317b #527b31 #5a41d5 #839420 #5aac62 #7b7bff #bdcd5a #73d57b #a4acff #d5e683 #ffffff #ffffff
#000000 #101010 #415210 #003183 #6a7b10 #4141de #316abd #399c5a #9cb420 #737bff #29bdde #c5d55a #7bde83 #bdbdff #52eeff #ffffff
#000000 #000000 #5a4162 #185a41 #186241 #2929c5 #298b62 #529483 #7b7bee #29b46a #6acdb4 #c5c5c5 #31e683 #8bf6d5 #c5ffee #ffffff
#000000 #101010 #085229 #00526a #0031ac #626262 #087b52 #1883a4 #109c6a #528bd5 #31bd8b #29bdde #c5c5c5 #4ae6f6 #8bffff #ffffff
#000000 #101010 #39107b #004a62 #3920cd #6a6a6a #317b10 #5a39ff #41bd62 #00ace6 #9ca4f6 #cdcdcd #52e69c #20deff #7bffbd #ffffff
#000000 #000000 #294a31 #396a39 #4a39ac #397352 #6a4ade #0083a4 #5a9c5a #7b62ee #39b494 #20a4ff #6adeac #8bf6cd #52e6ff #ffffff
#000000 #000000 #39317b #315231 #316239 #4a7341 #39735a #4139c5 #4a9452 #399452 #6252ee #4aac62 #0894c5 #7bcd8b #6ae6ee #ffffff
#000000 #000000 #294a18 #204a20 #08525a #296218 #2020bd #318329 #398339 #4a9452 #419c41 #4aac4a #089ccd #6acd83 #94e6b4 #41dee6
#000000 #000000 #394a62 #295a39 #416a8b #417b5a #5283b4 #41a439 #5aac94 #39bdc5 #6ad57b #83cdbd #8be6de #5ae6f6 #ffffff #ffffff
#000000 #101010 #394a62 #295a39 #416a8b #418b39 #4a8b6a #5283b4 #949494 #6ab462 #5aac94 #41b4de #62c5ac #d5d5d5 #41d5ee #ffffff
#000000 #101010 #394a62 #295a39 #5a524a #186218 #416a8b #7b736a #398b31 #5283b4 #41ac41 #a4a4a4 #bdbdbd #e6e6e6 #ffffff #ffffff
#000000 #080808 #00205a #005200 #003994 #008308 #317b8b #417bde #00b400 #009cc5 #62bdc5 #29deff #bdf6ff #ffffff #ffffff #ffffff
#000000 #000000 #101008 #295210 #104173 #204abd #317b8b #399420 #4ac529 #62bdc5 #29cdff #bdf6ff #ffffff #ffffff #ffffff #ffffff
#000000 #101010 #295210 #003994 #397310 #39736a #4a9c18 #ac8b8b #73a473 #089cd5 #0083ff #9cd59c #d5c5c5 #29cdff #ffffff #ffffff

• So many references, love it Commented Aug 1 at 18:19
• Edited the acceptance criteria because tbh the image was a pain to make and I'm not sure I want to force people to do the same thing if they at least have the right idea of what the answer is Commented Aug 1 at 22:03
• rot13(Gurfr ner nyy cbxrzba ersreraprf, jvgu r.t. gur qrivpr orvat gur cbxrqrk. ybbxf yvxr jr arrq 3 cnvagvatf sbe n 3-fgntr ribyhgvba cbxrzba. Gur vaqvivqhny e,t,o inyhrf bayl unir 32 cbffvoyr inyhrf (00, 08, 10, rgp.), juvpu zvtug whfg or n ersrerapr gb 15-ovg (nygubhtu gur QF jnf 18-ovg). Abg fher vs gung'f npghnyyl eryrinag gubhtu... V'z fgvyy abg fher jul gur iregvpny beqre vf eryrinag vs rnpu cnvagvat whfg ercerfragf n fvatyr cbxrzba, be qbrf vg npghnyyl ercerfrag 15 va beqre bs gurve cbxrqrk ahzoref?) Commented Aug 2 at 8:43
• @LukasRotter You're on the right track, added a hint that will hopefully help. Commented Aug 2 at 15:39
• Yeah that gave me the hint I needed. Nice puzzle, I enjoyed solving it! Commented Aug 2 at 18:48

Here are the other two paintings:

The shown image in the question contains

The evolutions of all grass starter pokemon from generations 1 through 5: Bulbasaur,Ivysaur,Venusaur,Chikorita,Bayleef,Meganium,Treecko,Grovyle,Sceptile,Turtwig,Grotle,Torterra,Snivy,Servine,Serperior

because

each row has the color palette of the corresponding pokemon, but treating the RGB value as BGR, which means the shown image doesn't display their "true" colors.

So the other 2 paintings contain

Fire and Water Starters from generation 1-5:

Fire:
Charmander,Charmeleon,Charizard,Cyndaquil,Quilava,Typhlosion,Torchic,Combusken,Blaziken,Chimchar,Monferno,Infernape,Tepig,Pignite,Emboar

Water:
Squirtle,Wartortle,Blastoise,Totodile,Croconaw,Feraligatr,Mudkip,Marshtomp,Swampert,Piplup,Prinplup,Empoleon,Oshawott,Dewott,Samurott

Story elements:

It's called Evolution because the image portrays pokemon evolutions.

She was going to give me a starter pokemon for the beginning of my journey.

The device is a pokedex.

The assistant professor is probably Bianca, because this story seems to play out in Pokemon Black/White.

Lenora's (gym leader) hometown is Nacrene City, which has a museum and has some vague connection to an ancient festival.

The forest is Pinwheel Forest, right near the city, where she would like to research pokemon!

Gen 5 was chosen because it is the last generation that was sprite-based, with gen 6 switiching to 3d models. And as I said the museum is related to art and has some vague connection to an ancient festival.

Fun Stuff:

(I scraped the color codes from here)

Here are the "unaltered" paintings, i.e. in RGB:

Grass (different horizontal order):

Fire:

Water:

• That's correct! Unfortunately this made me realize I mixed the G and B values at some point when I wrote the script to transcribe the image, so that part wasn't intended, but kudos for figuring it out despite that huge mishap. (Should have checked values that weren't the obvious black and white pixels...) rot13(Nf sbe jul vg'f Tra 5, guvax nobhg jung unccrarq gb cnyrggrf nsgrejneqf) :) Commented Aug 2 at 21:08