Saturday, August 24, 2013

Adobe Kuler: Great App, Awful Name.

For this blog I am borrowing a feature by Assistant Graham, who introduced me to the abysmally-named but really quite helpful Adobe Kuler (pronounced 'Cooler'. And please, don't worry if you added 'Shaker' in your head - we've all done it).

In common with a lot of artists it seems, I love colour, but for a long time (we're talking years) I avoided making colour decisions or would work in black ink all of the time. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE black ink. But you can't use it on EVERYTHiNG. When I did do colour, it would come out as a frenzy of lumo greens and yellows, or muddy reds and weird browns, and sometimes it worked, sometimes it was awful, especially when printed on a final product.

I later bought an excellent book about using colour - called Colour Index, shown below, which has masses of ready-made colour combinations taken from life, nature, art, history and so on. It really helped for a good long time - I'd just reach for the book when I wasn't sure. Then I began to get comfortable with sampling colours from around me - a dress, some fabric, a car, old packaging, anything - but the difficulty was sometimes capturing and recreating them, and a camera phone wasn't quite around then - or if it was, it wasn't up to the job!

When phone cameras did arrive I thought to myself, y'know, I ought to be able to just point this at the thing, plug it into my Mac and download the colours (well you could, by loading the photo into PS and eyedropping - but it was always a bit awkward). Then lo, suddenly, this tiny little app and website by Adobe called ‘Kuler’ was shown to do just that!

Dodgy name aside, it's a great app and it's free. Here’s a link to Kuler on the App Store:

You can point your phone or iPad at something - here I point my iPhone at Graham - and it picks colours from what you've it pointed at, making a 5 colour swatch from it.
Note the circles, which you can move with your fingertips to get the exact colour you're chasing:

From there you can manually tweak them:

or if you’re happy with the swatch's colours you can give it a name and save it - switch over the Public Theme button and other people can use it too:

then add it to your massive collection of Kuler swatches - here's Graham lounging among his co-swatches:

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