Handling Colors – Part I: Palettes

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KColorEdit: Open File Dialog with Palette Preview

KColorEdit: Open File Dialog with Palette Preview

In this article i want to give you an overview  of the available Tools, their capabilities and practical usage in a Task-based Q&A Form.

[Note: The software mentioned below is only partly available for windows or mac os]

The Tools i have used to handle and create Palettes are:


Convert a ACO Palette to a Gimp Palette

The Allrounder: Gpick

The Allrounder: Gpick

ACO (Adobe Color Palette) is the native Format of Photoshop using a specific 16bit code for the colors. This encoding makes it possible to use different color spaces in one palette like CYMK or RGB. Actually Gimp is able to read .aco palettes, but it cannot deal all color models that are encoded in the aco files. The adobe swatch exchange format (.ase) is no alternative for Gimp Users as it could not be loaded in Gimp, but you can convert .ase files with Gpick!

 

 

  • Export the .aco Palette to the .ase format using Photoshop
  • Open Gpick – Menu – File – Import, change file format to .ase, browse to the location you saved it and import the file
  • Menu – File – Export, set the format to .gpl save it as yourpalette.gpl
  • Open yourpalette.gpl with a Text Editor and change Palette Name and Number of Columns as you like it

 

gpickpalettefromimageMake a Palette based on an image

You can do this with Gpick or with Gimp.

Gpick: In Gpick you find this feature in the Menu Tools – Palette from Image…gimpimportpalette

Gimp: From the Palette Docker choose the Palette Menu – Import Palette as shown on the Image. To enable the the option to import a palette from an image you have to open the image in gimp…

 

 


 

Change the order/sorting of the colors in an existing palette (or Create a specific Palette Layout)

KColorEdit: Main GUI

KColorEdit: Main GUI

The best choice to do this is Gpick or KColorEdit. KColorEdit has the Advantage that you can move colors up and down and see how the position in the palette changes in a specific Layout (set by the number of columns). Through this visual Feedback it is easy to make a palette with a special Layout like a colorwheel or using columns or rows of uniform colors to separate certain areas in the palette. (Palettes for use with KColorEdit have to be stored at this location: home/user/.kde/share/config/colors

In Gpick you can move colors by drag & drop changing the position in a one-column-list view. Press Shift while dragging the color moves it to the new position; without shift the color is copied to the new position. Also you can hold down Shift to select multiple Colors at once and drag them to a new position. This works very well and is fast from the practical side. You can also open two instances of Gpick and drag and drop the colors of an opened palette two the second window to create a new one.

[Note: Dragging multiple Colors works since version 0.2.5; get the latest package if this version is not in your distro’s repository from here]

 


 

Create a new Palette from different existing Palettes (Remix)Agave: Main GUI

Here comes an advantage of Agave into the game. You can open existing palette files in Agave from a dropdown Menu – this is surely faster then loading one file at a time and it is easier to compare palettes. You cannot drag & drop colors in Agave – use the + icon to add the color to the favorites list, when you are done save the favorites as gpl palette file from the file menu. Not fast enough? Use Agave and Gpick together – drag & drop the colors from agave directly into Gpick to create your palette…

The Palettes you want to work with in Agave have to be saved in this location: home/user/.local/share/agave/palettes

 


 

Merge two existing Palettes

Nothing easier then this… Just open the palettes with a texteditor an copy/paste it into another opened palette file. To be exact – do not copy the 3 line heading:

GIMP Palette
Name: Environment
Columns: 12

You can also change the Name of the Palette and/or the number of Columns.

 

And the winner is..

Every of this little helpers have their advantages and disadvantages. If you know these pros and cons you can save some time if you use them together. If you are the one program-for-one-task kind of user i would recommend Gpick as a specific software or just do all the stuff in Gimp…

 

 

Gpick: Create Webpage Color Scheme

Additional Infos:

  • Colornames – another feature of Gpick.. when using the colorpicker or import from image Gpick assigns the name of the closest named color, if the color matching is inaccurate this will be shown as ~ (approximately equal symbol) You can disable the adding of the ~ in the preferences.
  • The .gpl File extension. I recommend you use the extension .gpl at the end of the filename, even if this isn’t really needed in unix systems. Most graphic programms just do not recognize the palette files if the extension is missing and therefor do not load them.
  • Gpick is also capable of exporting color schemes as css files.

 


 

Recommended Links


 

Gimp Painter 2.8

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I wanted to draw your Attention to a great Extension for Gimp that is maybe known from Gimp 2.6 – Gimp Painter. This Extension is now avaible for Gimp 2.8 with Builds for Linux/Windows (32-/64bit). I have tested the 64bit Linux (ubuntu) build and it works really fine (some small bugs, but nothing annoying). The major features are improvements to the UI, the Use of textures with Brushes and the integrated Brush Engine/Brushes from MyPaint (what is really a great Addition for everyone who likes to use Gimp for Painting..).

There is a relative new Group on G+ where you can download the builds an learn more about the project.

Link to the G+ Site:  Gimp-painter-2.8 Users

 

MyPaintFeatures

Key Features of Gimp Painter 2.8

Digital Painting with Photoshop – Painting Plugins

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Wacom Pen Tablet with Pen, Intuos 3 A5I have tested 2 Painting Plugins for Photoshop: Deep Paint 2 & Wacom Pen Tools. Both Plugins work in the same way – The Image you are editing is exported

to an external Painting Application with own Brushes, Settings etc.; you can edit your image then in this application and import it back to photoshop. The Performance
of both Plugins was good. It just takes a few seconds for export and import. The plugins are intergrated as usual in the Filter Menu. The Installation was easy and
without any problems.

 

Deep Paint 2

Free 2.5D Painting Software that could be used as standalone application but also integrates into Photoshop. It offers a wide variety of Brushes, a clean interface
and seems to be easy to use in the first impression. During the installtion of the software you are asked if you want to install the photoshop plugin addionally.
The Install path for the plugin is chosen automatically but if you have a custom path for your photoshop install you have to point the installer manually to the right
location. Some of the Tools Deep Paint offers could be a nice addition if you work with PS CS2. The software has become freeware a couple of years ago, before this time it was
sold for about 200+ $.

 

Wacom Pen Tool

This plugin offers 8 different Tools specifically for Tablet users to choose from. Installtion… download, unzip, copy to plugins folder…simple. On the first impression
i would say that i will not use this very often cause it does not offer alot of new stuff.. but its worth a look.

Both Plugins (and many other) could be downloaded for free from this Site
(just scroll down to the Painting & Drawing Category)