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



Customizing Krita Brushes – Tricks and Traps

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I have recognized that there is some confusion about the technical Aspects of customizing Brushes in Krita. Here is an Overview of what i have learned from the creation of the Modular Brushset


Brushnames vs Filenames

  • Brushnames are saved as Metadata in the .kpp Files
  • If you create a new Brush, the Brushname and the Filename are identical
  • You CAN rename the .kpp File – This will NOT change the Brushname as it is saved to the Metadata!
  • If Krita finds 2 .kpp files with the same Metadata (Brushname) it assigns a new Brushname to avoid duplicates with this Namepattern: Brushname(Filename.kpp)
  • If you overwrite a Brush inside Krita, a new File will be created with a random 6 Digit code at the end to avoid duplicate Filenames: It will look like BrushnameZV5570.kpp are anything similar. The original File is kept in the folder for the Presets but Krita will not load it. Why? Because Krita has written the Original Brush into the Blacklist (kis_paintoppresets.blacklist). Files in the Blacklist are not loaded! When you Cleanup your Ressources (Menu – Edit – Ressources – Cleanup removed Files…) the “overwritten” Brushfile will be deleted and removed from the Blacklist. Now it is “free” again.
  • You CANNOT have two Brushpresets with the same Brushname (metadata)
  • You CAN organize the files in subfolders and krita will load them. But if there are duplicates with the same metadata in it, the files in the subfolders will not be loaded. I personally would not recommend to do this, although i guess that this will not cause serious problems it might lead to confusion – filename + brushname + blacklist + files in subfolder = Confusion 😀 – so you may trap yourself with this…
  • Tags and Blacklist do not use the metadata to identify the ressource files – they use the filenames. You can manipulate this files or even delete them without causing serious problems, but be careful – you might trap yourself^^
  • You CAN organize your presets by moving the .kpp files to another location. You will not loose the tags doing this, but you will loose the tags if you rename the files!



How to change the Brushicons in a fast way

  • Bookmark the paintoppresets folder
  • Open krita – open document – paintoppresets
  • Load the .kpp to be changed
  • Drag and drop prepared images as new layers
  • Save – Save them back to the loaded kpp file
  • Close! You can’t change the image again and save it to another .kpp file. Doing it will also overwrite the metadata of the file with the data from the file you loaded.
  • You can change the image as often as you want or need to – this will not harm the additional stored informations in the .kpp file.

Funnily i just discovered that yesterday Luca Gabbrielli posted a youtube video with the Topic: How to create brushes in Krita with your personal icon There you get a visual explanation in Addition.

Link to the KDE-Wiki with Brushicon Standards and Template Files: Krita/Brushes Preset Preview

I have packaged the Files i have used for the Modular Brushset. You can use these for whatever you want. There are a lot of modified Templates in this package. Also there are the Default Templates from the above Linked Kde-Wiki and modified Icons from the Default Iconset by interactivemania (http://www.defaulticon.com). All Files are ready for easy Drag-and-Drop.



Brushcreation Package


If you have read this carefully you should know everthing needed to customize and organize the ressource files.