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Creating a color palette

From: Designing a Magazine Cover

Video: Creating a color palette

The colors you choose for your cover elements should relate to and enhance the colors in your cover image. It's a simple and an effective technique to sample colors from the image and then apply these colors to your cover elements. There are a few different ways we can go about this. Before I sample colors from the cover image, I'm going to go to the View menu and choose Display Performance > High Quality Display so that I have an accurate representation of the colors that I want to sample.

Creating a color palette

The colors you choose for your cover elements should relate to and enhance the colors in your cover image. It's a simple and an effective technique to sample colors from the image and then apply these colors to your cover elements. There are a few different ways we can go about this. Before I sample colors from the cover image, I'm going to go to the View menu and choose Display Performance > High Quality Display so that I have an accurate representation of the colors that I want to sample.

I'm then going to press my I key to choose my Eyedropper tool. In the previous movie, I locked the cover image layer. I'll now need to go to that layer and unlock it so that I can sample colors from it. Let's zoom in so that we get a closer view, and I want to get a nice gold color from this dress. Now with color, context is everything, so the color that you sample may end up looking a little bit different when you see it as just a flat color swatch.

I could try again because that's not quite what I'm after, so I'm going to come to the Selection tool go back to the Eyedropper tool, and that's closer. I'm now going to add that to my Swatches panel just by dragging it down to the bottom of the Swatches panel. That's going to allow me to use that color repeatedly and consistently. As I said, with color, context is everything, so don't be afraid of modifying the color slightly, and that's what I'm going to do next.

Since I have sampled the color from an RGB image, we have an RGB color, and that's okay. It'll print fine, but you maybe more accustomed with seeing your color values in CMYK. So I'm going to switch that, and then looking at the CMYK values, I think I will just up the yellow a little bit and maybe down the cyan a bit, so I'm using those values.

Now let's put that color into practice. I'm going to press A key, which will choose my Direct Selection tool, click on my masthead, and I can now apply that color to my masthead. So there is the first and perhaps most direct approach to creating a color palette, a custom color palette from your image. Of course, I could do that repeated times to get other colors. Another approach would be to use the Kuler extension. If I come to the Window menu > Extensions > Kuler, in the Create mode, this is going to allow me to create a Color Theme or a group of five colors that is suggested by your base color, and I want my base color to be the color that I just made.

I can come and click on this icon to make that my base color, and I now have a color theme derived from that. Currently using this color harmony rule, Analogous, I'm going to change this to Complementary, that's not quite what I'm after either, so I'm going to switch to Compound. Now let's say I like that, and I want to add this Color Theme to my color palette, I will just click on that and those colors are all added.

Again, if I wanted to change the RGB values to CMYK values, I could select all five of those, come to Swatch Options, choose Name with Color Value, and change the Color mode to CMYK. We can use Kuler in a different way. We can use the Kuler website, and if we come to the Create button, now rather than Create From a Color, which is what we were doing with the Kuler extension, I'm going to Create From an Image and then we can upload an image, and it will make a color palette based on that image.

Now I don't want to upload the full- resolution cover, because it would take too long, so I have made a low-resolution version of it, and it's that that I'm going to upload. Now it is cover_lowres. So there is the Color Theme the Kuler is suggesting based upon the Colorful mood. I can change the mood if I'd like for a different result, and I can also customize it.

Back to Colorful, and if I think that this is more or less what I want, but maybe I don't like this particular color. I can mouse over this color, and it shows me on the diagram which color target this is referring to, that one right there, and I can just move that around to update that particular color. And then we have a Custom Color Theme. Now in order to use this in a document, we will need to save it as an Adobe swatch exchange file and then load it in our InDesign document. You need to be logged into Kuler in order to do this, and for that, you will need a login and password. It's free to get one.

I highly recommend you do. I'm just going to call this cover, and I'm going to save it, there it is right there. I can now come and download this, and I'm going to save it in the Exercise Files folder. Now switch back to InDesign, and on my Swatches panel I can choose Load Swatches, and there are all the colors.

When you bring them in from Kuler, they come in as hexadecimal values, so as we did with the RGB values, you may wish to convert these to CMYK colors, which we can do with our Swatch Option, Name with Color Value, set the Color mode CMYK. A third more customized but more labor-intensive approach is to do this in Photoshop, and I'm working with a low-resolution version of this image. Very important that we don't work with the real cover image.

I'm then going to come to the Filter menu and choose Pixelate > Mosaic, and I want to use a Cell Size that is going to completely abstract this image. Let's go for that, and these are the essential colors for the image, and I'm now going to add some of these colors to my Swatches panel. To do that, I want to be in my Eyedropper tool, and I'm going to hold down my Option or Alt key as I move over an empty space on the Swatches panel, and then I can just click, and I can do that for as many times as colors I want.

So let's go with those five. I now want to use those swatches in InDesign, so I need to get them out of Photoshop in Adobe Swatch Exchange Format I'm going to come to the Edit menu and to my Presets and Preset Manager and to my Swatches, I'll select just those five, and then from this cog thing here, I'll choose Save Swatches for Exchange.

I'm going to call it mosaic1. I already have one called mosaic in there, so rather than overwrite that, and I can click Done and now return to InDesign, and on my Swatches panel there, Load Swatches. And I have those five swatches loaded once again. If I want to convert them to CMYK values, I can do that, like so.

Three different approaches, you can combine these if you want to, creating a color palette that is suggested by your cover image. The first is using the Eyedropper tool in InDesign, the second using Kuler, and the third, abstracting the image in Photoshop with the Mosaic filter.

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This video is part of

Image for Designing a Magazine Cover
Designing a Magazine Cover

36 video lessons · 16502 viewers

Nigel French
Author

 
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  1. 1m 57s
    1. Welcome
      36s
    2. Using the exercise files
      35s
    3. Looking at the history of magazine covers
      46s
  2. 8m 27s
    1. Understanding what makes a good magazine cover
      1m 47s
    2. Deciding between photography and illustration
      1m 6s
    3. Understanding the parts of a magazine cover
      5m 34s
  3. 21m 7s
    1. Choosing a cover image
      3m 0s
    2. Understanding the technical requirements
      4m 32s
    3. Cropping the cover image
      2m 0s
    4. Working with color and tonal adjustments
      3m 50s
    5. Retouching the cover image
      7m 45s
  4. 48m 8s
    1. Setting up the cover document
      3m 17s
    2. Placing and positioning the masthead
      4m 5s
    3. Positioning, scaling, and cropping the cover image
      3m 57s
    4. Combining the cover image and the masthead
      4m 28s
    5. Creating a color palette
      8m 47s
    6. Adding cover lines
      4m 28s
    7. Using paragraph styles with cover lines
      5m 32s
    8. Refining cover lines
      4m 54s
    9. Including additional elements
      8m 40s
  5. 15m 30s
    1. Creating a preflight profile
      3m 52s
    2. Making a print-ready PDF
      9m 24s
    3. Packaging and archiving the project
      2m 14s
  6. 34m 16s
    1. Setting up the Photoshop document
      6m 19s
    2. Placing and scaling the cover image in Photoshop
      3m 11s
    3. Combining the image and the masthead in Photoshop
      5m 49s
    4. Working with text in Photoshop
      9m 33s
    5. Creating a peeling sticker in Photoshop
      6m 16s
    6. Preparing for print in Photoshop
      3m 8s
  7. 35m 7s
    1. Setting up the Illustrator document
      4m 35s
    2. Placing, scaling, and cropping the cover image in Illustrator
      3m 30s
    3. Combining the cover image and the masthead in Illustrator
      3m 5s
    4. Adding more cover lines in Illustrator
      9m 41s
    5. Adding cover items in Illustrator
      9m 32s
    6. Preparing for print in Illustrator
      4m 44s
  8. 1m 11s
    1. Goodbye and next steps
      1m 11s

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