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If you have never been to Adobe's Kuler website, you really need to go. It's an amazing way to find and create groups of Color Swatches that work well with each other. So in InDesign CS4, Adobe has built some of these Kuler technology right into InDesign. Though it may or may not be useful to you depending on what kind of documents you are creating. Let me show you what I mean. I am going to switch back to InDesign and I am going to open the Kuler panel inside InDesign. It's a panel so it has to live under the Window menu, right? But where? Now Adobe hid it inside this submenu called Extensions. It's little unclear why, but it's in the Extension submenu. There it is, just choose Kuler.
Now the Kuler panel is interesting because it actually has a live link to the website. Maybe that's why they call it Extensions, but it extends out to the website and it goes and grabs the highest rated swatches from the web or the most recent color swatches from the web and it pulls all of that into the panel. For example, here is that same swatch we were just looking at over on the website. If I click on this little button on the right, it gives me various options like I can edit this or I can view it online or I can even add it to InDesign Swatches panel. Let's try that. I will click on that. It downloads the swatch, it puts it in the Swatches panel. Let's open the Swatches panel and we can see down at the bottom, there they are, all five of those colors.
So the Kuler panel is nice because it's a nice fast way to get those color swatches off the website into InDesign, but it's even cooler, if you will forgive the pun, because I can click on the Create button and create color swatches myself. For example, what if I wanted to get some nice complementary colors to offset this color of this candy over here. Well let's see how we do it. I am going to choose the Eyedropper tool in the Tool panel and I am going to come over and click on that background color in the background of that candy image and that will load that color in as my current Fill Color. You can see it down at the bottom of the Tool panel or up here at the top of the Swatches panel. That's the current color.
Now I will jump over to the Kuler panel and I am going to click on this little button here which will add that current Fill Color as the Base Color. The Base Color is the one that's highlighted in the middle here. As I scroll over these colors on the side you can see which one they are in the color spectrum on the top. Right now the Kuler rule is set to Analogous but I could change this to something else. For example, Monochromatic. Now I get different shades of that same color or I might choose Triad or Complementary or Compound. I am not going to lie to you and tell you that I know what these things are. I don't always know exactly what they are doing but I often find that Complementary gives me some nice complementary colors to work with or Triad that's another good choice, but in this case the Base Color is the one that I pulled out of the image and then it created some other complementary colors to work with that base color.
So I am going to go with this right now, I will take that color swatch that it's recommending and I am going to add it to my Swatches panel. To do that I want to click on the Add Theme to Swatches button at the bottom of the Kuler panel. There we go. All five swatches were added. Now I will use my Selection tool, select that background frame and choose one of those colors. Maybe this dark green color. That looks pretty good. Now I want to point out something important about the Kuler panel. In fact, this maybe the most important thing I tell you about the Kuler panel and that is currently I can only create RGB colors. When I am in Create mode it will only create RGB colors.
So you will see that when I added those swatches to the Swatches panel, they all came in as RGB colors and that could be a real problem. You typically do not want to create RGB swatches when you are creating documents for print. That's not a good idea. It will separate to CMYK but you may not get the results that you want. So buyer beware. Generally, you want to use a Swatch Book to pick your colors and you want to pick them in CMYK Mode. On other hand, this particular document is destined for an on-screen interactive PDF or an interactive Flash SWF file.
So RGB is just fine for that. Now those first five swatches that I brought in from Kuler were in CMYK, weren't they? What's that about? Well the Kuler website itself does support some CMYK and in fact you can create color swatches in Adobe Illustrator and use Illustrator's Kuler panel to upload them to the website. Those will be in CMYK and then when I download them in InDesign they will come in as CMYK. But once again I can get CMYK if I am using Browse but I cannot get CMYK when I use Create.
Now I am hoping that Adobe will update the Kuler panel here inside InDesign to work with CMYK perhaps even by the time you are watching this movie, but even if it's just RGB, it's a good jumping off point for exploring colors, especially when you are making interactive SWF or PDF files.
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