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Choosing colors

From: Photoshop for Designers: Color

Video: Choosing colors

This movie is a summary of the different ways to choose your colors in Photoshop, in no particular order, let's begin with the Swatches panel. If I have my Swatches panel open I can choose my foreground color by clicking on the color that I like, and to choose the background color, I hold down the Command or the Ctrl key and click. I can also Load pre-saved Swatches or I can work from any of these predefined color matching systems. I can also use the Color panel and on the Color panel I can mix my colors by adjusting these sliders, and we have sliders that correspond to Photoshop's different color models.

Choosing colors

This movie is a summary of the different ways to choose your colors in Photoshop, in no particular order, let's begin with the Swatches panel. If I have my Swatches panel open I can choose my foreground color by clicking on the color that I like, and to choose the background color, I hold down the Command or the Ctrl key and click. I can also Load pre-saved Swatches or I can work from any of these predefined color matching systems. I can also use the Color panel and on the Color panel I can mix my colors by adjusting these sliders, and we have sliders that correspond to Photoshop's different color models.

I am going to switch to RGB now, and they are mixing my colors and I am seeing a scale of 255, 0-255 for each of my three primary colors. These two swatches here represent the foreground and background colors, duplicating what we have down here at the bottom of Tool panel, foreground and background colors. I can also, if I wish, just move my eyedropper along the flattened color wheel that appears at the bottom of the color panel, and you can see as I am doing that the sliders are moving.

If I wanted to set my foreground or background colors to white or black, I can come to the end of this color bar and click on those two small squares for white or black. Because most of the time we are beginning with an image, the biggest source of inspiration in terms of choosing colors is going to be the image itself. We can sample colors from an image and we do not using the eyedropper tool, or if I am in one of my painting tools, I can hold down my Alt key to temporarily toggle to the eyedropper.

So when I do this and I click, what I see is my sampling ring, my sampling ring is divided into an inner circle and an outer circle. The inner circle at the top, we have the currently chosen foreground color, and the bottom half of that is what was my previous foreground color, outside of that is a ring of neutral gray, this just makes it easier to evaluate the color that you are choosing, when we see it against a outer circle of neutral gray.

Other options that relate to the eyedropper are the sample size. And the most appropriate sample size would depend upon how many Pixels there are in your image, the bigger the number, the larger the sample size, typically, I would like to work with either a 3 x 3 or 5 x 5 average. Since this is a relatively small image, I am going to go with a 3 x 3 average. We can change what layer we are sampling, since I have only one layer in this image, I am going to leave that on current layer and there is the option to see the sampling ring.

As well as being able to sample colors from your current image, you can also sample colors from any image you have open in Photoshop or indeed from anywhere on your desktop, anywhere in your desktop interface. What I am going to do now is now is switch to this image, let's say that I want to sample some colors from this, and I think I'm going to split my screen into two, into a 2 up horizontal view, or a 2 up vertical view rather. And then I will move over to the deck chair image, and let's say I want to sample some color from there and then that's going to become my foreground color.

So that now when I move back to my big sur image, it's that color sampled from the other image that I can now paint in. Switching my view back to a Consolidated view, so we see just the one image as well as the eyedropper, we also have the heads up display, which I warn you is quite a handful, but let's take a look at how we use this. Rather than having to break the fluidity of your work by going to the color picker itself, where we have color field allowing us to change the Saturation by moving horizontally, or the Brightness by moving vertically, and the Hue by using the vertical slider.

Rather than doing that we can stay in the image itself and hold down these keyboard shortcuts, Ctrl+Alt+Command+Click. And you'll see we have an interface just like the one that we have in the color picker. Now what we do here is we move around on the color field to choose the kind of shape that we are after, shaping the combined term for the Saturation and the Brightness. So I am going to go for about there. And now and this is where it gets tricky, I am going to let go of my keyboard modifier keys, and I am going to hold down the Spacebar, which is going to allow me to move over into the vertical Hue slider.

I am now going to reengage those Modifier keys, Ctrl+Option+Command, or if you are working on a PC, it's Shift+ Alt+Righ+Click and you can now move the Hue slider up and down. When you get to the color that you want, and I am going to go with something like that purple, release, and that becomes your foreground color. As well as working with the Hue strip, we can change our Preferences. It's in our General Preferences, for PC users your Preferences will the bottom of your Edit menu, in the General Preferences we can change the HUD Heads Up Display color picker, to a color wheel.

And when we do that, keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+Option+Command or Right-Click+Shift+Alt and then we can move around within the color field, we let go off the left-hand side of the keyboard, hold down the Spacebar, which is going to allow us to jump over into the outer color wheel, and then re-engage those three modifier keys, where we can move around the color wheel to get to the right hue that we want, let go and then that becomes our foreground color.

So different ways of choosing our foreground and background colors, which methods you use, depends largely upon your preference, but there's no reason why you can't mix-and-match all of these techniques.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop for Designers: Color
Photoshop for Designers: Color

75 video lessons · 17446 viewers

Nigel French
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 41s
    1. Welcome
      1m 0s
    2. Using the exercise files
      41s
  2. 25m 26s
    1. Defining color terms
      2m 38s
    2. Understanding the color wheel
      4m 3s
    3. Understanding color relationships
      1m 7s
    4. Using Kuler to understand color harmony rules and create color palettes
      4m 2s
    5. Using the Kuler web site
      3m 10s
    6. Colors on screen and on paper
      1m 42s
    7. Color as a signifier
      3m 14s
    8. Color inspirations
      2m 39s
    9. Color and accessibility
      2m 51s
  3. 38m 22s
    1. Demystifying the Color Picker
      2m 57s
    2. Understanding the role of foreground and background colors
      5m 39s
    3. Choosing colors
      6m 41s
    4. Managing swatches
      7m 40s
    5. Transparency
      9m 42s
    6. Color channels
      5m 43s
  4. 41m 4s
    1. Understanding additive and subtractive color
      2m 57s
    2. RGB mode
      1m 56s
    3. CMYK mode
      2m 41s
    4. Lab mode
      3m 49s
    5. Indexed mode
      2m 16s
    6. Grayscale mode
      5m 0s
    7. Color management
      14m 15s
    8. Color depth (8-, 16-, 24-, and 32-bit)
      4m 19s
    9. Monitor calibration
      3m 51s
  5. 26m 43s
    1. Evaluating color with the Histogram panel
      3m 18s
    2. Evaluating color with the Info panel
      1m 48s
    3. Boosting color with levels
      3m 48s
    4. Auto Tone and Auto Contrast
      7m 38s
    5. Manually setting the black and white point
      3m 50s
    6. Curves
      6m 21s
  6. 18m 30s
    1. What is color correction?
      5m 45s
    2. White balancing in Camera Raw
      1m 46s
    3. Color correction with color balance
      1m 34s
    4. Color balancing using photo filters
      1m 26s
    5. Color correction with variations
      4m 27s
    6. Color correction by the numbers
      3m 32s
  7. 33m 14s
    1. Selecting color with the Magic Wand
      4m 43s
    2. Selecting color with the Quick Selection tool
      2m 26s
    3. Selecting color with Color Range
      4m 0s
    4. Neutralizing whites with the Multiply blend mode
      2m 55s
    5. Neutralizing blacks with the Screen blend mode
      57s
    6. Masking colors with the Blend If sliders
      2m 54s
    7. Masking hair with a channel mask and removing contaminant colors
      2m 58s
    8. Shifting targeted colors using Hue/Saturation
      5m 4s
    9. Matching colors using Hue/Saturation
      3m 16s
    10. Matching colors using the Match Color command
      1m 36s
    11. Matching colors using the Color blend modes
      2m 25s
  8. 21m 8s
    1. Saturating colors
      4m 9s
    2. Desaturating colors
      1m 57s
    3. Desaturating in Camera Raw
      3m 1s
    4. Creating a color accent with selective saturation
      2m 38s
    5. Enhancing a sunrise with a gradient map
      5m 49s
    6. Increasing vibrance
      1m 19s
    7. Using selective color
      2m 15s
  9. 32m 42s
    1. Designing with spot colors
      12m 15s
    2. Adding a fifth color to a CMYK image
      5m 0s
    3. Adding spot colors to a grayscale image
      5m 24s
    4. Create a metallic print effect
      3m 8s
    5. Creating duotones, tritones, and quadtones
      6m 55s
  10. 30m 45s
    1. Creating a silkscreen print look with a limited color palette
      7m 59s
    2. Combining color with black and white
      2m 22s
    3. Creating a nostalgic travel poster using the Cut Out filter
      6m 27s
    4. Mapping an image to a color look up table (CLUT)
      7m 56s
    5. Converting to black and white
      6m 1s
  11. 48m 34s
    1. Creating a hand-tinted portrait (the easy way)
      3m 29s
    2. Creating a hand-tinted portrait (the harder way)
      11m 23s
    3. Creating an Andy Warhol look
      4m 44s
    4. Applying a gradient map
      4m 4s
    5. Sepia toning an image
      8m 41s
    6. Color tinting an image
      5m 15s
    7. Split toning an image
      2m 9s
    8. Working with line art
      8m 49s
  12. 23s
    1. Goodbye
      23s

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