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Adobe’s New Color Picker is Made Just for Artists

Digital palettes always sound promising in theory. However, three Adobe researchers — Masha Shugrina, Jingwan Lu and Stephen DiVerdi — aren’t impressed by previous efforts. Instead, they made their own version, which imitates a watercolor palette.

The product would replace Adobe’s traditional color picker. Called Playful Palette, it simulates the results possible with a real paint palette and provides beneficial digital effects. These include the ability to save infinite palettes for future use. Artists can also go back in time to edit a previous color choice.

Perks of Digital

“As the artist paints, we see not only the history of colors used but also the palette-mixing dishes used to create each color,” says Shugrina.

She continues, “As the artist creates new mixing dishes or edits existing ones, the history is updated automatically. We index each mixing dish by the colors used to create it. The artist jumps to the relevant dish via the history wheel or by clicking colors directly on the painting.”

While practical, the new color picker is also beautiful. The artist places “color blobs” on the palette. As they puddle together, the artists blend or push them into varying values of the hue.

These techniques make it easy to
 create reflections and shadows.
 But they’re also an indication of the real research that went into the product. The group spent time with working artists in a pilot study, both before and after creating Playful Palette, and their attention and 
dedication to the project shows.