Some people are tone deaf, others just fail trying to mix, match, contrast, or create color combinations. This might pose a problem for people in everyday life and occasionally, for designers who have hit a wall trying to come up with a good theme. One really easy way to come up with a great color theme is to look at your surroundings for inspiration; anything from a soothing landscape to the floral arrangement on your desk can be instrumental in finding a nice combination of colors to use in your project, and Adobe’s new iOS app Adobe Kuler is is a helpful tool that lets you do just that. The app, which is available for free in the App Store, lets you take pictures and detects the different colors in them to give you a theme. You can either snap an image and extract color themes from it, use an image from your camera roll to do the same, point your camera at anything in the room and have the app pick colors from the input, live, or use the built-in color wheel to create themes from scratch. Adobe Kuler also has a web app that gives you a color wheel for creating themes but doesn’t allow you to pick them from an image.
There are four different ways to create a theme: using the color wheel, using an image from your camera roll, Google Image search or Flickr, snapping a picture. or using the augmented reality feature. To use the color wheel, tap the little icon at the bottom of the screen (next to the camera button). Drag the five points outward and move them around on the wheel to change color points on it. The color that each point corresponds to is shown in the palette above. Each theme has to have exactly five colors. You can use the outer rim on the wheel to adjust the shade of the colors. Adobe Kuler gives you several color rules that you can choose from; tap the icon at the bottom right and select one of the options that correspond to the kind of theme you want. Finally, tap the check mark to save the theme.
To pick colors from an image, tap the camera icon that you see on the app’s home screen. When the camera opens, you can snap an image, or tap the picture icon to use an image from your camera roll, Google, or Flickr. When you snap or load an image, the app intelligently picks out different colors from the photo. The dots that correspond a color can be moved around here as well.
Alternatively, you can use the slider at the bottom of the camera screen and switch to the augmented reality mode (represented by the eye icon) and point your camera at anything. The app will not only detect the colors that it sees, but will find and display several different themes from the same input. When picking a theme from an image, you can also set the ‘color tone’ for the theme you would like, by tapping the flower button at the bottom right and selecting a color tone from the menu that opens. Available color ones include Colorful, Bright, Muted, Deep, Dark and Custom.
Tap the check mark whenever you’re done making a theme, and it will appear on the app’s home screen. To get RGB values and HEX codes for the colors in your theme, tap the settings button that appears next to a selected theme. Themes can be shared or deleted. If you have an Adobe account, you can sign in to it in order to sync the themes to your account.
The Kuler web interface is simply a color wheel with different color rules for creating a theme. If you sign in to your Adobe account, you will be able to sync the ones you create on the web with your account as well. Themes can be named for convenience.
At present, Adobe Kuler is not available for Android, but you can make do with apps like LifeDropper and Color Catch Free instead.
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