Hello and thank you for joining me again for another Photoshop tutorial.
Today: the Wonders of Kuler
Now before the grammar police show up I am aware that ‘Kuler’ is not how color is spelled. Kuler is an online repository of color and is an awesome addition to Photoshop. At its basic function Kuler is a way to understand color theory and utilize it quickly in Photoshop. As always we will start off with where to find it, Kuler is located under Window>Extensions>Kuler.
When you open Kuler for the first time it will most likely display a section of color palates made by other people. This is Kuler’s share function, being able to share your chosen color palate with the world. Kuler operates on a 5 color palate as you can see in the image on the left. Each one of those palates was created and uploaded by someone around the world. You can search palates with the search bar or browse them using other settings such as: highest rated, newest, and set time periods like: all time or past 7 days. Double clicking a chosen theme or palate will bring to you the create tab.
The Create tab allows you to choose each of the 5 colors of your custom palate or someone else’s. The drop down menu labeled Select Rule: allows you to change between different color theory rules. They are:
- Analogous: A 5 point spread of one hue or a neighboring hue on the color wheel.
- Monochromatic: 5 points of color of one single hue.
- Triad: A division of the color wheel into thirds of color. Tones from the three points are what make up this palate.
- Complementary: Colors of opposing sides of the color wheel.
- Compound: Which is more of a combination of Triad and Complementary
- Shades: Meaning 5 different shades of the same hue based on one main color, not to be confused with monochromatic.
- Custom: Meaning whatever you find to be pleasing to your eye and fully movable. This is best used for specific color schemes.
As you can see in the create tab there are many sliders and values as well as the color wheel itself. Let’s first touch on the far right, the shade bar. This bar, the one with what looks like a small Sun over it, controls the amount of black added to a color to control its shade; this can be used to darken colors.
Next the Color Wheel itself, as you can see on the left the closer to the center of the wheel the brighter or more white the colors become. The control arms will move around the color wheel depending on your base color which is the one with the white ring around it. The control arms will stay fixed in their positions if you have a color rule in place. Each of the dots represents another color in the palate and is displayed in one of the four other boxes below the wheel. These can be moved along the control arm to give a more or less saturated variance on the color. Likewise if you move your base color closer to the center or to the outer edge the other colors will follow to create a richer color palate or a more muted one.
The bottom half of the create tab shows all the technical side of color. The Red, Green, and Blue value are displayed for your base color, as is the Hex value. Here you also have the option to change which color your rule is based on by setting one of the other color squares to your base color. To change which box your base color is, click on one of the other color squares and the button that looks like a bulls-eye will light up. If you press this button that color will now be the base color and will affect the rest of the colors based on the rule you have chosen. Likewise if you select one of the other boxes you have the option to eliminate a color thus making your palate contain only 3 or 4 colors by using the + and – color buttons on the right. At the bottom you have the option to save your color palate or ‘Theme’. You may also choose to add your current colors to the color palate so you can access them quicker. You may also choose to upload them to Kuler so that others may be inspired by your masterful color choosing.
Don’t have Photoshop but still want to explore Kuler? You can do just that, Adobe has an online version of Kuler as well, located here. All the same rules and principles apply to the online version and you can use the color themes in any program once you have their Hex Value.
Thank you again for joining me on this quick little tutorial on a nifty little add-on to Photoshop and thank you to Adobe for being created.
All Licences for the Kuler Logo belong solely to Adobe Software.