Adobe Researches Digital Colour Mixing.

Researchers at software brand Adobe have developed a prototype tool that allows users to mix colours on screen as if they were working in real paint.

Playful Palette offers artists and illustrators an alternative to the standard colour picker that most graphics software, such as Adobe Photoshop, relies on. Users would be able to blend colours more easily and compare different shades.

The tool is based on research into the ways artists work in traditional media – and the shortcomings they experience with digital counterparts.

The Adobe Research team set out to create a user interface that could replicate the variations of a physical palette, with the ability to mix colours and compare combinations of shades.

“Choosing and composing colours is a critical part of any painting process,” the Adobe Research team of Maria Shugrina, Jingwan Lu and Stephen Diverdi wrote in a paper on the subject.

“We conducted a pilot study that found artists interact with their palette several times a minute, and many of the interactions, such as exploring harmonising colours, are not well supported by digital colour pickers.”

Playful Palette is designed in contrast to the usual sliders or swatches that many apps rely on. Instead, it allows dabs of colour to be added, moved, blended with other colours or completely deleted. Blobs are moved by touching and dragging, to recall the tangibility of real paint and paper.

A ring surrounds the palette and records a history of shades used – allowing the user to easily return to them. Entire colours can also be selected and swapped out for new ones, allowing the details of an image to be updated all at once. Playful Palette can also record an infinite number of “dishes”.

Dezeen has the full story.  One of the commenters linked a petition to Adobe to place a reasonable price on their products for students. I’d say how about a reasonable price for everyone? There’s a reason I still run pshop 6. The amount of money adobe wants for pshop is piracy, especially when you consider how many people buy at least one or more programs from them. I would love a current edition of pshop, but there are a lot of people who are not walking around with a spare $400 to $800 bucks in their pocket. It’s not like Adobe really cuts the price all that much for upgrades, either. I think they have enough money that they could easily pull the price into a much more reasonable range for all people. That said, playful palette sounds great!


  1. says

    It would be a really welcome change, because colour pickers seriously suck, and those of us who play with actual paints get very frustrated with the limitations in digital paint programs.

  2. lpetrich says

    Looks very interesting. I hope that they release it some day.

    As to Photoshop’s price, that is a reason why the last Photoshop version that I ever used was the last version for MacOS Classic, or at least close to last. That version could not work in OSX’s later Classic support, and I did not want to buy a new version, so I had to look elsewhere.

    I nowadays use Pixelmator, an OSX-only image editor that does much of what Photoshop does, and I sometimes use the Gimp, a cross-platform and open-source image editor that also does what Photoshop does. One thing I liked about Photoshop was its abilities to do editable effects layers. With such a layer, an effect is not baked in, but can be edited. Pixelmator has a very limited version of that, and Gimp seems to have none. I have no idea about whether the developers of either will ever add full-scale effects layers. That’s a future-version wish-list feature for Gimp, but so far, it has only been a wish-list feature.

  3. says

    I toss 12€ a month in the general direction of Adobe and for that I get to use Photoshop Creative Cloud, which suffices me. I perhaps am not using it as much as I should for the monay it costs me, but I console myself by saying that I am paying back for all those years I used Photoshop by obtaining it by, ahem, different means. Yes, affordable price for students would be great. When I had the time, I did not have the means. Now I have the means, but lack the time.

    Like with all.

  4. says

    Have you considered Photoshop’s “little brother”, Photoshop Elements? The Elements version does not have the full range of tools of its ‘greater’ sibling… and it also costs about $70, as compared to the however-many-hundred-dollar price for the full enchilada. For anyone whose needs don’t extend beyond what Elements can do, it would seem to be a no-brainer.

  5. says

    Cubist, yeah, I’ve looked at it. Not what I want. I have pshop 6, and pshop image ready. I use them both, but there are things in later versions I’d really like to have, like batch editing. But, that’s not enough for me to drop the kind of money they want, and I do think this is a larger issue. Adobe is not some little start-up, and there is no reason for them to have not dropped their prices at this point in time. I’m not comfortable buying anything of theirs until they do.

  6. David Brindley says

    Hi Caine, take a look at On1 Photo RAW, its great, plugs into Adobe or runs standalone, get a 30 day free trial the paid version is only $120 with a heap of free training, videos, presets and new free stuff each month.

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