Creating Color Swatches from a Photo

The Kuler Way

  1. Login to with your Adobe ID.
  2. Click on Create and then choose From an Image.
  3. Click on Upload a New Image.
  4. Move sample points as desired.
  5. Save your newly created swatches and go to MyKuler to view the new swatch.
  6. Click the Download button (it's pretty small but it has pop-up text: Download this theme as an Adobe Swatch Exchange File). Now you can load that swatch file (.ase) into Photoshop, InDesign or Illustrator. 

The Old School Way

  1. Open your image in Photoshop.
  2. Filter > Pixelate > Mosaic.
  3. Choose a very large cell size. Good places to start for low res images: cell size of 40. High res images: cell size of 120.
  4. Use your eyedropper tool to sample colors and add them to your swatches.
  5. If you want to load these colors in other programs, on the Swatches drop down menu choose Save Swatches for Exchange. This will create an .ase file that you can then load into Illustrator or InDesign.

Compare and Contrast
Really, there is no comparison. Kuler is awesome for color creation, color mixing and flexibility. Best of all, there is a whole gallery of user-created color swatches available for free download. It's a little annoying to have to login but otherwise the speed, ease of use and integration with Adobe products make it a winner. By the way, Kuler is pronounced color—it took someone correcting me to figure this one out.

Working with the Pixelate > Mosaic filter in Photoshop is quick and easy if you're already working in Photoshop. It's good for choosing a background color or supporting element color on the fly. One of the limitations: if you make the cell size too big or the image is very busy, the colors blend into one another making the resulting mosaic a little dull.

P.S. The photo used is one of mine from Point Lobos Reserve in California.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Raghu, on behalf of the kuler team, thanks for the post! Glad you are liking the new color extraction feature, please keep us posted on how you end up using it. Loved your sample image since Point Lobos is one of my favorite places too.