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ColorSchemer

Helping you pick color By Michael Smith
Color Schemer is a application for both Windows and Max OSX, which according to the website is:

"ColorSchemer Studio
is a professional color matching application for anyone from hobbyists to advanced professionals. Work with a dynamic visual color wheel, instantly explore harmony relationships and even let ColorSchemer Studio intelligently suggest color schemes for you!"

The main focus of this review will be on the OSX version, which work for the most features, but I will cover the windows version as well, towards the end.  "ColorSchemer Studio is a professional color matching application for anyone from hobbyists to advanced professionals.   It doesn't matter whether users are Mac or Windows-oriented.  According to the website, it is ready for OSX Leopard, and the Galleria Widget will also work on Leopard as well. 

Upon launching Color Schemer, you're presented with a nicely laid out interface.







At the top of the window, there are six button icons, Randomize, Screen Picker, PhotoSchemer, Color Mixer, Analyzer and Quick View.



Randomize, does exactly what it says it gives you a random color.  No big mystery there.

Screen picker, again is another tool which does what the name says, using a eye-dropper, you can pick up colour that's on your screen.

PhotoSchemer, allows you to import a picture, and it will then find up to 9 color from the image, plus inside PhotoSchemer you can click randomise, where it will as it says randomise the points where it gets the colours from.

When I first looked at the ColorMixer, it wsn't obvious to me, what this tool was for, so I went to the website, and it says:

"Use the built-in Color Mixer to create a single mixed color or a gradient path between two colors."

This could be useful, but I'm not sure if I would use it.  Or where it might produce time saving results necessarily.  You can see by the image below, there were several colors produced in the middle of the gradient ramp which appear to be so close in RGB value, that it doesn't really make sense to have so many options.  Obviously, using two different hues will produce results not easily achieved with a simple luma or saturation slider.  We hope to see some changes in this color mixer panel in future versions.



Analyzer, is a tool which allows you to see which of your favourite colors would be best suited to use as a text color.  Again this is a great function for those who didn't attend a color theory class (or didn't pay attention during that class).  This could be useful, if I was wanting to try different color schemes, quickly, but not to make to spend to much time doing it, with this, it can be done quickly, with the ability to reverse the colours selected.



My only issue with this, is that I can't see any way to add/remove colors.

The QuickPreview, is a very useful tool where you quickly preview the color scheme you've chosen on a website will look like, and if want to try different color, you can just swap colors.



And that's just all the features that you get across the top of the application...

Down the left side there is a box showing the color you've selected, which you can click on, and refine your selection.



Below that, is a box where you can manually enter RGB value if you want to go about it that way.

Below that is S and B, which I guess is short for Saturation and Brightness.

Below that, is the Hex value box, which if you know the hex value you want, you can enter, but it also tell you the hex value of the color you've selected.

The middle section has the color wheel, and 3 tabs, Color Wheel, Harmonies and Suggested Colors.



The first tabs is quite obvious, so I won't say any more about that.

Selecting the Harmonies tab, allows you to choose from 6 color harmony styles:



Compliments
Split-Compliments
Triads
Tetrads
Analogous
Monochromatic

These give you a nice range of choices.

Clicking the Suggested Colors, bring a box in the middle section to the Quick Preview Window, it also has a drop down menu, with suggested Color styles:

Complementary-based
Analogous-based
Monochromatic [light]
Monochromatic [dark]
Monochromatic [muted]
Vibrant
Muted
Complex
Minimalistic
Gray

There are plenty of options here.



Across the bottom, there are several more options that you can choose from.



A word on the Windows version.

For the most part they are similiar, but there are a few differences, but nothing major.  There is no reason to switch operating systems just to run this utility software.



Overall, In its current state, I could see this being useful to some one who is looking for ideas as to what colors would work well together, but for my use and others who may be familiar with the color wheel and color theory without using a reference chart, you can give this a pass - - but if you're new to color theory, and you're designing your first website, please take a look at this when designing your color scheme.  This will help you avoid all of those grotesque color combinations which plague first-time websites.

You can take a closer look at the software by checking out Color Schemer's website here:  There's a 15-day trial that you can download.   The list price for the software is about $50US, which is a little too pricey.  If you're an educator or student, you should inquire about the educational discount.

http://www.colorschemer.com/





For rants, ramblings and general announcements - check out a chaotic blog in the BlogZone:
http://blogs.digitalmediaonlineinc.com/ninjacrayon/

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Michael Smith is a student at the University of Derby / Devonshire Road. Currently living in Buxton Derbyshire, England, Michael works on several aspects of digital video projects using a Mac. In addition to Apple's hardware and software, Michael relies on a Canon MVX250i camcorder, a Behringer mixing board and a variety of microphones. Michael is also a featured writer and part of the NinjaCrayon community.
Related Keywords:product review, colorschemer, mac color picker, windows color picker, color theory

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