Using the Color Picker

When you click the foreground or background color icon in the toolbox or the Color palette, Photoshop displays the Color Picker dialog box. (This assumes that Adobe is the active option in the Color Picker pop-up menu in the General Preferences dialog box. If you select the Windows option, the generic Windows Color Picker appears; see Chapter 2 on why you shouldn't select this option.) Figure 4-2 labels the wealth of elements and options in the Color Picker dialog box, which work as follows:

♦ Color slider: Use the color slider to home in on the color you want to select. Drag up or down on either of the slider triangles to select a color from a particular 8-bit range. The colors represented inside the slider correspond to the selected radio button. For example, if you select the H (Hue) radio button, which is the default setting, the slider colors represent the full 8-bit range of hues. If you select S (Saturation), the slider shows the current hue at full saturation at the top of the slider, down to no saturation — or gray — at the bottom of the slider. If you select B (Brightness), the slider shows the 8-bit range of brightness values, from solid color at the top of the slider to absolute black at the bottom. You also can select R (Red), G (Green), or B (Blue), in which case the top of the slider shows you what the current color looks like when subjected to full-intensity red, green, or blue (respectively), and the bottom of the slider shows every bit of red, green, or blue subtracted.

For a proper introduction to the HSB and RGB color models, including definitions of specific terms such as hue, saturation, and brightness, read the "Working in Different Color Modes" section later in this chapter.

Color selection marker Previous color

Color field

Current color Alert triangle

Color selection marker Previous color

Color field

Current color Alert triangle

Closest CMYK

Slider triangles

Closest CMYK

Slider triangles

Hexadecimal value Closest Web-safe

Web-safe alert cube

Figure 4-2: Use the elements and options in the Color Picker dialog box to specify a new foreground or background color from the 16-million-color range.

♦ Color field: The color field shows a 16-bit range of variations on the current slider color. Click inside it to move the color selection marker and, thereby, select a new color. The field graphs colors against the two remaining attributes not represented by the color slider. For example, if you select the H (Hue) radio button, the field graphs colors according to brightness vertically and saturation horizontally, as demonstrated in the first example of Figure 4-3. The other examples show what happens to the color field when you select the S (Saturation) and B (Brightness) radio buttons.

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Figure 4-3: The color field graphs colors against the two attributes not represented in the slider. Here you can see how color is laid out when you select (top to bottom) the H (Hue), S (Saturation), and B (Brightness) radio buttons.

Likewise, Figure 4-4 shows how the field graphs colors when you select the R (Red), G (Green), and B (Blue) radio buttons. Obviously, it would help to see these images in color, but you probably couldn't afford this big, fat book if we'd printed it in full color. So I recommend you experiment with the Color Picker inside your version of Photoshop or refer to Color Plate 4-1 to see how the dialog box looks when the H (Hue), S (Saturation), and B (Brightness) options are selected.

Note Slider and field always work together to represent the entire 16 million color range. The slider displays 256 colors, and the field displays 65,000 variations on the slider color; 256 times 65,000 is 16 million. No matter which radio but ton you select, you have access to the same colors; only your means of accessing them changes.

♦ Current color: The color currently selected from the color field appears in the top rectangle immediately to the right of the color slider. Click the OK button or press Enter to make this the current foreground or background color (depending on which color control icon in the Toolbox you originally clicked to display the Color Picker dialog box).

♦ Previous color: The bottom rectangle to the right of the color slider shows how the foreground or background color — whichever one you are in the process of editing — looked before you displayed the Color Picker dialog box. Click the Cancel button or press Escape to leave this color intact.

♦ Alert triangle: The alert triangle appears when you select a bright color that Photoshop can't print using standard process colors. The box below the triangle shows the closest CMYK equivalent, invariably a duller version of the color. Click either the triangle or the box to bring the color into the printable range.

♦ Web-safe alert cube: Added in Version 5.5, the little cube appears if you select a color that's not included in the so-called Web-safe palette, a 216-color spectrum that's supposedly ideal for creating Web graphics. You can get my take on this palette in Chapter 19; for now, just know that if you click either the cube or the swatch below, Photoshop selects the closest Web-safe equivalent to the color you originally selected.

Understanding Adobe Photoshop Features You Will Use

Understanding Adobe Photoshop Features You Will Use

Adobe Photoshop can be a complex tool only because you can do so much with it, however for in this video series, we're going to keep it as simple as possible. In fact, in this video you'll see an overview of the few tools and Adobe Photoshop features we will use. When you see this video, you'll see how you can do so much with so few features, but you'll learn how to use them in depth in the future videos.

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