Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Digital Color Aiding Free Widgets

For those of us that are Mac users the OSX dashboard can be a real time saver. An earlier post titled, Digital Photoshop Color Aids, focused on useful color extensions available for Adobe Photoshop. The information presented here features widgets that can also be very helpful in choosing and using color. And they are available without having to boot up an application. Some are standalone widgets while others connect to websites with information, trends and user color communities with worldwide-contributed color schemes.

Stand Alone Widgets

Color Theory aka. ColorJack

Color Theory is an online Color Scheme Generator used by illustrators, designers, and interior decorators. It’s an interactive color theory visualizer in the shape of a sphere. It also includes achromatic simulation. The sphere uses basic color theory in order to automatically provide you with visually appealing colors. . The extremely versatile color sphere operates in several modes including the standard ones like analogous, complementary, etc. and four, five and six color configurations. The color sphere can be set up for different human vision conditions such as protanopy (night blindness, tritanopy (color blindness), and several others.

Chroma Color Converter

Chroma is an OS X Dashboard utility for converting colors between HSV, RGB, and HEX formats, including 256 integer, percentage, and floating point variations. Added colors can be saved to the swatch library, which can then be exported or imported via the system clipboard. Colors are displayed using RGB, HSV, and HEX values.

RGB Converter

The RGB Converter is a simple dashboard widget to convert between RGB color values and HEX equivalents. For creative professionals, RGB Converter can manage individual components values or a comma-separated string of values to display a color by it’s RGB or HEX code. The wheel instantly updates the color of each component and the resultant color. Since it runs as an Apple Dashboard widget, it's quick and always at your fingertips.


ColourMod is an extremely flexible color picker that allows for users to select any color that they want. Its appearance and function is very similar to the standard square field color pickers used in Adobe software, but it is a standalone widget. Fine adjustments can be made via text field inputs or by simply dragging the color sliders. ColourMod outputs and inputs Hex, RGB, CMYK, and HSV values and converts between the four.


Targeted at developers, this dashboard widget uses HSL sliders and plain text fields to tweak colors. Clicking on a color field displays the HEX, RGB, or HSL number, which can be copied to the clipboard with a single click. HEX values can be displayed in full or abbreviated notation.


Piker is perhaps the simplest and most compact widget that displays web-safe colors. The color preview field updates instantly when you place the selection arrow over one of the mini color fields. Clicking on a color field displays the hex number, which can be copied to the clipboard.


ColorSafe is a dashboard widget that offers you a web-safe color picker. The display is all inclusive for the 216 color web-safe palette. ColorSafe was designed specifically for web artists, designers and developers that restrict there color choices to  web-safe colors. The safe icon displays the color that the selection arrow hovers over. The HEX value is also displayed.

Community Based Widgets


Kuler is available as a dashboard widget from Adobe. Photoshop and Illustrator users should be familiar with Kuler, which is an extension in those programs. It’s a well-designed, very useful Web-based color picking app. The widget can access color schemes from the Kuler.com site to display. It’s possible to filter search the most downloaded, highest rated, and latest color schemes contributed by other users in the Kuler community. Kuler allows the user to search the tags to search for existing color palettes, each scheme in the widget provides a direct link to that scheme in Kuler, making it very easy to modify the scheme, which can be saved online at Kuler for future reference and sharing. One very nice advantage is the ability to create a color scheme in the widget, save it, and then access it through the Kuler extension in Photoshop, Illustrator, and other Adobe programs.

Kuler webpage. http://kuler.adobe.com

Color Schemer Galleria

ColorSchemer Galleria is a free dashboard widget that allows you to browse all of the schemes in the ColorSchemer Gallery. Like Kuler, the widget connects to the ColorSchemer community of color scheme contributors to the colorschemer.com website. Users can browse, search, and download from over a million color palettes right from the linked website. The Galleria widget displays each color scheme on an isolated black background, allowing viewers to get an optimal view of the colors.

Color Schemer Galleria webpage. http://www.colorschemer.com


The COLOURlovers website is a resource that monitors and publishes color trends in use internationally. The dashboard widget displays color palettes and connects to the website. You can create a profile, add favorite palettes and colors, and add comments to posted colors. COLOURlovers gives users a place to compare color palettes, submit news, and read color related articles and interviews The information can be used in illustrations and designs for editorial publications, ad campaigns, product design, or in architectural specification. Once registering as a “colour lover” and you can submit colors and create color palettes. Searching for colors and palettes can be based on color names, numbers, and Pantone numbers.

COLOURlovers webpage. http://www.colourlovers.com