Kuler App for iOS and Creative Cloud

I am still exploring the Adobe Creative Cloud, trying to find all of the ways it can improve my workflow. There is a Kuler app for iPhone that has already proven itself to be a fantastic new tool. Using your iPhone’s camera, the Kuler app will sample colors of whatever it sees and build a Kuler swatch bar. Here are a couple of grabs from the Adobe website.

While the camera image is on the screen, it will randomly sample colors. You can also drag the little “dots” to specific colors you see, and it will sample those. Then Kuler has several editing pages that will allow you to modify and tweak the colors until you have exactly what you want. To give the process a try, I went exploring in my front yard. I grabbed a swatch from a Crown of Thorns flower and also the leaves on a Hong Kong Orchid tree. These are the resulting swatches, I did not edit the colors in anyway, these were random Kuler samples.

You can then transfer the swatches to the web, where you can access them directly in Photoshop. Each color in the swatch can be sampled or transferred right into your swatches palette. Using only these colors, I quickly sketched two bushes. The one on the left is from the Hong Kong Orchid palette, and the one on the right is from the Crown of Thorns palette.

I see a lot of potential for this app. I am constantly looking for art and design ideas, especially colors, and this is going to work fantastically.

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Adobe Kuler Within Photoshop

I recently joined the Adobe Creative Cloud. After watching all of Adobe’s videos on the concept, I thought I would give it a try. The monthly plan is definitely more comfortable than thousands of dollars for an upgrade. Plus I like the idea of always having the most up date versions of the software. The only issue I have had so far has been a couple of crashes in Photoshop. I have been using Photoshop for many years, and it has always been my most reliable tool, so that has really surprised me.

For me, one of the most exciting features is the inclusion of Kuler as part of Photoshop. I have been using the Kuler website for years, and it has become a trusted friend. Having access to it withing Photoshop is incredibly powerful as well as convenient.

To access it, use the menu at the top. Go to Window | Extensions | Kuler. It will pop up as it’s own panel. I actually dragged it to the panel group where my Color Swatches are and docked it. That way it is always readily available. The operation is identical to the Kuler website. It even has a live link to the site to provide easy access to the online libraries of swatches. It is a great tool made even more convenient, a very welcome part of the upgrade.

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Photoshop Files in a Hurry

One of the features in Photoshop in which I really take advantage, is the use of layers, lots of layers. Anything that might need to be edited is placed on it’s own layer. Thus the file size can get to be quite large, my files can range from 600mb to over 1gb. These large files can take quite a while to open, and if the only reason for opening the file is something simple like running a print, opening the layered file is not necessary.

Here is a short but very handy tip. Click FILE then click OPEN as usual. Find the file in the dialog box and highlight it with the cursor. Then holding down the Alt and Shift keys simultaneously, click on the OPEN button. A dialog box will pop up asking “Read the composite data instead?” Click YES and the file will open with all layers flattened. The time required to open the file is shortened dramatically. The layering is still intact on the original file, you are not altering it in any way. But a word of caution, do not save this version over the original or you will lose all your layering.

I use this option quite often and it saves a tremendous amount of time. Think of it next time you need to quickly send a small proof to your client!

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Adobe and Creative Suite 4

So Adobe has released it’s latest upgrade; Creative Suite 4 is available. As a Master Collection owner, I am looking at a hefty business cost, and I have been researching the benefits. Reading through the “new features” section under each program, there are some good improvements. But not finding the specifics, I have been checking out some of the videos on Adobe TV.

With my heavy workload, I do not have tons of time to spend on the web, so maybe everyone has seen this but me, but Adobe TV is a great resource. There are good tutorials and informational videos on all of their software, and setting up the Adobe Media Player gives free access to many videos including television programming and movies.

But I digress. The Adobe software I use most often is Photoshop, and to be honest, the new features will not help my daily workflow. I will, however continue to research, and look for that one reason to plunk down my hard earned cash. I will let you know.

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