Kuler Intro

Art 260 / Greg Clayton


Adobe makes many of the standard professional graphic applications — Illustrator, Photoshop, Flash, InDesign, Acrobat, Dreamweaver...etc.
They've also worked hard to make color work. Their color workflow is well-developed. And their color-harmony tools are becoming really impressive. As of CS5, Illustrator and Photoshop have color-harmony development tools built in. But there is also Kuler (pronounced "cooler"). Kuler is Adobe's online color treasure trove.


We are accustomed to structured hue schemes — monochromatic, analogous, complementary, etc. schemes.

Kuler allow artists and designer to create, save, share, search and download color palettes.
The standard hue schemes are already built in.
You can control, not only hue, but also value and chroma.
You can "rotate" the scheme — effectively maintaining the hue structure, but sweeping through any set of hues you choose.
You can raise or lower the overall chroma of the entire scheme (drag the "base" color on the Cwheel).
You can raise or lower the overall value of the entire scheme (drag the "base" color on the Cwheel).
You can download swatches directly into Illustrator and Photoshop. (and Dreamweaver and InDesign?)
You can manipulate your colors (color specs) via any of 5 color models (see below each color swatch)
(click your preferred color model so that all controls are based on that model.)


The color schemes only allow 5 colors. (you may want to create 2 or 3 related schemes, then download swatches from each in order to create a full set. See "Elaborating a Scheme" notes, below.)
The preset hue schemes are firmly structured...you may want to use the more free "Custom" scheme to get a bit more control (e.g. a 3-hue analogous scheme.)

Kuler is more of a "color palette tool", than a harmony planner — there's no way to play with color proportions (dominances and subordinances). You'll have to do that in Illustrator or Photoshop.

Basic Tactics

Elaborating a Scheme...despite Kuler's very limited palette.

The Problem: Kuler only allows you to set up palettes of 5 colors. In practice, we often need a large palette of well-related colors.
A Solution: Break your color scheme down into parts...usually hue-by-hue. Set each up in Kuler and export each hue's palette individually.

Decide on a basic scheme — pick your color structure, dom/sub hues, values and chromas.
Set up a simplified version of the scheme in Kuler.
Export the basic colors.
Then expand the palette — develop each hue, one at a time. (this may allow Kuler to provide the essential colors hue-by-hue. Export those colors.
Work your way through all hues in your scheme.
Then go to Illustrator/Photoshop/InDesign and apply those colors to your design.


Color Structure and Design, by Richard G. Ellinger ---

Adobe's Intro to Kuler
A nice video walk-through of Kuler's features.

Kuler Color Themes Intro
A first-timeer's intro

Use Kuler with Illustrator (video tutorial)

Discover Adobe Kuler***
A nice introduction to the tools, features and pages on Kuler.com
How to create your own palette on the Create Page.
Base Color:
Scheme structure (Rule):
(note varied color models):
Saving a palette
Create a palette from an image.
Access Flickr images
Image/Scheme Mood settings
Download palettes








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