Task 5 How to Use the Photoshop Color Picker

The Photoshop Color Picker is the standard Photoshop interface for selecting a color. It allows fast and intuitive color selection from millions of colors. The Color Picker also offers Pantone color matching and Web-safe color choices.

  1. Set Color Picker Preferences

    Choose Edit, Preferences, General to open the Preferences box to the General page. Select Adobe from the Color Picker drop-down list. Although you could select the Windows or Apple color picker, the Adobe version is the recommended choice. Click OK to close the dialog box.


  2. Launch the Color Picker

    In the toolbox, click the Foreground color swatch to launch the Color Picker dialog box.


  3. Set the Hue

    Click and drag the white triangles on the Hue slider to select the desired hue. As you drag, notice that the range of colors displayed in the large Select foreground color window changes.


  4. Select a Value

    Move the cursor into the Select foreground color window. Notice that the cursor changes into a sample dot as you do so. Click in the color window to select a color; that color selection is reflected in the color swatch at the top right of the dialog box.


  5. Check the Gamut Warnings

    If the color you selected falls outside the printable CMYK color gamut, a triangle with an exclamation point appears next to the selected color. The small color box that appears below the triangle indicates which color will print based on the current conversion settings. If the color you selected does not fall within the browser-safe color palette, a cube appears just below the triangle, along with another small color box that indicates the corresponding Web-safe color.


  6. Select Pantone-Type Colors

    In the Color Picker, click the Custom button to open the Custom Colors dialog box. Select a color-matching system from the Book drop-down list and type the color number (if you know it) or click in the color spectrum slider to select a color. Click the Picker button to go back to the Photoshop Color Picker, or click OK to select the color and close the color-selection dialog boxes.


How-To Hints

Comparing Relative Values

By default, the Select foreground color window in the Color Picker is based on a color's hue. Click in any of the other boxes (which represent Brightness, Saturation, RGB, CMYK, or Lab) to change the way color is displayed in the window. You also can enter a numerical value in any of these fields to change the current color value numerically.

Entering a Hexadecimal Color or Checking Only Web Colors

To select Web colors (colors that will display in most Web browsers), type a hexadecimal value in the # box at the bottom of the Color Picker. You also can enable the Only Web Colors check box, which forces the Select foreground color window to display only a Web-safe color range.