Color Wheel Swatches: Shades

NOTE TO CS5 USERS: I've gotten reports that in CS5 (and maybe CS4 but I haven't heard anything yet) that the minimum width of the Swatches panel in the default workspace is 17 instead of 16. The Swatches panel must be 16 swatches wide, otherwise the circular swatch pattern becomes slanted.

The culprit is the Layers panel which can't be as small as the Swatches panel, so if the Swatches panel and the Layers panel are put on the same column the Swatches panel will be wider to fit. The fix is to undock the swatches panel, at which point you can dock other panels below it that aren't wide.

Three months ago I released a set of RGB and CMYK color wheels. After some user feedback I fixed the CMYK wheel so it has richer colors and pure CMYK data for the Adobe formats that supported it. The files are updated there so go ahead and get them.

In addition, also at the request of a user, I made a color wheel with shades instead of tints. The special thing about this palette is that it uses Don Jusko's Real Color Wheel theory of pigment overloading. If you've used yellow food coloring or watercolor before you'll know the color shifts to orange with the more yellow pigment you use. I included that effect of pigment overloading in these swatches. The nice thing about this is that dark yellow will not be that ugly olive color, and dark cyan will have some blue as it goes darker.

Here's the links to the files. For the CMYK palette only the ACO and ASE palettes have pure CMYK color information, the rest are CMYK safe RGB colors.

ACO Files (Adobe Photoshop Swatches)
RGB Color Wheel: ACO
CMYK Color Wheel: ACO

ASE Files (Adobe Swatch Exchange)
RGB Color Wheel: ASE
CMYK Color Wheel: ASE

ACT Files
RGB Color Wheel: ACT
CMYK Safe RGB Color Wheel: ACT

PAL Files (Jasc Swatches)
RGB Color Wheel: PAL
CMYK Safe RGB Color Wheel: PAL

TXT Files (Corel Painter Swatches)
RGB Color Wheel: TXT
CMYK Safe RGB Color Wheel: TXT


NickZ. said…
Great work on these, did you have to build them by hand or did you find an app that will allow you to convert an image into a swatch? Thanks again for posting this up for everyone.
Glen Moyes said…
I used Pedit ( ) to create the swatches.

With Pedit you can load an image and then click on every color in order to fill the swatch. So after a little more than 256 clicks later I'll have the completed palette. Otherwise with Photoshop you have to eye drop the color from your image, move over to click on the new swatch button, look back at your image and then repeat that process 256 times which takes a lot longer. Unfortunately that's what I had to do with the new CMYK swatches because they are actually CMYK now, and Pedit doesn't support that color mode.
Maciek Smuga said…

Thanks so much for posting these, and other swatches and presets! I'm just entering the world of painting with photoshop, and the resources and advice you post are most welcome. I'll be checking back from time to time, hopefully with more useful feedback as I try more.

Anonymous said…
These are great and will be a big convenience for me. Thanks so much for sharing them! I will definitely spread the word.
Blackstorme said…
Mr. Moyes, I was wanting so bad a color wheel palette and becoming frustrated at trying to make my own when I decided to take the laxy way out and look online. This and the tint palette are just beautiful and exactly what I wanted. It will be SO much easier to find the colors I want now. Thank you so much.
Don Jusko said…
Hi Bill, I was pleasantly surprised to see my Real Color Wheel CMYK and RGB swatch palettes here on your blog.
I have to thank you for helping me spread the word throughout this big world of ours. The web was sadly lacking a real CMYK and RGB ACO Swatch palette.

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