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waveman777

Colour Picker - problems and feasible solution

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Hi everyone,
 
I'm new to the forum and this is my first post here. As a graphic designer with more than 15 years of experience and someone who's been looking for an alternative to Adobe products, I've been testing Affinity Designer Beta for a while and I'm really amazed what can be achieved with such great input from users and by developers who listen!
 
Right now I use Affinity Designer Beta along with Adobe Illustrator, testing, comparing, trying to achieve similar goals using both. It is great that developers from Affinity are not trying to make a copy of Adobe products and finding mostly better solutions with users in mind, but there are times, when I'm really in a hurry and I'm forced to do certain things in Illustrator. There are things that slowing me down A LOT in Designer, and the major one is colour picking.
 
Right now I just cannot find any other way then:
- selecting an object
- moving cursor to the top right corner
- grabbing a colour picker
- choosing a colour
- moving cursor to the top right corner again
- and then finally selecting it.

 
All this takes far too much time for such simple operation, so I gave it a lot of thought, and came up with something that I believe will work great. 
 
First of all, what's needed is a one button shortcut for the Colour Picker tool like the "i" in Illustrator, and then we can use the loupe from Designer to create even better experience and this is how it could look like:
 
- select Colour Picker tool via one button shortcut, then
     - pick a colour from any object by just clicking on it
     - OR - HOLD on any object for 2 seconds to change the cursor to LOUPE for more precise colour selection!
- boom!

 
And now the most obvious thing - if you don't have any object selected, this action will just choose a colour which will be selected when new object is created, but when you DO have an object selected, this action will APPLY the colour you've just chosen to the already selected object.
 
Advantages: much fewer moves and clicks, less distracting and keeps you focused on what you're currently working on, intuitive and when gives more control by using loupe for precise colour selection without any additional clicks or moves.
 
All this would speed up everything tremendously! If this or something similar has been already discussed, or if there is any solution to that which is already implemented and I simply don't know about it, please let me know.
 
I wonder what you all think about it!
 
Best Regards!!!

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Hi waveman777,

 

and welcome here … :)

 

This is very interesting … I had fancied about colour picker improvements some time ago as well, and I totally agree that there is room for improvement. First off, I really do like the current option to have a “picker well” that keeps picked colours apart from the ones I have chosen through the stroke / fill selectors to the left of the picker icon. How would that come into play in your solution? Would the picked colour get stored there as well?

 

My own idea was to create a small link icon between picker and stroke / fill selectors. If the picker is unlinked, everything works as is. If the picker is linked, there are two cases:

 

Objects are selected. When you hover over the canvas holding the mouse down, the sampled colour values are instantly transferred to the selector in the foreground and the selected objects on the canvas … to be precise, to the objects’ strokes, if the stroke selector is in foreground, to the objects’ fills, otherwise. Just lift the mouse button to apply the last sampled colour.

 

No objects are selected. When you hover over the canvas holding the mouse down, the sampled colour values are instantly transferred to the selector in the foreground without changing any object on the canvas.

 

Perhaps the link should be one way (the picker colour well should never be influenced by the stroke / fill selectors).

What do you think about that? Here’s the link:

 

https://forum.affinity.serif.com/index.php?/topic/9420-colour-picker-–-linked-or-“live”-eyedropper/

 

Cheers,

Alex  :)

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Hi Alex, your idea is interesting but it seems that there would be too much thinking about what you're actually doing. It look like a process that you need to learn and get used to it. 

 

My concept utilises something that is already out there. Everybody is used to 1 click action - you click a shortcut button, select a colour, and that's it! But since Affinity Designer has the ability to use the loupe, this could be combined, you cling and hold, and you have a precise colour selector. Not much thinking involved. It's very intuitive and straightforward. 

 

I really would like to hear what Affinity developers think about it. 

 

Cheers

Norbert

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Sounds like a big improvement.  The current eyedropper is needlessly cumbersome.  3 basic steps are all you need.   Click on eyedropper, click on desired color, click on placement area.  Doesn't the current eyedropper already act as a loupe? Or am I misunderstanding that part of your request?

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Hi Lille, less steps is exactly what wee need. Selecting colour and applying it should be the easiest and highly intuitive thing as we use it all the time. Basically it's all about using the steps you mentioned in the most efficient way. You can click on eyedropper, but you should be also be able to evoke it by a shortcut. There is absolutely no need fro dragging it from somewhere, it takes far too much time and you're loosing focus on what you're working on. Also, you could click on placement area, but if you have an object selected while using eyedropper, the colour should apply to that object instantly. This is obvious that when you have an object selected and then used eyedropper shortcut, you wan't to change the color of that object by sampling if from somewhere.

 

Also, the loupe is something that we have by default, but it's not necessary, as most of the time we don't need so precise colour sampling tool. Imagine two big shapes, and you want to copy a colour from one to the other. When you go and grab an eyedropper, the cursor is changing to a big loupe and it becomes your cursor, which you need to drag all the way to the desired object and finding the right place to sample the colour from. It's more difficult than with a simple eyedropper cursor like in Illustrator, therefore, it would be much easier if you could evoke a loupe only when you hold a mouse button for a moment using eyedropper. This holding a button when using eyedropper tool should be automatically recognised by software that you need more precise colour sampling and gives you a loupe instead, which again would be easier to use because you wouldn't need to drag it to the desired place, as you're already there! 

 

This would me a massive improvement!

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Oh, and btw, the current behaviour of the colour picker wouldn't even need to be changed as some people might like it. What I posted is something that could be easily added, and I believe it is not a rocket science. It's just adding a shortcut to the eyedropper, and slightly changing the behaviour of the loupe. 

 

Most people, especially professional designers would really appreciate it.

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All this sounds pretty sensible, Norbert, and I do see the improvements, though I fear it would break the current UI logic. On the one hand you would have the current picker system with the additional colour well (or selector), and on the other hand you would make the picker a regular tool sending colour information right to the stroke / fill selectors to the left of the picker icon (and to selected objects). Is that correct?

  • So let me ask again: What would you do with the additional colour well to the right of the eyedropper? Should that be abandoned completely?
  • And why not make the colour picker a regular tool (which is kept on the regular tools panel) then? That would ensure consistency in my opinion.

As I said, I do not like some aspects of the current colour picker concept too, but I find the option of the additional colour well not unappealing.  :)

 

P.S. By the way, did you know, that you can get the colour picker loupe in many tools by holding Option and dragging the cursor while holding the mouse button down?

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Hi Alex, I'd keep the colour well to the right as it is now, I don't see any point in simply abandoning it. Yes, having a colour picker as a regular tool should also work fine.

 

The point is - how you access your tools and how quickly and efficiently you can use them. I'd really love to use AD and move from Illustrator but I simply can't. I takes me ages to to quickly recolour objects in AD, it is so frustrating... but I can do it in Illustrator in seconds! Either by using eyedropper and quickly apply colours from other objects if I need to, or by using "Recolor Artwork" tool which gives me a list of all the colours used and I can quickly changing them, combine them, or applying a completely new colour palette. All this can be done in seconds in Illustrator. If I was asked to recolour a very complex illustration in AD, I'd really start crying I guess. 

 

Also, I know that you can get the colour picker loupe in many tools by holding Option and dragging the cursor while holding the mouse button down, but again - this is completely useless because 1st - you need to remember in which tools you can use this option, 2nd - you can pick the colour, but this colour is not applied to the selected object! This is ridiculous. 

 

There is no point in trying to make everything differently than in Illustrator. If something works great, it shouldn't be redesigned unless it makes the tool even better! "Recolor Artwork" tool in Illustrator is a killer if you want to recolour complex illustrations. In AD - I struggle! Imagine applying different colour on 50 different objects in AD...either your hand would be in pain, or you'd fall asleep during the process. ;)

 

All you need is click, and click. 

 

When I try some of the tools in AD, I get the impression that the software is made by great programmers, but there is not even one professional graphic designer in the team.

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I still haven't figured out how the eyedropper tool works?! Can someone explain?  It just turns every thing black for me.  :blink:

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For the sake of consistency I would opt for changing the colour picker into a regular tool then (and sacrifice the current setup) …  :)

 

Hopefully they listen :)

 

Matt said he will discuss with Tony this quite a while ago. No news of if it happened or if they decided anything....


UI Designer, CG Artist

 

Macbook Pro 15" 2014

2.5 Ghz, 750M

 

https://www.behance.net/VladMafteiuScai

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I still haven't figured out how the eyedropper tool works?! Can someone explain?  It just turns every thing black for me.  :blink:

 

Click and hold the colour picker icon in the Colour tab and drag it over the colour you want to sample. Then click on the small circle on the right of the colour picker icon to apply the sampled colour to the Fill or Stroke circles depending on which is active in the Colour panel. If an object is selected that colour will also be applied to the corresponding fill or stroke on the selected object.

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Click and hold the colour picker icon in the Colour tab and drag it over the colour you want to sample. Then click on the small circle on the right of the colour picker icon to apply the sampled colour to the Fill or Stroke circles depending on which is active in the Colour panel. If an object is selected that colour will also be applied to the corresponding fill or stroke on the selected object.

 

I had to read that a few times. No wonder I couldn't figure it out. Thats a bit convoluted to say the least  :mellow: Theres far too many extra steps that simply aren't required. One would think you select an object, click the eyedropper (needs a shortcut) which brings up the Loupe as your 'cursor', place it where you want and click to set the colour of the selected object. Depending on whether stroke or fill is active it will change the colour respectfully. Much more refined and intuitive is it not?  :wacko:

 

You guys are doing aigret job, don't get me wrong but that one is a little 'wonky'  ;)

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Hi @MEB

 

Thanks for your quick explanation to @Nazario, but have you actually read my post? I'm very interested to know what you guys think about the possible solution I posted. I know it's a long post but I wanted to be as clear as possible. 

 

Please let me know if this is something you could discuss and possibly implement. 

 

Thanks

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Hi waveman,

Welcome to Affinity Forums :)

We are aware of how the colour-picker works in other apps. We understand that most users are expecting it to work the same way in Affinity. There was already several threads discussing this.

Some features were already changed due to users requests so i don't see any reason why we wouldn't look into this one too. It just happens that we are very busy at the moment preparing Affinity's Photo release. As soon as there's an opportunity I'm sure this will be reviewed if need be.

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Just to throw in a plea for putting the Foreground/Background colour "flipper" at the bottom of the Tool selector bar, where it lives in Photoshop. Or even just duplicating it there - leave one where it is at the top of the Colour panel on the right, but have another that does the same thing at the bottom of the Tool selector panel.

 

Yes, I know I can drag the Tool selector panel elsewhere, but again, I'm so used to it being down the left edge....

 

Also, in Photoshop, to flip the colours, I click on the little two-headed arrow on the "flipper" as I call it. If I click on one or other of the colours itself, it brings up the colour selector. That is very quick and direct, with no whizzing all over the screen of my 27" iMac.

 

Muscle memory is very powerful, and I find it very distracting to have to select the Paintbrush tool, for example, way over on the left, then go all the way to the far right to flip the colours. A small thing, I know, but annoying.

 

I'm referring here to Affinity Photo, by the way.

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Hi Pentaxian,

Go to menu View, Customise Tools..., change the Number of Columns on the bottom left to 2, then click Close.

You should now have the "flipper" on the bottom of the toolbar. Double-click on one of the colours to bring up the Colour Chooser.

 

Wow..!  Brilliant :)  Thank you, thank you, thank you :)

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Hi @MEB

 

Thanks for your quick explanation to @Nazario, but have you actually read my post? I'm very interested to know what you guys think about the possible solution I posted. I know it's a long post but I wanted to be as clear as possible. 

 

Please let me know if this is something you could discuss and possibly implement. 

 

Thanks

Clicking and holding is much slower than a click. You've already clicked for the colour picker tool, why click and hold again for the loupe? Its an extra step thats not needed. Just make the first click the loupe so its precise from the start. Maybe use an 'alt' modifier to select a gradient instead of the pixel. 

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Just like to say that really I like the color picker functionality, esp that it lets you select from anywhere.

 

It should be accessible from a keyboard shortcut and toolbar icon - I don't always have the colour panel open.

 

I should be able to choose whether, in general, selections go to the colour well or straight to a selected object.

 

I like the idea of the colour well like a pre-swatch group. I build a colour well group somehow from colour picker selections and then it is there for reuse in the current work session or I could convert it to a swatch group.

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Clicking and holding is much slower than a click. You've already clicked for the colour picker tool, why click and hold again for the loupe? Its an extra step thats not needed. Just make the first click the loupe so its precise from the start. Maybe use an 'alt' modifier to select a gradient instead of the pixel. 

 

I get your point but you don't always need a precise colour picker as the loupe. If you simply want to sample a colour and apply it, changing icon to eyedropper like in Illustrator is the best approach, as it's not as distracting as the loupe. What you see inside the loupe is much bigger, therefore you're forced to use precise selection which takes more time due to the cursor (loupe) size. 

 

Precise colour picker i something that you need only from time to time, and holding an already selected eyedropper tool for 2 seconds gives you that option on demand. This can be also achieved by force touching on a new apple trackpad. 

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