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Colour Picker - problems and feasible solution

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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.


MEB, we truly understand as well. Designing and developing software is not a walk in the park. 


So we appreciate you pulling in the list of features to implement directly from us (users) — really looking forward to have the eyedropper tool fixed!

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I admit that I had to check here to figure out how the colour picker works. That's bad!

My suggestion is this:

- Put the colour picker in the toolbar where it belongs (it is a tool) and add its own short-key (i ?)

- Use the shift key to activate the magnifier

- Clicking on a colour should apply that colour to selected objects immediately

- 'Store' the selected colour in the tool icon on the toolbar for later use (double clicking the tool icon applies the colour to selected objects)

- Add the functionality to copy all style properties (fill, stroke, gradient, filters) of an object (when pressing alt)

- Add the functionality to copy typographic styles as well


And also, create a smaller version of the line/fill selector so it fits in a single column toolbar.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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.



I love to see the Colour Flipper on the right toolbar, but it's haunting me in Export Persona which cannot manage about colours.

from my screen shot, if I change the colour, I cannot gradient it again by this Persona.   


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I understand that this is an older thread, but wouldn't leaving the colour picker as is (for those who like it this way and for simplicity's sake) and ADD a feature that would make it so that:


     One could press a key command that invokes the colour picker.


     With that key still depressed, click the area of the desired colour.


then either


     Click again to fill the area one wants to fill.




     release the key; at which time the chosen colour is placed into the palette/well.


On the project which I am now working this would have allowed for a two-click solution to what was a four-click (and a long, and sometimes disorienting, eye-travel distance on this 27" display) process.

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Hi predick

Thanks for raising this. I don't think the "flipper" should be displayed in the Export Persona at all. It's not supposed to work there.

I will raise this with the developers. Thanks again.


Hi @justwilliam,

The colour picker functionality/behaviour was already discussed in several threads. We are aware that some users are not happy with the way it works.

We will review this when possible.

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I have to agree, the colour picker in Designer needs some attention. If you read the very first Affinity Review Issue #1, and you read the interview with Jonathan Ball he replies to the question "Tell us how you got on with Affinity Designer, thumbs up or thumbs down?" He replied, "Thumbs up all around. There are a few niggles I'd like to see tweaked (a better colour picker please......" I couldn't agree more. Affinity Designer is great and so powerful and intuitive in so many areas and yet the colour picker and colour swatches sadly aren't. I also agree with many of the previous posters that the eye dropper should be made more intuitive. As well, I think that Global Swatches (or Global Colours) would be a huge improvement, and maybe that is on the roadmap? 


I also have a couple of questions that maybe MEB or someone else on the Affinity team might be able to answer or comment on in regards to the Colour Picker/Swatches. I have attached an imagine that clearly shows what I'm talking about. First of all, the little ink well that sits on the colour palette (next to the eye dropper) it seems like it always defaults to an RGB black (well actually a 4 colour black which it should be only black), why? Sometimes it is RGB (or a 4 colour black, which is not at all what I want). I never use RGB and yet it often shows up as an RGB black that was converted to a 4 colour black. Secondly, if I use a colour but I don't add the colour to the Swatches, why does it highlight the last colour (in the swatches palette) that I used? It shouldn't highlight anything from the swatches palette unless I'm using a swatch and yet it always highlights a colour from the Swatches palette after I've used a colour from there (even if I'm not using a colour from there). This is confusing. As well, why doesn't the "recent colours"  show all the colours that were recently used? I often copy and paste colours (via copy and then paste "style") and yet when I do this, they don't show up in the "recent colours". If I use a colour in any way, I would think that would be included as a "recent colour". I have commented on it before but I don't think it was ever addressed, why do some colours appear more than once in the "recent colours" but not every colour? It isn't a matter of how often they are used, I often use some colours and yet they only show up once and yet other colours show up multiple times (and they aren't used that much), this behavior doesn't seem consistent. I think as well that the "recent colours" should display all colours in the order that they are used, which doesn't seem to be the case right now. While there are some rough edges with the Colour tools, I'm confident that the Affinity team will short them all out eventually! Keep up the great work!




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Thank you for the response, MEB.


About colour picker, if you don't change anythings.

It's just fine for me, but at least I badly need to add some shortcuts to Pick Colour and to Fill Current Colour to avoid the marathon mouse moving. :rolleyes:

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+1 on this. I too fumbled around with it until I discovered the drag to select thinking (actually, I had to read the manual which we all know that guys don't like asking for directions). Even though I now know how to use it, I still find myself pressing command, space bar or alt keys trying to create a temporary eyedropper tool.


I've also found adding a mixed or selected colour to the swatches palette equally un-intuitive. I still can't do it despite having found a pull-down menu called "Add to swatch". Mind, looking at it right now, it seems my swatch palette is completely broken – I don't have any swatches in the pull-down swatch families. (oh wait… I've just restarted AD and I have all my swatches back. Fixed, but clearly not a particularly robust system. I'm running OSX 10.8.5.  Could this be the reason?)


I suspect the whole colour engine might need a tweak somewhere. I also can't export CMYK EPS files – it automatically converts my EPS files to RGB which is amazing since EPS is the "original print file" we used to use back in the 90's.

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Wowoah! Hold your horses everyone… I've just stumbled across a colour picker keyboard short cut!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  (sort of)


With my circle object tool selected, I held down my Alt key and clicked and dragged. I was expecting a circle to draw outwards from the center, but instead my cursor became the colour picker loupe.


It didn't really help all that much because I still had to go over to that silly little "picker colour apply" icon to do anything with the selected colour, and if I try do the same thing with my general select tool, I just end up duplicating the object I click on, but it does give me hope.


I suspect the developers have this functionality in place already – they're just struggling to figure out the logistics of how to apply its usage, consistently, with any tool selected. 


Perhaps instead of asking for this feature, we need to recommend a solution that doesn't interfere with another tool? I've seen 2 recommendations in this thread that I can see working...


1 - Click and hold for 2 seconds suggested by the OP. (might be a bit slow, but it's an original concept that eliminates the need for any keyboard shortcuts at all. Follow it up with a tap of the ESC key and we carry on.)


2 - Use the i key. (here i must add my 2 cents – it should be a colour picker for only as long as the i key is held down and immediately return to the previous tool the moment the i key is released so we don't have to learn 20 other keyboard shortcuts to return to your previous tool. This would also be super quick to do)



Hmm, I'm starting to think it's less about the colour picker, but rather the real problem is lying in the added step required to apply the selected colour. Adding a short cut key (or whatever) is a small feature addition, but the extra step is a whole workflow issue driven by the developers' views on using colour – something that we, the user base, seems to dislike.


If this extra step is here to stay, then is there any way we can get a tutorial on colour use that explains the thinking behind colour workflows? Perhaps if we could change our thinking to this workflow, we could buy in and work with it instead of fighting against something that currently seems unintuitive.

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  • 2 weeks later...

hello - to add to the colour picker improvements i would like to propose an option to choose whether you can click and select a colour or to keep the select and drag.


in it's current form, having to keep pressure on the track pad to drag it across the screen is very irritating. why not click the tool then click again when you are ready to select? sometimes when choosing a colour down to the pixel it is very hard to fine tune this whilst having to keep pressure on the track pad.



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While we are at it, here's an idea for another usability improvement of the colour picker:


- Accept the entry of 3 digit HEX values, I'm sure that web designers used to the shorthand CSS syntax would appreciate that.


For example, white (#FFFFFF) could be represented as #FFF, but Affinity would change the 3 digit value to #000FFF which is actually blue.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 5 months later...
  • 4 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

it's been a year since I bought Affinity Designer and I'm still not able to use it efficiently... At all. Illustrator is still a winer when it comes to working with colour, and their Recolor function provide excellent solution to recolouring multiple objects at once. Without this functionality Affinity Designer is pretty much useless unless you're doing some very basic stuff. 

I can't believe that after a year this still the case... I don't know why I bought it really, I must have had my hopes too high.

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  • 1 month later...

I've used Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator for about 20 years now. I just bought Affinity Photo over the weekend after using the trial for about 10mins. It is that good as an alternative/replacement to PS. I was about to buy Affinity Designer as well, until I tried integrating it into my workflow this week...


Until I had to deal with the Eyedropper (colour picker). The Eyedropper tool and it's functionality is absolutely crucial in a designer's workflow, almost just as important as the Pen tool itself.


The way this tool currently works in Photo (1.4.2) and Designer (1.4.2) is not intuitive at all. It just doesn't make any sense. Even Bohemian's Sketch has it functioning better (control+c, then click on sample).


It would be great to see this improved. And I understand that it is already in the works for the next release. I can't wait! :D  Your 2 programs are without a doubt the best alternatives to Adobe's top 2 that I have found (aside from Sketch for UI work haha). I am absolutely impressed with both and will be buying Designer shortly. Keep up the awesome work!

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I have to agree that the colour picker works slightly counter-intuitively until you get used to it. I would prefer to have the current system as a shift+click option and change the default to one of those mentioned above (ie. Instantly apply).


The 'picker well' comments got me thinking - it would be great to be able to have more than one colour picked for use later. Like a little pallette of the last 10 colours you've 'sampled'. That way you could import an image, then sample all the colours you require from it in a really quick way.

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