Best color picker? Ideally large in size
November 16, 2011 2:13 PM   Subscribe

Best color picker? I have tried various things with differing levels of satisfaction, but I'd like to know if there's some really great one that I'm missing. Firefox addons, Windows software, or websites are what I need.

I'm just starting to get back into graphic design, and I'm poking around in Illustrator since I'm taking a community college class on it in the spring. I find myself quite frustrated with the color picking function, and though I've tried other tools, I haven't really found something ideal for me. I find it hard to really get a sense of what a color is going to look like from a tiny 10-pixel square in a swatch.

I am nearing 40 and having some trouble seeing really tiny things on the screen and clicking really small squares and pixel targets, so part of what I want is just bigger stuff to click on. A color picker that is HUGE and takes up the whole screen would be awesome, but I don't know if they exist. I have two screens so it's no problem to take up one of them with a large color picker.

Ideal qualities:

- Huge square or rectangle showing my chosen color
- Color values shown in RGB, ideally both decimal and hex.
- Real-time updating of said square as I move my mouse around the color selection area, in other words not requiring a click
- Multiple setups / paradigms for how the color selection area is laid out
- Ability to save favorites or swatches. Bonus: palette exportable into Illustrator-readable format
- Favorites / swatches showing really large rectangles / squares
- History of colors recently chosen, ideally with large squares
- Really large color selection area (my fine motor skills are not as good as they once were)
- Tints of the chosen shade readily available for selection. I'm thinking of boxes of 10%, 20%, 30%, these don't have to be very big but it's nice if they are

Things I've tried that are okay but not what I'd really love:
- Colorzilla addon for firefox
- Rainbow Color Tools addon for firefox
- Inkscape
- Freehand MXA
- Adobe Illustrator
- Paint Shop Pro 9

Thing I've tried that is super-awesome but not perfect for my needs:
- Color Scheme Designer

If there's nothing out there that's more suited to my needs, then of course I will make do with the various tools I have. I just figured I'd ask here since I know there are a lot of brilliant designers on mefi.

And in case it's relevant, I have also been looking at posts on the blue tagged with "color" for some inspirational websites that explore color.
posted by 6500xf to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I've been using GIMP for so long, I kind of take it for granted, but I like the color picker just fine. Has all your requirements, but you need to know to click on the color sample/previous color squares to embiggenate them.
I run it under Ubuntu; YMMV.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 2:31 PM on November 16, 2011

Best answer: I never found a silver bullet but most of the time I use gcolor2, a linux program, but its swatches are small, so strike that option for you.

I also have these loaded up in my bookmarks and they look like they may suit you: (this does have a save feature, in browser.)
posted by fizzix at 2:43 PM on November 16, 2011

Best answer: This one wins in size, and it's awesomely easy to use: HSLa Explorer

It doesn't save swatches for creating palettes, but it's great for tints and shades or fine-tuning brightness/saturation.
posted by ella wren at 2:56 PM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Also, I'm a giant dork I guess, but I made my own color charts when I couldn't find what I wanted elsewhere. My solution isn't exactly what you're looking for, but maybe you could make your own too?
posted by ella wren at 3:09 PM on November 16, 2011

Response by poster: Wow, these are great, guys! I'm digging in and really impressed so far. I've looked at Colorschemer and HSLa Explorer, and about to download GIMP.

Thank you so much!
posted by 6500xf at 3:10 PM on November 16, 2011

My personal favourite program is Colorpic. Freeware. I use it all the time. Can grab and save color "swatches". Has a resizeable "magnification" area with configurable zoom factor. Contains preset color palettes for you to choose from. Has hex/rainbow/hue/slider color choice options. Shows you the hex code for your currently-chosen color and allows copy to clipboard, with or without preceding #, with a single click.
posted by tra at 2:21 PM on November 17, 2011

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