Today’s lesson is about colour. We will be looking at swatches, palettes, colour picker tools, themes and high DPI screen settings in Krita and Photoshop. Without further ado, let’s get started.
Picking Colours & Swatches in Photoshop
Photoshop has many pre-loaded colour palettes or swatches to choose from. To change your on-screen colour swatch, navigate to the little icon on the top right side of your current swatch. Clicking this will bring up a list of installed swatches. Select one of these to change your on-screen swatch.
There’s an alternative way to change colour swatches. Navigate to the bottom left of your tools. Third from the bottom, above the hand tool, is your shape tool. Click this and notice how there’s now little paint chips marked “Fill” and “Stroke” at the top. If you click the arrow next to “Fill” another menu will pop-up. From here you can change the fill type, scroll through the colours in the swatch you currently have on-screen and change colour swatches. To change colour swatches from here, click the cog icon on the top right of the pop-up window, scroll down to the preset manager and select. Another window appears and you need to click on the cog icon on the top right here too. Finally, you get to see that list of colour swatches installed. Select one of these to change your on-screen swatches.
Looking for a colour that’s not already in your swatches? Colour picker tool is what you are looking for here. Go to your background and foreground colours, which should be located on the bottom of your tools, on the left side of your screen. Click one of the colour blocks here, to bring up the colour picker tool. To change the colour, click and drag the white arrows next to the rainbow coloured block. Shade adjustments are made by clicking and dragging the white circle in the larger, gradient filled square.
Picking Colours & Palettes in Krita
There are not as many pre-installed colour palettes in Krita as there are in Photoshop. However, a few of the brush bundles that you downloaded, should have colour palettes included in them. To look through the palettes you have installed on Krita, you need to have the “Palette” docker showing. On my workspace, this is docked beneath the tools. If you click the multicoloured icon on the bottom left of the palette docker, another window will appear. This is where your loaded colour palettes are kept. Scroll through and click to select a new set of colours to work with.
You are not restricted by any means, to using only the colours in your on-screen palette. The advanced colour selector tool allows you to manually choose any colour you desire. There are a few ways to access this tool. If you click one of the coloured paint chips in your top toolbar, the advanced colour selector tool will appear. Click and drag the little circle selector in the outer circle to choose a colour. The triangle in the middle also has a click and drag circle for shade selection. Click “OK” to use your new colour. There is also a hex colour input field in this window. Copy paste the hex code into this space and click “OK” to change colour.
I have chosen to add the advanced colour selector docker to my workspace, alongside my palette and specific colour selector dockers. This means I can quickly hit a tab to access these tools.
Changing Themes in Photoshop
There are a few built-in themes in Photoshop, which change the colours used in your workspace. I encourage you to cycle through these themes and give them a test drive, so to speak. Find out which theme you like best and find easiest to read. To change the theme, navigate to “Edit” in your top taskbar and click. Then scroll down to “Preferences” and select “General” from the pop-up menu. In the new window which has appeared, click “Interface” and you will see the four, pre-installed themes. Clicking any of these will immediately change the colour scheme on your workspace.
Changing Themes in Krita
It’s worth taking some time to explore the themes built into Krita. These themes, change the colours of your workspace elements. Navigate to “Settings” in your taskbar and scroll down to “Themes”. A pop-up should appear, with a list of available themes. Click to select a theme, which will change the way your workspace looks. I suggest going through these and finding a theme, which you find easiest to work with. Something that you find pleasing to look at and is clear for you to read.
Photoshop & High DPI Screens
If you own a device with a high definition screen and boot up Photoshop for the first time, you will notice how tiny everything else. Unless you like peering at your screen, you will need to change the DPI settings for Photoshop. As always, you need to have the program closed before attempting this procedure.
Depending on what version you are using, you will have one or two locations on your drive for Photoshop files. You need to find the .exe for Photoshop, which on Windows 10 is at: “C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS6 (64 Bit)” and/or “C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS6”. If you scroll down, you will see the .exe file, which you need to right-click. Next, click “properties” which will bring up another window, then click the “compatibility” tab. At the bottom of this window, click the “Change high DPI settings” button. In this new window, tick the box next to “Override high DPI scaling behaviour. Scaling performed by:” and then click on the pull-down menu underneath. You need to select “System” here, then “Apply” and finally “OK”.
If you choose anything else from this list, you will either end up making no difference at all or it will grey out your submenus. White text on a white background, fun! Start up Photoshop again and see how you can now read everything. Look, no greyed out submenus and no squinting at your screen. Great, huh?
Krita & High DPI Screens
Changing your screen to a high DPI setting is easy to do in Krita. Navigate to “Settings” in your top taskbar, click then select “Configure Krita”. A pop-up window will have appeared, which allows you to change many of the ways Krita runs. Click on “General” then select the “Window” tab. All you need to do now is tick the box next to “Enable Hi-DPI Support”, click “OK” then restart Krita. Tada! Everything is suddenly far easier to see and you now can read everything without eye-strain. Much better.
It should be noted that there seems to be a small glitch with regards to this setting and how Krita behaves. On my laptop, when opening Krita and when moving or changing the size of the main screen, I have to reset my workspace. So, if for example, I have Krita on one side of my screen and an image I wish to import on the other, the workspace slightly glitches. The docked elements change size, which means resetting the workspace. A bit of a nuisance, but nothing you can’t work around.
As you can see, we ran out of time today to cover shortcuts. We will be gracing the surface of shortcuts on Krita and Photoshop next time.
Since we have covered colours, DPI and themes today, your homework is, to personalise your workspace further. Find your favourite theme. Go through your pre-installed colour swatches or palettes and see which ones, you like best. Finally get to grips with the colour selection tools. As always, have fun exploring and if you have any questions, please get in touch.