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Color Picker

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Color is an integral function when painting and surfacing for 3D. Color sets the mood, leads a viewer's eye, and provides a sense of cohesion to a scene. MODO provides a dedicated window for editing colors and creating schemes for scenes, that can then be easily applied when surfacing, setting up lights and any other color related operation. The color picker opens whenever a user LMB+clicks on a color swatch in MODO. Being non-modal, the popup disappears as soon as the user moves their mouse cursor away from it.
The viewport is dominated by the color picker with its color wheel on the left, the color options on the right, joined by a preset browser across the bottom. Combined with its many options, the color wheel is a full-featured color scheme generator, with options for creating a variety of automatically coordinated schemes based of various rules users can adjust.
The wheel itself is straight forward, users only need to LMB click over the color they wish to choose, while LMB clicking and dragging, users will update the value in real-time, releasing the mouse pointer when the proper color is arrived at will select it. Depending on the color model, the bottom color strip will update accordingly, but users can LMB+click and drag in that window as well. The right hand side of the color picker offers users the ability to define alpha (transparency) value, with the box in the lower right hand corner displaying the current color swatch. Users may RMB+click the color swatch to Save the color as a preset. Automatic preset saving can also be accomplished by dragging and dropping the swatch into the preset window. For aspects of MODO that require two colors, such as when working with procedural textures, users can simultaneously define both colors by clicking the arrow to swap foreground/background colors, define color and clicking again to swap back. The properties panel on the far right side controls the display of the picker, and allows users to define numerical values as well set the scheme rules, and save presets to the browser below.

Color Picker

Color Model: This option allows users to choose the color model that suits their needs best, there are three current options-
HSV-- Standing for 'Hue, Saturation and Value'; it is considered the most intuitive color model, users can adjust colors by their 'Hue', the apparent color itself, saturation, which controls the intensity of the color, and value, which controls how light or dark the color is. This is also the only model that is displayed as the familiar color wheel.
Kelvin-- The Kelvin scale is based on thermal dynamics, and considers colors as temperatures. This single axis scale is useful in describing the color of light sources, as the hotter they burn, the brighter, and more white they become. The goes from warm colors, reds and oranges, through yellow to white, and then extending to a slight blue as it increases to the maximum value.
RGB-- Standing for Red, Green and Blue, the model itself is based on the additive property of light, and is the primary model for electronic displays and sensors (such as your monitor and digital camera). If pure versions of each color are combined, they produce white light. While it is a common model, its not very intuitive, as users often don't have a good idea about what will happen if they reduce 'Red' by 50%. Still, it is the most common format for colors when exchanging data between applications.

Axis: Since the color picker is two dimensional, and the various color spaces are multi dimensional, the additional axes options modify how users interact with the picker providing additional options for customizing the picker and color strip to suit the users particular needs.

Stops: This option is related the f-stops, familiar to photographers. It is intended to aid in previewing and selecting HDR (High Dynamic Range) colors, whose brightness goes beyond what typical computer monitors are capable of displaying. At the default 1.0 value, the color picker works like any other, maxing out at pure white. Changing the stops value to 1.4 allows users to define colors whose brightness is twice that of the 1.0 setting. A stop of 2.0 would again be twice as bright (or four times brighter than 1.0). These values work the same as those in photography, where each additional stop value lets in twice as much light as the previous. The standard photographic progression of stops is 1, 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.8, 8, 11, 16, & 22. It should be noted that the 'Stops' value only changes how MODO displays the colors in the picker, allowing users the ability to choose over bright values in the color wheel, and doesn't change the color value itself. Additionally, the stops value will affect those colors selected using the OS specific color pickers.


The five following sections, 'RGB(HDR)', 'RGB', 'Kelvin', 'HSV' and 'Hexadecimal RGB' are simply numeric value input fields for displaying and entering colors using alternate color models. Displayed values will always represent the current foreground color and will update accordingly as the users interact with the picker. All models, except 'RGB (HDR) are not capable of defining or displaying HDR colors, and will clip at the maximum values for the selected model (showing whatever the equivalent color is); the maximum value will be different for each of the various 'Color Units' options as defined by the user.


Global Options--

Picker Options

Color Units: The color units option changes the global preference for how color values are entered into MODO color fields. There are four options-
Floating Point: For this model, standard color values exist between 0 and 1, with HDR colors values being those beyond 1.0
Percentage: Color values are defined as percentages, similar to Floating point values, where up to 100% would be normal color range, and values beyond 100% extend into the HDR colors.
Integer: This is the standard format for most image editing applications, where standard color values exist in the 0 to 255 range.
Hexadecimal: Hexadecimal colors are the standard for defining color on the web as they are natural values for computers to understand, similar to binary, where the two values represent 255 different levels.

Dynamic Color Strip: When this option is checked, the Color Strip bar will update dynamically showing the color selection as a component of the bar itself. When unchecked, the bar will simply show its single color axis, as defined by the 'Axis' option.

Load Presets as HDR: When a value is saved, its tagged as either a LDR (low dynamic range) color or HDR (high dynamic range) color. Enabling the 'Load Presets as HDR' will allow users to only load HDR color presets from the browser, effectively hiding all the LDR colors from view (they are still there, only hidden) This is an easy way to determine if colors are HDR or LDR in a given scheme.

HSV Options--

Hue as Wheel: When the 'Color Model Options' of 'HSV' is selected, enabling the 'Hue as Wheel' option will display the picker as a continuous wheel. When displayed as such, several options related to making rule based color schemes becomes available.

Wheel: This option defines the type of HSV wheel to display, users can choose the standard 'Red Green Blue' (RGB) option common to many image editing applications, or the more familiar and artist friendly 'Red Yellow Blue' version. Unlike the RGB version, the RYB version works like the color wheel many artists learn in art school, where red & green, blue & orange, and yellow & purple oppose each other on the wheel.

Rule: MODO allows multiple options for generating automatic schemes based on common color rules-
Solo-- The default mode, only a single color is defined.
Complementary-- Two colors whose positions oppose each other on the color wheel.
Analogous-- Three colors that contain a similar hue, appearing close to each other on the color wheel.
Triadic-- A three color scheme, where colors appear equidistant from each other on the color wheel.
Tetradic-- A four color scheme, where colors appear equidistant from each other on the color wheel (dual complementary).
Compound-- A five color scheme, with a main color and two split complementary colors.
Tints--Tints appear as graduated value (brightness) variations of the foreground color toward white.
Shades-- Shades appear as graduated value (brightness) variations of the foreground color toward black.

Rule Adjust: Users can adjust the angle of degrees between scheme rules that adjust the scheme to suit their own taste.

Levels: This option becomes active for the 'Tints' and Shades' rules, defining how many steps will be in the scheme.

Save as Presets: Pressing this button will save the current foreground color into the 'Presets > Colors' folder of the preset content. If the default content hasn't been installed, users will need to manually define a directory and add it to the preset browser using the 'Add Path..' option. When defining color schemes using the rule options, all the color defined in the swatch patch will be added to the preset browser simultaneously.

Tip icon

TIP: Users can access their system level (OS) color picker at any time by LMB+clicking on the color swatch in the lower right corner of the color picker itself. Users should note that any colors selected in this way will also be affected by the 'Stops' value.


comment balloon Comments (1) RSS Icon

Ohad Barda May 8, 2015 at 4:31 PM

Finally I get a chance to read the "Theory" behind color swatch instead of just playing with it and see the results without understanding a thing really...


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