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Color Picker In Lightroom 4

Here's a quick overview on what the Color Pickers is for and how it can be used.

| Lightroom
If you want to apply a subtle amount of colour when using the Adjustment Brush and Graduated filter, you'll be reaching for the Color Picker. It's also a tool that's used when you want to apply some interesting, 'vintage' effects to your images with the Split Toning option. You'll also find the Color Picker under the Book, Slideshow, Print and Web Lightroom modules where backgrounds and borders can be applied.

How To Find The Color Picker

Color Picker In Lightroom 4: Color PickerYou open the Color Picker by clicking on the colour selection rectangle. The name will change depending on the module you are working in but the coloured rectangle will be the same in every one.

When you apply an adjustment with the Graduated filter or Adjustment Brush the rectangle will, by default, have an X through it and will be coloured 'neutral grey'. The other modules won't have this X shape and the colour selected will either be grey or black depending on the module you have open.

To open the Color Picker just click on the rectangle and a new small window will pop up. We'll be using it in the Develop module but it essentially works the same way in all of Lightroom's modules.

Selecting A Colour

To select a colour simply click the eyedropper over the shade you want to use. You can click and drag the eyedropper around to move between different shades and you can also sample colours from areas out side of the Color Picker. To do this, click in the Color Picker then move your mouse over to the area you want to sample from. This could be your website, from another photo, a logo etc. You just need to make sure you have the item you want to sample from open next to Lightroom.

Color Picker In Lightroom 4: Color Picker

At the top of the Color Picker you'll see there's five small squares of colour then next to these is a larger rectangle.

Color Picker In Lightroom 4: Color Picker

Color Picker In Lightroom 4: Color Picker - change colourWhen you open up the Color Picker the larger rectangle shows the previous colour that was selected. When you click on another colour that you want to be applied this will 'share' the rectangle with the colour that was previously selected until you close the Color Picker. You can click on the half that has this colour in to reset the Color Picker.

Color Picker In Lightroom 4: Color Picker - change presetsThe five coloured squares are where you can save colours you want to use again at a later date. This means if you have a particular colour you like to apply to create an image that's split-toned, for example, you can save it in one of these squares so you don't have to hunt for it with the Color Picker every time.

To set one of these colours as the colour currently selected (visible in the larger rectangle) just click on it. To save a colour to one of these five squares you need to select the colour you want to use by clicking on it then click, hold and let go of your mouse button with the cursor over the square you wish to change.

Numbers And Values

If you look towards the bottom of the Color Pickers you'll see various values, depending on which module you're working in, that relate to the colour currently selected. This is useful when you know the numeric value of the colour you want to set as you can click and input the number. To apply it, hit the enter key on your keyboard. The slider to the right of this (found in some of the modules) adjusts the saturation of the tone, making it stronger / weaker depending on which way you pull it. When adjusted you'll see the small selector in the Color Picker move up and down a vertical axis.

Color Picker In Lightroom 4: Value

Color Picker In Lightroom 4: HEXThe main numeric values available are: H = Hue S = Saturation L=Lightness RGB = Red, Green, Blue but some of the modules do have an extra option called 'Hex' (Hexadecimal), used mostly for web design / graphics,  which you can toggle on and off by clicking on the word 'Hex'.

There's No Colours In The Color Picker!

In some of the modules, such as Book, if the colour currently selected is white, black or grey then the Color Picker will reflect this by only showing greyscale shades. If you want to access the full range of colours you need to click in the vertical bar. This will make the colours available but depending on where you clicked in the vertical bar will determine how saturated the colours are.

Color Picker In Lightroom 4: Color Picker Greyscale

If you want to strengthen the saturation, you'll need to drag the vertical slider to the top. Do the opposite to see a palette of weaker colours. You can then click as we have done previously to select a shade or input the numeric values of a specific colour if you know them. If you want to return to greyscale just drag the vertical slider all the way to the bottom. 

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