How to Create Color Schemes in Photoshop for Any Project

How to Create Color Schemes in Photoshop for Any Project

Visual impact made by images cannot be overestimated, so creating powerful color schemes for projects has an enormous importance. This tutorial will give you tips on how to create amazing color schemes using Adobe Photoshop. Even if you are not a professional, this task is manageable for you, because creating a color scheme in Photoshop is one of the easiest things to do. The choice of colors for your color scheme depends totally on the aims of your project, so there are no exact rules what colors must be chosen. You should follow your intuition to reflect your project’s aim in the best light. Here are just some general guidelines on creating color schemes to optimize your project. Let us start with these guidelines.

Step 1. Make Sure You Understand Color Harmony and Hue/Saturation Dialog
It is easy to work with colors and understand color harmonies if you know how to manage the color wheel, which is, actually, used for creating colors schemes. The most effective color harmonies are: Complementary color harmony, which uses two colors that are directly opposed on the color wheel; Split Complementary color harmony, which involves 3 colors, two of which are the colors adjacent to the third color’s complement; Triad, which is based on three colors that are equally spaced out on the color wheel; Analogous, which includes three colors, two of which are adjacent to the central one; Monochromatic, which involves different colors from the same hue that vary in saturation.

Step 2. Start Working With Color Schemes
To start experimenting with your color schemes, go to Window – Extensions, and select ‘Color Themes’. In case you are using an older version of Photoshop, you have to choose ‘Kuler’. This action will open a panel that will give you a possibility to create color schemes and add them to Swatches. Make sure your Color panel is also active. To do this, go to Window and choose ‘Color’, or simply press F6. After that, you have to choose the color that you want to work with.

Step 3. Create an Analogous Scheme
When Color Themes (or Kuler) are open, choose ‘Create’ on the panel, and choose ‘Analogous’ in the menu. This scheme, as it has been mentioned, uses colors that are adjacent to your base color. By increasing or decreasing black, you will change both the base color and the other colors in the color scheme. Look at the images below to see how the changes in the darkness of the base color influence the analogous color scheme.

Step 4. Create a Monochromatic Scheme
Repeat the process of creating a theme, or scheme, but opting for ‘Monochromatic’ one this time. You are also able to change the darkness of the base color, as it is shown below.

Step 5. Create a Triad Scheme
This is a scheme that uses equally spaced colors of the wheel. Choose ‘Triad’ in the menu that you are already familiar with, and experiment with the colors. By dragging buttons on the color wheel you have a possibility to choose the base color that you like, thus choosing additional colors. Certainly, you can try different shades by changing darkness. Have a look at the process and its results of using this color scheme.

Step 6. Create Complementary Scheme
By choosing ‘Complementary’ in the ‘Create’ menu on the panel, you will start working with Complementary scheme. It uses colors that are opposed to each other, so you can create a color scheme that will work very well for contrasts. As it is shown below, the darkness/lightness option is also available for you to make colors brighter or more subtle.

Step 7. Create a Compound Scheme
When you have mastered the previous schemes, you can experiment with a bit more difficult Compound scheme. In this scheme, variations of the colors are regulated doubly on the color wheel, which creates more possibilities to adjust the colors in your scheme to your needs. Look at the images below to spot the differences.

Step 8. Benefit From Shades
If you need to present something in various shades of the same color, this scheme is your perfect choice. ‘Shades’ are found in the same menu that you have been using. The differences in darkness applied to the base color and reflected on the rest of the colors in the scheme are shown below.

Step 9. Learn to Save
While working with color schemes, there is always an option to save the scheme that you like. Simply click on the ‘Save Theme’ and name your scheme, as it is shown below. Next to the ‘Save Theme’ button you will find a button that will add your color scheme to Swatches. When you go to Window and turn on ‘Swatches’, the color scheme that you created will be the last one on the list. On the images below, you can see how the color scheme was named ‘Blue’, saved and is reflected in Swatches.

In order to get ideas how to create your ideal color scheme for your project, you can search for other people’s color schemes using the option ‘Browse’ on the panel and typing in keywords of different colors. Various color schemes available online can give you inspiration and make the process of choosing necessary colors easier.

To sum up, Photoshop has unlimited possibilities to create necessary colors for your projects, so you can choose from numerous ways to create color schemes and apply them to your project. Look at the examples of how various color schemes are implemented for creating powerful templates.

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