Make Stunning Color Palettes with Just Your Camera & This Free App
This simple app lets you create your own color palettes from whatever inspires you.
By Jasmine Lim
When it comes to choosing colors, inspiration is all around us—from billboards to clothing stores, to objects as mundane as a tissue box. But memorizing each and every color combo you come across, is, let’s face it, totally impossible. Luckily, there’s an easier way to collect the gorgeous shades that surround us: A new app called Swatches.
Swatches is designed to make identifying colors easy and convenient for anyone with a passion for hues. With over 33,000 colors in their reference library, this app is extremely useful for building color palettes from scratch or pulling color inspiration from your surroundings. And best of all: It’s free!
So here’s how it works: Say you want to mimic a color palette you saw in a piece of art, photo or bedspread (really, whatever object you want!) in your next coloring page. All you have to do is open the app on your smartphone, point the camera at the object, and the sampling begins immediately with a live “pointer”. The pointer does the work for you by updating colors in real time as you move your camera around the object. Once you have a color you want to keep, tap anywhere on the screen and it will be saved as a swatch at the bottom of your screen. Whether it’s one or twenty colors you want to capture, Swatches’ live pointer will detect any hue you hover over while the app is open (without any added annoyances)—it’s really that simple! In a hurry? Snap a quick photo and use the app to pull out the colors later when you have time. When you upload photos into the app, you’re then able to move your pointer around the image to select your desired colors.
Depending on your lighting situation, Swatches allows you to manually adjust the white balance and exposure for maximum color accuracy. Once all of your hues are in your bank, they can then be grouped into color palettes—perfect for future color inspiration for your next project!
But perhaps the coolest feature of this app is the information that corresponds to each color. This includes details like RBG values, hex codes, Pantone numbers, and even the closest matching Benjamin Moore paint number for all 33,000 colors in their library. So not only do you get a specific color swatch and name, you get everything you need to match that color in paints or design programs like Photoshop. How freakin’ cool is that?! And if you’re eager to share that perfect shade of Ceris Red you’ve just found, Swatches seamlessly connects to social media.
While Swatches (sadly) doesn’t include names of matching colored pencil or marker shades in the app, there is a way you can still compare colors to your tools. For example, the Prismacolor website lists the RGB code for each pencil or marker color they sell, which means you could match the RBG value from your swatch to your colored pencils, helping you bring your color inspiration from real life to your designs! Download Swatches here to begin building your own pleasing color schemes and discover colors in a new way.