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Accuracy and consistency are a big part of good graphic design. Recreating jobs for clients requires accuracy and consistency. This is very important for official documents that your clients may have and need to keep looking the same. Knowing how to create and use Color Swatches in Photoshop is very important for accuracy and consistency.

A swatch is defined as a sample strip cut from a piece of material, a representative portion, or a sample. A swatch is also defined as a small piece of cloth used as an example of the color and type of the cloth. In graphic designing, a swatch is a little sample of colors, gradients, or patterns that are saved for sampling. In Photoshop swatches are square samples of colors that are used to save colors for use, the swatch panel is at the top right of the workspace.  Photoshop has default color swatches that can be used. Photoshop also offers the option for users to create and save custom color swatches.

Create and use Color Swatches in Photoshop

Custom color swatches can be used to save the color of items such as plants, fruits, seasons, logos, etc. creating custom swatches is also important for accurate color reproduction. For example, when you look at a ripe sweet pepper (bell pepper) you realize that there are different shades to the color. These colors are based on the ripeness of different sections, how the light hits the pepper, the direction of the light, and so on. Even the stem will have different shades, this means that the swatch will have to be created and labeled to take into consideration all these factors. You would create the swatches and give descriptive names so you know where each would fit when you are recreating a copy of the object.

Open the Image to be samples

Delete Default Swatches

Sample color

Save color to swatches panel

Save swatches as set

Return default swatches

Using your custom swatches

1] Open the Image to be sampled

Observe the image and take note of all the different shades that are there. If you need to reproduce this image, you will need to reproduce all the colors as accurately as possible.

2] Delete Default Swatches

Before saving your custom swatches, you should delete the default swatches. This will help to make it easier to make and group your custom swatches. The default swatches can be returned as they are not fully deleted, they are only removed from display.

To delete the default color swatches, go to the swatches panel and delete each color swatch. Photoshop does not have a button to delete all swatches so you can delete them one by one or go through the Preset manager.

You will be asked to confirm the delete, press Ok to confirm, or Delete to cancel.

The Preset manager window opens and you will see the color swatch.

3] Sample color

4] Save colors to swatches panel

Give the color a descriptive name and press Ok to confirm or Cancel to dismiss. If you press Ok the color will be placed on the swatch panel.

You can hover over the color in the swatches panel with the mouse and you will see the name of the color you sampled.  Use the eyedropper tool to keep sampling all the colors you need and add them to the swatches panel.

This is what the color swatches panel looks like with the colors from the sweet pepper. You could get more or fewer colors, but that will be dependent on how detailed you want to make your artwork when you decide to reproduce a sweet pepper. The colors can also be used for different artworks that you want to color.

5] Save swatches as a swatch  set

Now that you have all the colors that you need you can make save the colors as a swatch set. That is like saving them in folders.

The Save dialogue box will appear and you type the name you want for the group of colors. Choose a descriptive name for the group. This group will be named Red Sweet Pepper so that it is easy to remember what it is for.

6] Return default swatches

Now that the custom swatches have been made and grouped, it is time to bring back the default swatches.

From the drop-down menu, choose Reset swatches.

7] Using your custom swatches

How to use swatch colors for foreground and background color?

Read: How to make a Color Photo look like a Sketch in Photoshop CS6

How do I create a custom color Swatch?

To create a custom color Swatch in Photoshop, you need to have the subject first. Then, you can cut a portion of the image that you want to use as the source of colors. Following that, you can use the Swatches panel to save the colors at once. For your information, you can find your custom Swatch in the Swatches section on the right-hand side.

You're reading How To Create And Use Color Swatches In Photoshop

How To Create & Use Color Swatches In Photoshop

Choosing colors is one of the most important things to do in a graphic design project. Using Color Swatches in Photoshop, you avoid losing colors you spent so much time choosing because they will always be available for future use once they’re saved there.

In this article, you will learn what color swatches are, how to create them, and where to find new color swatches to use in your projects.

What Is A Color Swatch In Photoshop?

Have you ever fallen in love with a color and wanted to save it somewhere for future use? Whether you came up with the color yourself or saw it in a photograph, you don’t need to write their codes down in a notepad because Photoshop has a panel dedicated to storing colors.

Color Swatches are sets of colors stored in a panel that you can easily access. They help create palettes and can also keep your favorite colors handy.

How To Create A Color Swatch In Photoshop

To create a color swatch in Photoshop, you must pick some colors and store them correctly. You can do this in a few simple steps.

Step 1: Locate The Swatches Panel

The Swatches panel is located on the right side of the workspace, next to the Colors panel.

The colors you used last in Photoshop are at the top of the Swatches panel. Photoshop stores those colors for your convenience.

Below those swatches are folders with Photoshop’s default color swatches.

They are basic color swatches suitable for various projects, such as the Grayscale folder, which contains various shades of gray.

The default swatches can come in handy, but the best thing about color swatches is the possibility of creating your own swatches. 

Step 2: Open An Image You Want To Draw Colors From

Now, you need to choose colors for your group of swatches. The easiest way to do this is to sample colors from an image.  To do this, open the photo from which you want to take colors in Photoshop.

Step 3: Create A Folder In The Swatches Panel

The new folder will appear in the Swatches panel.

Step 4: Select The Eyedropper Tool

Now, grab the Eyedropper Tool (I) from the Toolbar.

Step 5: Sample A Color And Add It To The Group Of Swatches

The color you sampled will appear in the foreground swatch in the Toolbar. When that happens, the color will be ready to be added to the Swatches panel.

You can also check the Add to my current library checkbox. This will save the new swatch in your Adobe library, which is helpful if you need to use the color swatch on another computer or share it with someone.

Your folder will now contain the new swatch.

Keep creating new swatches until you have all the desired colors stored in the Swatches panel. In my case, I chose six colors that composed my palette inspired by the image. 

How To Delete Unwanted Color Swatches

When creating color swatches, you may add more colors than necessary or notice that your color swatches have too many similar colors. Whatever the case may be, deleting color swatches is very easy.

To do this, simply select the color swatch you want to remove.

How To Install Color Swatches Into Photoshop

Color swatches are never too much. Whatever project you are working on, having a variety of color palettes to choose from can save you hours of brainstorming.

There are many places you can find color swatches to download. However, I recommend you use the ones from the Adobe Color website. This website offers a wide range of free color swatches compatible with Photoshop.

I will walk you through how to find color swatches to download on Adobe Color.

Right on the Home page, you can find a color wheel that you can use to make your color palettes from scratch. You can combine complementary colors, colors analogous to one another, and so on. I recommend you use this resource if you have a good grasp of color theory. 

However, you can get color swatches quickly in the Explore and Trends sections, which contain ready-to-use palettes.

In the Explore section, you can find palettes from various colors, some with and others without their photo references. 

You can also search for palettes using keywords. For example, when I typed ‘desert’ in the search bar, the website showed me palettes with warm colors.

The Trends section includes pallets that are popular in different creative industries, such as fashion.

After finding your favorite color swatches, you will need to install them so they can appear in the Swatches panel in Photoshop.

On the download page, look for the Download as ASE link on the right side of the screen to download the color swatch you chose.

As you saw here, using color swatches allows you to store your favorite colors and create your own palettes. Since I’m always working with colors in my creative projects, the swatches panel has proven helpful for my workflow. I hope you can also make the most of this feature. 

How To Easily Create & Use Square Brushes In Photoshop

Photoshop has a dizzying variety of brush tips and styles you can use in your projects, but one brush that adds a unique effect to any project is a square-shaped brush. Square brushes allow you to draw in a boxy style perfect for any projects involving a pixelated appearance. Although you can import square brush packs, an easier method is to load Photoshops legacy brushes.

Sometimes, though, you may want to expand your brush collection or simply create a customized square brush. So, whether you’d rather load Photoshop’s preset square brushes or make your own, the process doesn’t have to be difficult. Let’s break down how to use and make square brushes in Photoshop. 

How To Load Square Brushes Into Photoshop

Square brushes used to come ready-to-use in Photoshop, but updated versions of the software require you to manually load the brushes for use. 

The brush folder that contains square brushes is called Legacy Brushes, and you can easily load the pack in order to use the brushes without leaving the software. Otherwise, if you aren’t happy with the Legacy brush options, there are plenty of square brush packs that you can download off the internet for free and load into Photoshop to use. 

So let’s explore the different options for square brushes and how to use them.

Option 1: Using Legacy Brushes

There are 18 different square brushes ranging in width from 1 pixel to 24 pixels. The bigger the size, the more clearly you’ll see a pixellated effect. Let’s test out the 20-pixel option.

Now you have a fun pixellated effect, which is especially visible when you’re painting diagonal lines. Now, what if you want more options for square-shaped brushes beyond what Photoshop has built-in? 

Option 2: Using A Free Square Brush Pack

Another way you can access a variety of square brushes is to download a free brush pack online and load the brushes into Photoshop manually. This is useful as it gives you more options than just the basic Legacy brushes, but it requires less effort than creating your own brush.

To load them into Photoshop, first, make sure the brush tool (B) is enabled.

Voila! Now you can use your imported brushes as you wish. This pack has some gorgeous brushes, so have fun with it.

If the brushes appear too large for your canvas, you can easily edit the brush size in the brush panel.

There are plenty of other free square brush packs available on the internet, you’ve just got to do some digging. I share some of the best sites to find Photoshop brushes in this post if you need a place to start!

How To Make Your Own Square Brush In Photoshop

If you’d really like to customize the way your brushes appear and behave, you can make your own square-shaped brushes right in Photoshop using the Rectangular Marquee tool. 

With the tool selected, hold Shift and drag to create a uniform square-shaped marquee on your canvas. Make sure the size and shape you make are similar to the size and shape of the brush tip you’d like.

You’ll see the shape on your canvas now appears filled with whatever main color your color tab is set to – mine will fill with black.

So whether you want to use the square brushes built into Photoshop, get more variety with a free brush pack from Brusheezy, or simply create your own, now you have those options! Once you have your square brushes added into Photoshop, they will operate exactly the same way as your usual brush tip presets.

Happy Editing!

How To Create Gold Text Effect In Photoshop

Photoshop has so many features to make your work stand out. You can mix and match so that you can create unique artwork. This article will teach you how to give boring text a golden look using Photoshop’s layer styles. There are so many Photoshop tips, tricks, and features that can be shared, so do come back to learn more.

How to create Gold Text Effect in Photoshop

Creating gold text effects with Photoshop can be used for logos and artwork for a variety of works. The gold text effect can be used for a jewelry company’s logo. The gold text effect is created using Photoshop’s layer styles. This is using a combination of different layer styles to achieve the desired effect. The steps involved are:

Prepare the Canvas and the Text

Apply Layer Effects

Apply Finishing Touches


1] Prepare the Canvas and the Text

The first step is to open Photoshop and create a new file. Go to File then New or press Ctrl + N on your keyboard.

Gold will shine better on a black background so change the canvas color to black.  To change the background to black go to Edit then Fill or press Ctrl + F5.

In the Fill, Dialogue box Contents section set Use option to Black then press OK.

Choose the Horizontal Type Tool from the Tools panel on the left.

Choose the font that you want to turn to Gold. Go to the menu bar at the top and choose the font from the drop-down menu. Choose the Font, make it Bold and choose size 72, this is the biggest size that can be chosen but it can always be resized after it is written.

Set the value of R, G, and B to 255, each. This will make the text white. Confirm the information in the color picker by pressing Ok. Set the text color to white so it is visible against the black background.

To resize the text, go to Edit then Free Transform or press Ctrl + T. in Photoshop CC just hold any of the corner handles and drag to the desired size. In Photoshop CS6 or earlier, press Ctrl + Shift while you hold the corner handle and drag to the desired size. In Photoshop CS6 Ctrl + Shift will cause the text to resize evenly without distorting.  In Photoshop CC, the proportions are automatically constrained so no need to hold any keys.

To center the text, hold it and drag it to the center of the canvas. Press Enter to close Free Transform.

A copy of the text will appear above the original in the Layers Panel. Both texts should be in the same spot on the canvas so that they will look like one.

2] Apply Layer Effects

To create the gold effect a gradient overlay will have to be added. The reason for the gradient is because it is a variation of colors, to get the gold effect, there needs to be a variation of colors, lights, and shadows.

In the Layers Effect menu choose Gradient Overlay.

In the Layer Style Dialogue box, change the Style of the gradient to Reflected, This will move the darker gold color to the top and the bottom of the text, with the lighter color in the middle.

Text with reflected gradient style.

In the Structure Section set Style to Inner Bevel and Technique to Chisel Hard.

Set the Angle to 1200. Turn on the Anti-aliased option to smooth any jagged edges.

To add more contrast to the effect, increase the Highlight Opacity and the Shadow Opacity to 75%.

Close up the space inside the letters by increasing the Size of the Bevel and Emboss effect, to make the text look more like solid gold.

To enhance the lighting and add more contrast to the reflection in the letters, increase the Depth Value by dragging the slider to the right. You can also place the cursor in the Depth value box and use the up or down arrow on the keyboard to increase or decrease the number. You can watch the changes in the lighting and contrast of the text.

The text is now starting to look like real gold.

Reset Inner Glow settings to default to clear any previous settings.

Change the Blend Mode to Multiply and the Opacity to 50%.

Change the Position of the gradient to Outside. Change the gradient Style to Reflected.

The text with the Original Text layer with a golden stroke.

Shadow Opacity: 75%

These are all the Bevel & Emboss settings that should be there. If not just change them.

In the Bevel & Emboss option there is also a Contour option, turn on the Contour option.

This is the text with all the outer glow effects added.

3] Apply Finishing Touches

A new layer name SPARKLES is added above the text layer.

To add the sparkle to the gold, you will need to use one of Photoshop’s brushes. Go to the Tools panel on the left and choose the Brush Tool.

Choose Assorted Brushes from the dropdown menu.

You can choose to lower the opacity of the sparkles if they are too bright, but that is optional. If you want to lower the opacity, go to the Layers Panel, and use the opacity slider to lower the opacity.

4] Save

After all that hard work it is now time to save. To get the full effect of the gold in the best possible colors, a raster image is the best option for saving. Assuming that the image will not be made very large. You could save it as a JPEG image so that it is both small and will look quite shiny. However, I would save it as a PNG to eliminate the white background that will show when it is opened.  With the background being only black, the gold effect will shine even more.

To save go to File then Save As or Shift + Ctrl + S.

Read: How to add Copyright and Contact Information to Images in Photoshop

Why is learning to Make Gold Text Important?

Learning to make gold text is essential because you can use the same principles to make other color text effects. This can be a helpful skill in making other artwork for logos, print, etc. The steps used to make the text have a golden color can be used to make other objects gold or silver, or any other color with sparkles.

Can These Steps be Used to Make Silver Text?

The principles are the same, you just need to find something that is silver so that you can sample the color to use. To get accurate colors for your artwork, you should get real examples of items and take Pictures or find them on the internet and use Photoshop to sample the colors and save them as color swatches for later use.

Remember that items do have reflections and shadows, so try to get realistic samples and sample the different aspects of the colors of the items to make your artwork look more realistic.

Why is Save for Web Different from Save As?

Save for Web has a lot of options that will make saving the artwork optimized for use on the web. You can preview the image on a webpage and even inspect it on the webpage to see the code. If you create web pages, you can copy this code to use on the webpage. There are multiple file formats in the Save for Web option, and they are optimized for use on the web. You can make more changes to get it to fit your purpose.

How can I Get Accurate Colors for Objects in the Artwork I Create?

You can get accurate colors for your artwork by creating your color swatches. Get samples of items you want to work with that you want accurate colors, and sample them to create swatches. You can also search for colors online, usually close to what you want.

However, getting the real item will show how the colors show when the light hits them. You can get the item, take a high-resolution picture, and get it on your computer. You can then use photoshop to take samples of the colors of different parts of the picture that represents different lighting. You can use these color swatches to get realistic color and lighting effects when you create your artwork.

Boost Color Contrast With A Black And White Adjustment In Photoshop

Boost Color Contrast With A Black And White Adjustment In Photoshop

Written by Steve Patterson.

Back in Photoshop CS3, Adobe introduced the Black & White image adjustment, which finally gave us an easy and natural way to convert color photos to black and white. Yet just because something was built for a specific purpose doesn’t mean we can’t find other uses for it as well, which is exactly what we’re going to do in this tutorial. Rather than using the Black & White adjustment to remove the color from a photo, we’ll learn how it can also be used, when combined with one of Photoshop’s layer blend modes, to quickly and easily make custom brightness and contrast adjustments to a full color image!

I’ll be using Photoshop CS5 for this tutorial. Since the Black & White adjustment was first added in Photoshop CS3, you’ll need CS3 or higher to follow along.

Recommended Reading: Black & White Image Adjustment

Here’s the photo I’ll be working with:

The original photo.

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Add A Black & White Adjustment Layer

Then choosing Black & White from the list of adjustment layers that appears:

Choosing a Black & White adjustment layer.

Either way adds a new Black & White adjustment layer above the image in the Layers panel:

The Layers panel showing the newly added adjustment layer (Black & White 1).

The adjustment layer will go ahead and do what it was originally designed for and convert your photo to black and white. We’ll bring the color back in the next step:

The photo has been temporarily converted from color to black and white.

Step 2: Change The Blend Mode To Soft Light

To bring color back to the image, change the blend mode of the adjustment layer from Normal to Soft Light. The Blend Mode option is found in the top left corner of the Layers panel:

Changing the blend mode of the Black & White adjustment layer to Soft Light.

The color returns to the photo. You may already notice a change in the overall contrast of the image, but we’ll make our own adjustments in the next step:

The photo is once again in color after changing the layer blend mode.

Step 3: Drag The Color Sliders To Adjust The Contrast

If you’re using Photoshop CS3, the controls and options for the Black & White adjustment layer will appear in a dialog box. In Photoshop CS4 and higher, they appear in the Adjustments panel. In either case, you’ll see six sliders, each controlling a different color in the image (from top to bottom – Reds, Yellows, Greens, Cyans, Blues, and Magentas):

Six sliders, each controlling a different color.

We can use these sliders to adjust the brightness of different areas of the image based on their color. Dragging a slider towards the left will darken all areas in the image that contain that color, while dragging the slider towards the right will brighten those same areas.

Dragging the Blues slider to the left.

And just like that, the sky now appears darker, changing the overall contrast of the image:

The blue sky has been darkened after dragging the Blues slider.

Dragging the Yellows slider to the right.

After dragging the Yellows slider, the grass and trees in my image are now lighter, again changing the overall contrast:

The image after dragging the Yellows slider.

Moving the eyedropper over the horse on the right.

Before And After

With the adjustment layer turned off, the original image re-appears in the document window:

Back to the original photo.

The edited version re-appears:

The work in progress.

Step 4: Lower The Layer Opacity (Optional)

As a final step, if you think the image contrast is now a bit too strong, you can reduce it and fine-tune the results simply by lowering the opacity of the Black & White adjustment layer. You’ll find the Opacity option directly across from the Blend Mode option at the top of the Layers panel. The further you lower the opacity value, the more the original image below the adjustment layer will show through. I’m going to lower my opacity value down to 75% or so:

Lower the adjustment layer’s opacity to fine-tune the contrast level.

Here’s my final result:

The final result.

And there we have it! That’s how to quickly and easily make specific brightness and contrast changes to a full color image using a Black & White adjustment layer! Check out our Photo Retouching section for more Photoshop image editing tutorials!

Powershell Arrays: How To Create And Use Them

Variables are the most basic data structure in any type of coding. But single variables are hardly sufficient for most purposes, especially when dealing with more complex algorithms.

That’s where arrays come in. Be it C++ or Python, arrays are present in every programming language in some form. But what about Windows PowerShell? How do PowerShell arrays work? How do you use them? What is their syntax? Let’s find out.

Table of Contents

PowerShell Arrays 101

Simply speaking, an array is just a structured collection of variables. The idea is to eliminate the hassle of keeping track of dozens of names by collapsing related variables into a numbered set.

In PowerShell, you can create a variable by prepending the $ symbol to a variable name. For example:

$prime = 13

$name = “Levin”

Now to create a new array, simply assign multiple values to the same variable, separated by commas. Like this:

$week = “Monday”, “Tuesday”, “Wednesday”, “Thursday”, “Friday”, “Saturday”, “Sunday”

Some people prefer to explicitly cast a variable into an array to avoid confusion, though that isn’t necessary. To do this, put the values into parentheses prefaced with the @ symbol.

$week = @(“Monday”, “Tuesday”, “Wednesday”, “Thursday”, “Friday”, “Saturday”, “Sunday”)

This usually comes in handy when trying to put the output of other commands into an array, where you cannot manually write them in the correct format.

Creating an Array

We’ve already seen the most common method of creating an array. But depending on the situation, there are other ways that might be more suitable. For example, if you want to create an array that contains a range of numbers, you can use the range operator:

$digits = (0..9)

This will create an array of all the ten digits from zero to nine. You can also initialize an empty array, in case you just want a place to store values later.

$values = @()

Multiple arrays can even be nested into one another, though this type of usage can get confusing very fast.

By default an array can store any variable type, be it numbers, strings, or a mix of both. But you can explicitly define a type in case you want to limit the values put in it. For example:

[int[]] $numbers = 2,3,4,5

This way, the array can only hold integers. Attempting to assign any other type of value to it will return an error. This can be useful to prevent simple errors for arrays exclusively working with numeric values, since entering a string into a variable to be used in calculations will create issues.

Accessing Arrays

So far we have seen multiple methods for creating arrays containing various types of data. But how do you go about accessing this data?

PowerShell arrays use the same format used by other programming languages. Each array variable can be accessed by its index number. For example:

$var = $numbers[5]

This will copy the value stored in the index five of the $numbers array in the $var variable. Note that array indices start counting from 0, so the first item is accessed with zero.

If we were to output this, for example:


We will get Wednesday, not Tuesday.

You can use this same method to modify these values as well. For example, the following command will change the second element of the array to zero:

$numbers[1] = 0

You can also add more elements to an existing array instead of changing the values of current entries just by adding them like an arithmetic expression.

$names += “Johny”

This method can be used to add multiple entries at once too, or even entire arrays.

$names += “Charlie, Liam, Teresa”

$names += $surnames

The comma-separated method holds for accessing multiple array elements too. Entering this, for example, stores the first five elements of $days in $weekdays.

$weekdays = $days[0,1,2,3,4]

Iterating Through Arrays

Manually accessing particular elements of an array is well and good, but if you want to perform actions on the entire contents of an array, it can get tedious. A more elegant approach is to use a For loop.

For loops can systematically go through all the elements of an array, processing each value according to instructions. This is how you can construct such a loop:

The array.Length function returns the size of the array, which is basically the number of elements in it. This can be plugged into a For loop’s test expression parameter to comprehensively iterate over all the elements.

The Foreach loop and the Foreach-object loop can do the same with an even leaner PowerShell script.

This saves you the effort of determining the array’s size, leaving the details for PowerShell to handle.

When Should You Use PowerShell Arrays

The biggest source of bugs in a complex script is incorrectly referenced variables. This happens due to the presence of a large number of uniquely named variables, which makes it difficult to remember their purpose.

The simplest fix for this issue is to use arrays extensively. All variables related in some manner can be assigned to a single array and accessed through their index numbers.

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