Playing with colours

I’ve been doing a bit of design work over the last week or so, which has been fun. I’m not a great graphic designer, but I can do enough to be dangerous. I enjoy having the freedom to experiment with different ideas without having to bother somebody else to do the heavy lifting.

This is the first time I’ve really got stuck into this sort of work since I switched to my Mac, so I’ve had to get used to a bunch of new tools.

Coda LogoFor HTML and CSS I’ve been using Coda, which I chose basically on the strength of its logo (see right), but which has turned out to be a nice tool. I especially like the built-in reference books, which are great for somebody like me who doesn’t spend all of their time coding and needs regular help.

http://www.panic.com/coda/

For image editing I’m using Pixelmator to replace my old favourite on Windows, Paint.net. It’s taking me a while to get used to this, and I’m not sure I’ll continue with it beyond the free demo period. I am feeling quite slow using it, and it’s missing a few of the things I use a lot – for example, it doesn’t support vectors at all so there is no rectangle tool, instead you need to select the required area and then fill in the selection which seems cumbersome when you’re doing it a lot. I’m also pretty slow with it generally, but I have a feeling that will improve once I get on top of the keyboard shortcuts etc. It’s very pretty, but I’m not sure this is the right tool for the job I have in mind.
http://www.pixelmator.com/

I’ve had a quick play with Inkscape, but it uses X11 and doesn’t really feel like an OS X application.

What other alternatives can you Mac users recommend?

(In looking around I did find a really cute tool called Scribbles. If you’re into graphic design I definitely recommend having a play with this, just to check out the smart interface, including a whole new approach to layers which seems really intuitive. It’s designed for kids, but I suspect that kids of all ages could have a lot of fun with it.)

I’ve also found a couple of other useful tool-lets which I thought I’d share (for my own future reference if for no other better reason):

At Webstock Dan Cederholm talked about basing a colour palette on a photograph from nature. This tool from De Graeve makes it easy – simply upload your image and it will pick out a range of complementary colours from the image. It even gives you the hex codes:

http://www.degraeve.com/color-palette/

They also have a simple fav icon editor:

http://www.degraeve.com/favicon/

HexPicker Preview

Robin Wood has a really useful introduction to the OS X Colour Picker, which is actually much more powerful than it first appears.

The magnifying glass and swatch drawer were both new to me.

And, what’s more the picker can be extended with third-party add-ons.

I found this from Waffle Software, which adds a simple hex picker tab (see screenshot right):

phttp://wafflesoftware.net/hexpicker/

Fun, fun!

What other tools are people out there using for this sort of thing? I’d be interested to get your suggestions.

:-)

5 comments on “Playing with colours

  1. Kristin says:

    I recently stumbled upon this web-based photoshop alternative:

    http://www.splashup.com/

    Haven’t used it much yet but do plan to. Looks pretty funky.

    :)

  2. Mark Haylock says:

    It looks like Photoshop Elements 6 is finally shipping, so its another option: http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshopelmac/ which may be the more familiar than Pixelmator (though more expensive).

  3. Here you can share your ideas about many tools which can help you in different areas like graphic design,web development.

  4. Chris Bryant says:

    In regards to putting everything together on the web, I use Transmit, also by Panic who make Coda, for FTP. After hunting around for a long time for something reliable (ie didn’t crash all the time), with some good features I find this works really well and after trialling it I bought it – thought it was well worth the small cost. It also lets you view within its own file browser “hidden” files on your computer, like .htaccess – normally not viewable in OSX because of the “.” before the name.

  5. Tim Norton says:

    I love that logo, its funny how much a well designed logo, and product makes you feel really good about the business and just want to use there stuff

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