How to Use Adobe Color Themes

How to Use Adobe Color Themes

Color Grading in Photoshop using Adobe Color Themes

One of my favorite tools in Photoshop is  Adobe Color Themes.  It is a neat little extension that helps you build color palettes around a central color that you have in mind.  It can be very helpful in any sort of design work (which I usually need a lot of help with).

Adobe Color Themes has replaced the Kuler Extension found in CS 6.  If you are looking for Kuler in CC you won’t find it, you’ll see Color Themes instead.  Likewise, if you are looking for Color Themes in CS6, you won’t find it, it is called Kuler in CS6.  Either way, the functionality is the same.

Adobe Color Themes is basically a Color Theory engine.  You can select a color and make a color palette based on your desired outcome.  From finding the perfect complimentary color to your desired color to making analagous, monochromatic, and triadic palettes, it can all be done fast in Color Themes.

Before you discredit this extension for photographers and place it only in the designer’s belt, I want you to think about its application for Color Grading your photos using Gradient Maps.  I have talked about Color Grading with Gradient Maps before on f.64  Academy, but Adobe Color Themes takes it to a new level of awesome!

In today’s tutorial, I will show you how to do some awesome color grading with Adobe Color Themes that makes designing Gradients a breeze!  We will discuss three ways that I use it to make my color grading decisions:

  1.  Using Color Themes to replace the brush palette colors to make instant gradients,.
  2. Applying a color palette to your Swatches to be used in design work and making gradients with the selective eye dropper
  3. Taking a screenshot of several palettes and using the eye dropper in the Gradient Map to make many gradients with speed and efficiency.

By entering your email address below you can unlock over 20 gradients that I have made for you to use.

Blake Rudis
Creator of f.64 Academy
Blake is a husband, father, and avid photographer whose passion for Photography led him to create f.64 Academy and f.6 Elite. He is dedicated to bringing the finest Photoshop and Photography education on the web!
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19 Comments

  1. I tried this on CS6 and nothing happens when I click on the color to load it. Are you on Brush or Color picker or? Pretty cool feature! I would love for it to work.

    Reply
    • It may be a CS6 thing. Make sure you are in the gradient map editor and you click on the color you want to apply to the tone. That should bring up the color picker.

      Reply
  2. Excellent Blake. The Snippit tip was especially appreciated. I am getting into compositing and color grading is fun but fairly slow, at least for me. This will speed it up immensely without removing the enjoyment, in fact, will increase the fun.

    Thank you again.

    PS – I bought the color theory class quite some time ago and that opened up a foggy world to me. It was like using the dehaze slider on that area of post processing for me.

    Reply
    • Woohoo! Glad I could help. The snippet technique is my go to option, so quick and I.can build a lot of gradient very quickly.

      Reply
  3. Thanks Blake! This is another very useful tutorial on gradient maps, which I am finding to be a really useful image tool in Photoshop.

    Reply
    • Awesome! I’m just glad I could help. Thanks for watching.

      Reply
  4. Hi Blake, really interesting tutorial as usual!

    You’re probably already aware of this, but another excellent ‘real life’ way of creating colour gradients is by using the incredibly powerful “Adobe Capture CC” app on your phone (Android version is here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.adobe.creativeapps.gather).

    I’ve used it occasionally to sample the same image as the actual scene I’m photographing, and then used it in a similar way to this tutorial to add ‘natural’ looking contrast to the final image.

    Reply
    • Oh very cool! I have that app, I’ve never thought to use it like that. Absolutely genius!

      Reply
      • Thanks! Mind you, the way I was using the uploaded swatches/gradients wasn’t as streamlined and elegant as the method you outline in the tutorial, I’ll be using this way a lot from now on.

        Reply
  5. How do you unzip the file into photoshop/extensions

    Reply
    • These are not part of the extension. They are part of the Gradient Editor. The instructions to install the gradients are in the Zip file. The Extension (Adobe Color Themes) is separate from the Gradients.

      Reply
      • Thanks for the info

        Reply
  6. hello love your video try it on cs6 on kuler nothing happen i tried when i was on the brush and the gradient tool still nothing happens love to be able to do this
    thanks for sharing

    Reply
    • You may have to use the third method, the one where we make a screenshot of the extension palettes and make gradients from the colors there. The first 2 methods may not work with Kuler from CS6. They stopped developing CS 6 once CC came out in 2013. The nature of the beast I guess.

      Reply
  7. One of the comments you made was regarding B&W. You mentioned this was a stunning way to make B&W. Do you just use the black and white color gradient to accomplish it? Thank you. Gretchen Cole

    Reply
    • Yes, thats it! My favorite quick black and white conversion.

      Reply
  8. One of your best videos for color grading. I am finally getting the hang of it after all your instruction. Thanks for the snipit tool. I have always used FastStone Capture but can see the value of both.

    Reply
  9. Thanks for another excellent tutorial.
    Being on the color field may I ask you to prepare some tut for us how to use and what is difference among the Color Balance – Selective Color – Chanel Mixer (maybe I already asked for this topic:).
    Thanks again for your marvelous tuts:)

    Villy

    Reply
  10. Great Job!

    Reply

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