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How To Generate Colour Palettes With Palettable, Colormind, And Coolors

 

Using colour palettes to generate harmonious colour schemes is a time saving process when creating digital imagery and graphics, and is especially useful when the same set of colours need to be used on a number of projects. 

 

A basic example of this could be graphics used to brand a club or store. Once the colour scheme has been established, a palette makes it easy to add the same colours to new logos, posters and whatever else comes to mind.


To help get a perspective on generating colour palettes, the subject is going to be covered in three tutorials:

In this first tutorial we'll look at three well known and easy to use online platforms, and cover the essentials of using them to start creating palettes.

Palettable

Palettable is a very straightforward website that allows visitors to generate palettes of five colours. This may not seem much, but Palettable is quite a stripped down palette generator for anyone who doesn't need bells and whistles.


1/ When the Palettable page is first opened it will display a random colour with its hex value.


2/  To edit the starting colour click on the icon below the hex value and drag the cursor within the rectangle. The cursor in the colour slider can also be dragged  to change the initial colour.

 

 

3/ When you find a colour you want to keep, hit the Like button. Hitting the Dislike button will start the process from scratch with another random colour.

 


4/ A second colour will now be displayed. Clicking the Dislike button will remove this colour and another will be suggested.

 

  

5/ As with the starting colour, the second one can be edited by clicking the icon under the hex value.

 

 

6/ Once you've finished editing the second colour, click the Like or Dislike button again, then repeat the above steps until there are five colours. To save the palette hit the Export  button.

 


 7/ The palette can now be exported as a link or a PNG image. Although it may not be clear how the PNG file can be of any use, in the final tutorial in this series we'll be showing how the image can be used to create a Gimp palette.

 

Assuming the PNG button has been selected, now navigate to where you want the image to be saved on the PC, name it and click OK.


You've now created your first colour scheme in Palettable.

Colormind

Colormind is another simple colour palette generator, although it does have a few more features than Palettable. One thing it lacks however, is the option to export palettes. This is not much of a problem though, because by using software such as Greenshot to grab and save a defined area of the screen, this can easily be bypassed. Once a PNG of the palette has been saved, as with Palettable it can be used to create a Gimp palette.

As with Palettable, Colormind palettes are also limited to five colours.

 


1/ When Colormind is first opened a random palette will be generated at the top of the page, with the hex of each colour clearly shown. If this palette doesn't appeal, hit the Generate button for a new one.



2/ If you like just one or two colours generated in the palette, hit the padlock icon beneath the ones you want to keep before hitting the Generate button again.



3/ Each colour can be edited by clicking the icon highlighted in red above, then dragging the cursor to find a more suitable hue. The marker in the colour band can also be dragged to search for a new colour.


 

4/ The order of  the palette can be changed by clicking the arrow icons under each colour, highlighted in red.

These are essentially the main tools within Colormind that can be used to create palettes, although there is one more that allows users to generate limited palettes from images..

Generating Colour Palettes from Images With Colormind

Using images to generate colour palettes be a useful tool, and its one that Colormind can handle. The one drawback however is that again, it will only generate a palette of five colours.



1/ To the top right of Colormind is an Image Upload link button.



2/ This page will open. Hit the Image Upload button to the left.



3/ The image will load under the palette.



4/ Five colours from the image will be displayed in the palette. 



5/ There aren't any options to edit the palette, but if the Generate button is clicked another selection of colours from the image will make up a new palette.

Coolors 

 

 

Of the three online colour palette generaters discussed here, Coolors has the most comprehensive features, and whilst the other two are good for creating limited palettes quickly, this option far out strips them. In fact the only real downside to Coolors is the small screens that appear the first time its opened. After that, apart from a few small advert windows that can also be closed, they won't appear again, (Coolors is free to use, so I don't blame the owner for trying to make a little ad revenue from it).

 

1/ To start creating a colour palette, hit the Start the generator button, show above.




2/ When the generator is opened a random pallette is displayed, along with its hex and colour name.



3/ Hover the cursor over a colour and a column of icons appear: 

  • The padlock locks a colour, so the generator can find other matching colours.
  • The double squares icon copies the hex value.
  • The double headed arrow enables a colour to be dragged to a different position in the palette.
  • The star saves the colour to favourites
  • The grid icon displays a range of shades of the colour within the column. Clicking one of the shades will replace the original colour.
  • The X removes the colour from the palette.

 


4/ If you know the hex of a colour that you'd like to form a palette from, click the hex shown in any column in the palette. In the window that opens, add the new hex.



5/ Click the padlock icon in the same column to lock the colour. Now hit the spacebar on the keyboard to generate a palette.


 

6/ A new palette will be displayed, including the locked colour originally added from the hex.


 

7/  When a new palette is generated, each colour you want to keep can be locked. Hit the spacebar again, then lock each colour you want in the palette. If more colours are needed, hover the cursor over the border of two colours and a plus sign will appear. Click it and another column will be added to the palette. Altogether, there can be ten colours in the palette. Repeat these steps until you have all the colours you want.



8/ Towards the top right of the Coolors page is an Export button. Click it and the above window will open, with a lot more options than Palletable and Colormind. However, we're still going to use the export image option.

 

  

9/ This window will now open with the options to name the palette and select a color space.  Here we've stuck with hex. Under Labels each colour can be named.

 

When you're ready, hit Export. Navigate to where you want to save the palette to on the PC, then hit OK.

 

 Generating a Colour Palette From An Image With Coolor

This is another fully formed feature of Coolor, which allows users to generate colour palettes from images. Although the full range of image colours won't be included in the palette, up to ten can be, and all colours can be edited.
 

 1/ Towards the top middle of the Coolors page is a camera icon. Click this to start creating a palette from an image.



2/ The above window will appear. Navigate to where the image is stored on the PC then drag it onto the window.



3/ The image will load into the window with a palette of five colours.


 

4/ Click on a colour in the palette then click on an area of the image, and the colour under the cursor will replace the original.


Dragging the slider handle, (bottom of the window), will scroll through colours of the palette generated from the image. The circle in the image will move to the position of the colour as you scroll. Whilst many colours will be displayed as you scroll, its worth remembering only ten can be exported as a palette.

 

Click on the + icon to add more colours to the palette, and the minus icon to remove them.



5/ When you're ready to export the palette hit Next, top right. From the drop down list hit Export Palette.



19/ The Export window will open again with the same export options as before. Just follow the same steps as above to save the palette.



Thats all there is to generating palettes online and saving them to your PC. Although all of the palettes here have been exported as images, they easily can be converted to palettes in graphics software such as Gimp, and we'll be covering this in the third and final tutorial in this series.


As a final note, palettes can also be exported from Coolors as a colour scheme alongside the image it was generated from. Instead of clicking on Export Palette from the drop down menu mentioned above, select Create Collage. Play with the options in the window that opens, and when you're ready hit Export

 

In the second in this series of colour palette tutorials we'll be looking at free palette generating software called Cyotek Palette Editor.

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An Introduction To Michael S. Scherotter's Kinetic Typography App Part 2

 


Since creating the simple kinetype above to promote my DJ sets, a number of people have shown an interest in how it was made. The end result is this tutorial that walks readers through creating a kinetype using Michael S. Scherotter's Kinetic Typography app

 

This tutorial is in fact the second of a two part look at Michael's app. Part one focused on the pros and cons of choosing the app over alternatives such as Adobe After Effects, as well as introducing the elements of the user interface. Looking over part one here will make following this part much easier.

Creating A Kinetype

Creating a kinetype (or Kinetic typography video) using Michael S. Scherotter's app is not that difficult, although there are a number of steps involved, most of which consist of setting up the text prior to animation. When using this app you'll no doubt come across a few bugs, but by following this tutorial you'll learn how to overcome or work around them.

The images here can be clicked to view full size.



1/ Open the Kinetic Typography app, and after the splash screen click the Settings icon, top left, six down (the cog icon). 

In the space provided enter the number of seconds each word or phrase will appear on the timeline. Its not too important to be precise because this can (and will) be changed later. Here 10 seconds has been added. 

In the frames per second window 30 has been chosen. Since this is going to be an animated gif, 30 is more than enough.


2/ Click the pencil icon, top left, four down to open the edit window. This is the beginning of your kinetype. The default size is 640 X 480, but we're going to change this soon.
 

 3/ Towards the right of the Viewer is the Phrases Panel. Type or paste a phrase into this space and hit Enter before typing the next.

 
4/ Once all the phrases have been added, hit the Save Phrases button. Each phrase will appear on the timeline as a blue block. Looking at the timeline we can see each block lasts for 10 seconds, since thats what we selected earlier.

 
5/ Sometimes the timeline can appear compressed making it difficult to read. To expand the timeline, click on the number to the bottom right, (it typically says 20. Here it says 70  because we've adjusted the slider). A slider will appear as above. Drag it until you're happy with the timeline's appearance.
 

The Kinetype Properties Tab 

 

 1/ We're now going to make some basic edits to the kinetype. Towards the top right there is a vertical menu of four icons. Select the first and three tabs will appear, with the Kinetype Properties tab being active. 


2/ Looking at the image above it can be seen that in the relevant spaces a title for the kinetype has been added, as well as a size for the output video, and a background colour. 
 
The font settings have been left because each phrase will be edited seperately. (Editing font details here doesn't seem to make any difference anyway - our first bug encounter).


3/ To save the settings created so far, hit the first icon bottom right, then hit Save. This app is not 100% stable and can behave in unexpected ways at times, so its important so save often to avoid having to start from scratch.
 

Editing The Text

 


1/ Before we start to animate the text we're going to edit the font, size and colour of each phrase.
 
In the example here, we'll start with the phrase (or word) 'DJ'. 
 
Click on the first blue block that represents the word 'DJ' on the timeline. The tabs to the right will close. Click anywhere away from the blue block, then click the block again. (Another one of those bugs mentioned earlier). Now click on the second icon down from the vertical menu to the right. 
 

2/ The phrase editor will now be visible. In the spaces available enter the font style, size and colour for each phrase in turn.
 

 3/ To edit the text colour, either add the hex in the colour space, or click the coloured square next to it. A window will open where you can select a colour.
 
Repeat these steps for each phrase so they're the size, font and colour you want. 
 

Organising  The Timeline

 

 1/ In this kinetype each phrase in turn enters the screen from out of frame, then when all phrases are in position they pause before exiting again. 
 
What we'll do then is position each phrase where it will stop before exiting. This way we can arrange all the phrases in a block and see how they fit together.
 
Once the size of each word has been decided we can move them in place in the Viewer window by grabbing each in turn with the cursor, holding down the right mouse button, and dragging them into position. We can now see if any fine tuning is needed.
 
Because we have manually positioned each phrase into place, this becomes their starting positions.
 
2/ This step isn't strictly necassary, but I find it makes things more organised and easier to edit. 
 
Grab the red handle at the end of the first blue block, and drag it. The block will extend. Keep dragging until it covers most of the timeline. Repeat for all of the blocks.
 
To move each blue block along the timeline, select it, hold down the right mouse button and drag it with your cursor.
 
 
 
3/ Making sure all the phrases are where you want them before beginning any animation reduces the risk of losing track of what you're doing. The best way to do this is to edit the 'to' keyframe of each word so it matches the 'from' keyframe. 
 
If you don't do this and test run the project (by clicking on the play icon, bottom left), you'll likely see the words drift within the Viewer.

4/  In the above image the keyframes for the word 'DJ' are highlighted in yellow.

Click on the 'from' keyframe. The top line is: T: 36px, -3px,  0px

This represents the co-ordinates measured in pixels for the word 'DJ' in the Viewer. If the word was moved to a new position the co-ordinates would also change. 

 

5/  Now look at the Translate settings under the Keyframes tab, top right. You'll see the numbers are identical to those of the 'from' keyframe's top line. The first number is the x co-ordinate, and the second is the y co-ordinate, (we don't need to worry about the z co-ordinate here). 

 

To move a phrase (or word) we can edit its x and y co-ordinates under the Keyframe tab. If both the 'from' and 'to' keyframe co-ordinates are the same, the word will be static. If they're different, the word will start at the 'from' keyword co-ordinates then move to the co-ordinates of the 'to' keyframe.

 

As we have already said, we want to start with static keyframes before adding any animation. 

 

In the example kinetype here it was much easier to start with the keyframes set to the position where all the phrases form a block. It was then clear where each word would move to at the beginning of the kinetype, and where they would move from at the end. This will become more apparent later.


Editing The Keyframes

 
1/ Select the block in the timeline that represents the first word or phrase. Here its the word 'DJ'.

2/ Click on its 'to' keyframe to select it.

3/ In the Keyframe tab, top right, type in the x co-ordinate of the 'from' keyframe, into the space for the x co-ordinate of the 'to' keyframe. 
 
4/ Now type in the y co-ordinate of the 'from' keyword into the space for the y co-ordinate of the 'to' keyword. 
 
The 'from' and 'to' keyframes should now be the same.
 
5/ Repeat this for all the phrases in the kinetype, so they are all static. 

Software bugs 

A couple of bugs in the Kinetic Typography app have already been mentioned, but there are a few more to watch out for.
 
One bug that can make arranging phrases a little tricky occurs when one phrase is selected, and for no reason the others disappear from the viewer. The easiest way to deal with this is to use the slider towards the bottom of the app and drag it. This usually fixes the problem, although it does need to be done quite often.

Another bug you may come across happens when a phrase is dragged into position in the viewer, but leaves another version of itself in the place it was moved from. One way to clear this is to save the project, close the app, reopen it, and open the project again. Its tedious but at least the app starts up again quickly.

One more bug to look out for is, when you try to drag a phrase into position in the viewer but it won't move. Usually if you click on something else and wait a few seconds this sorts itself out and the phrase can then be moved.
 
This may not count as a bug, but there is also something wrong with the app's ability to generate keyframes. Usually when creating digital animations the software allows you to  give an object as many keyframes as needed. However, this doesn't seem to be the case with this app. Although its possible to create 'from' keyframes, it appears only one 'to' keyframe can be created for each object. Also, whilst its possible to create a keyframe as a percentage of the timeline, the smallest fraction possible is 1%. For the kinetype we're creating here, 1% is not precise enough as the object will move too slowly.

Because of this a work around needs to be used, which involves creating three objects for each word, (an object here refers to the blue blocks that represents a word on the timeline).  The first object animates a word into the frame, the second keeps it static for a given period of time, and the third animates it out of the frame. We're now going to look at how to do this.

Animating The Text

 


1/ Create a copy of the first word or phrase directly under the original, in this case its the word 'DJ'. Since the app has no copy and paste function we need to do this manually.
 
2/ Click on the Edit Phrases button, and just under the word 'DJ' type DJ again.

3/ Hit the Save Phrases button. Another blue block will appear in the timeline that represents this new instance of the word 'DJ'.
 

 
4/ If you see a blank space where the word should be, its more than likely because the app has placed the block at the very end of the timeline. 
 
Grab the handle at the bottom of the app that allows you to scrub through the timeline, and drag it so you can see the block. 

Grab the block with your cursor and drag it to the start of the timeline.

5/ Again, to avoid any confusion, match the 'from' and 'to' keyframes of the new word to the keyframes of the original DJ word.



 
6/ The first instance of the word 'DJ' on the timeline only has to exist for as long as the word is moving into position from out of frame. To shorten its blue block, grab its red handle and drag it to the left.

Now we can animate it to move into frame.




7/ As we mentioned earlier, if the 'from' keyframe is different to the 'to' keyframe the word will appear to move. 
 
The word's two keyframes presently make it stationary within the viewer. But if we edit the 'from' keyframe so the co-ordinates place it outside of the viewer, we will then see the word move into frame.

In this example we want the word 'DJ' to enter the viewer from the left, so firstly select the word on the keyframe. 
 
8/ Select the 'from' keyframe as in the image above. Now select the Keyframe tab from the right vertical menu.

9/ In the above image you can see that under the Keyframe tab the x co-ordinate has been edited to -550. Since the word will only be moving in one diretion, the y co-ordinate stays the same in both keyframes.

10/ you can use the handle on the slider to the bottom of the app to scrub through the animation to see how it works. 

By clicking the play button you can see the animation in real time.

11/ If the word enters the viewer too slowly, grab the red handle and move it to the left to shorten the blue block. If the animation is too fast move the handle to the right.

12/ Look at the image above to see how the two DJ blocks on the timeline touch. Positioning them like this means the word 'DJ' will appear on screen seamlessly. When watching the finished video, the word will appear to enter the frame from the right then remain stationary.
 
13/ Once you're happy with the word's animation, you can adjust the length of the block that represents its stationary position.  The longer the block appears on the timeline, the longer the word will appear motionless in the viewer. To adjust its length, simply drag the block's red handle.
 
14/ Repeat steps 1 to 13 for all words or phrases. The one difference will be the co-ordidates for each word since we want them to enter the frame in different directions. 
 
This is what you need to remember about entering co-ordinates and what direction the phrases will subsequently move in:
 
Moving The Phrase To The left
 
To move a phrase to the left, the 'to' keyword's x co-ordinate should be a smaller number than the 'from' keyword's x co-ordinate.

For example, if the 'from' keyword's x co-ordinate is 200, and the 'to' keyword's  x co-ordinate is -100, the phrase will move to the left.
 
Moving The Phrase To The Right
 
To move a phrase to the right, the 'to' keyword's x co-ordinate should be a larger number than the 'from' keyword's x co-ordinate.
 
For example, if the 'from' keyword's x co-ordinate is -100, and the 'to' keyword's x co-ordinate is 200, the phrase will move to the right. 
 
Moving The Phrase Upwards
 
To move a phrase upwards, the 'from' keywords' y co-ordinate should be a larger number than the 'to' keywords' y co-ordinate.
 
For example, if the 'from'  keywords' y co-ordinate is 200, and the 'to' keywords' y co-ordinate is -100, the phrase will move upwards.
 
Moving The Phrase Downwards
 
To move a phrase downwards, the 'from' keywords' y co-ordinate  should be a smaller number than the 'to' keywords' y co-ordinate.
 
For example, if the 'from'  keywords' y co-ordinate is -100, and the 'to' keywords' y co-ordinate is 200, the phrase will move downwards.

The best way to see this in action is to set up a phrase in the Kinetic typography app and add co-ordinates to make it animate in different directions.

Here, we are using basic up/down, left/right movements, but you can experiment by changing both x and y co-ordinates together to create diagonal movements.
 
Other kinds of animations to experiment with include rotation and scale. In fact in the example used here there are words that have been rotated. However, as the rotation is not animated, by now you should have realised this is because the rotation values for the 'from' and 'to' keyframes are the same.
 

The Timeline

Staggering the words' corresponding blocks on the timeline a little controls when each phrase appears in frame. Look at the timeline on the image below and you'll see that after one word entered the frame and became stationary, another begins to enter. This way each phrase enters the frame relatively quickly, one after another.
 
To move a block on the timeline, grab it with your cursor and drag it into position.
 

Animating Phrases Exiting The Viewer

 

The process of animating the text so it moves out of frame is very much the same as animating it into frame. We start by adding another copy of the phrase to the Phrases Editor, directly below the original. We then follow all of the steps above, except we edit the keyframes so the text moves out of frame. 
 
Because of the way we set up each phrase and their keyframes, the main difference between animating text out of frame, rather than in to frame, is that we now we edit the 'to' keyframes, rather than the 'from' keyframes. Apart from this, the process is the same.
 

Exporting The Kinetype

 

To Export the kinetype, hit the Save icon, then select Export. Navigate to where you want to export it to, name it then hit Export File.

Converting The Kinetype To An Animated Gif 



 
Converting the kinetype to an animated gif is in no way necassary, but as this example was going to be used to promote my DJ sets on Facebook, gif proved to be the best file format. If this very short Avi file was uploaded to almost any online platform it would run once and stop, which would not be too impressive.

Animated gifs uploaded to Facebook would also just run once, but when added to a platform such as Giphy or Tenor, and the link is posted to social media, the animation will loop as its supposed to.
 
There are many ways to convert movie files to gifs (and visa versa), but some are better than others. There are websites such as EZGif  and Online-Convert that will do this, but often such sites limit the size of file that can be uploaded. There is also limited control of the quality of the exported file.



As well as online platforms, there are small apps that will convert movie files to animated gifs. One of the best is Giffing Tool. There is a free version of this app that will leave a small watermark at the bottom of the gif, as well as a pay what you want version that removes the watermark. (Just a small hint: product watermarks make anything look amateurish).

1/ To use Giffing Tool, play the exported kinetype in a media player

2/ Start Giffing Tool and hit New
 
3/ Drag a rectangle over the part of the monitor you want to record (ie, the media player screen)

4/ Press Esc to stop recording. The recorded area will now appear in a window in Giffing Tool ready for editing. Typical edits might include, removing sections of the animation so it loops smoothly, changing the image size of the exported gif, and adjusting the frame rate.

5/ When you're ready hit the Save button (fourth icon down on the vertical menu, left), and you're done.

 Whichever method you choose to convert a movie file to an animated gif, the important thing to remember is the size of the gif file needs to be kept as small as possible. This is the entire purpose of gifs, and converting movie files into huge gif files is just absurd.

This pretty much covers the basics of using Michael S, Scherotter's Kinetic Typography app. Although this tutorial is not extensive, it covers enough to get you creating kinetypes, whilst allowing enough room for more exploration and experimentation with the app. Have fun creating your own kinetypes and feel free to share your animations with me on Facebook.
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