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Color Pickin Chooser Pro
Tricks & Tips..

These tips are plucked directly from Color Pickin Chooser Pro's own built-in Tips system. You may find them easier and more convenient to read in a nice web page, so here they are! All Seventy-odd of them!

Itstory bits and more tricks and tips!..

The first improvement over the regular system chooser is the color picker itself. As well as a standard Windoze type color picker, you can load any old image into there, and a few samples are provided. You can throw more images into the picker images folder manually, or simply drag and drop images into the chooser itself. Sub-folders inside the pickers folder will be grouped that way in the context menu.

You can also select an existing folder of images, and use those as your color pickers. There's a context menu on the picker image itself. Right- click there for all the fun.

screenshot image of Color Pickin Chooser displaying lots of red

I still wanted to keep things simple, maybe even simpler, but there were a couple of features I couldn't do without, and a few new things I wanted badly, in my own color picker..

One thing that annoys me about using the Windoze color picker in my apps is that I can't get it to remember custom colours. And what I really want is groups of custom colours. So now we have all that. It's all so simple I won't go into details. Of course, all your color groups are remembered.

You can also import colours from other ini files. Simply drag and drop any old ini file onto the color groups input, and the Color Pickin Chooser will scan it for color preferences, converting any it finds into valid color groups. It will even retain the original section names, so you could chuck on, for instance, your schemes.ini (from corz clock), and VOILA! you have a handful of new color groups along the lines of "green meanie", and "the blues". Select one of the new groups, and all the colors for that clock will appear, along with their correct names. Pretty neat.

And for that killer function finale, you can also drag entire folders onto the color groups combo, and the Color Pickin Chooser will scan the entire folder for ini files and load any color it finds anywhere into a cpc color group. Beware, if you drop your root folder into the Color Pickin Chooser, it may take a moment or two. In reality, this functionality is more for storing and sharing schemes than it is for plucking schemes out of thin air, though it does that rather well, and my own program files folder threw up a few interesting schemes. I also had to delete heaps (which is a trivial matter, thanks to the 500 item combobox history).

screenshot image of Color Pickin Chooser displaying x-ray of Homer Simpson's brain, and lots of blues

You can also drag images into the picker image and have them imported into your picker images folder and set as the current images. A new folder called "Imported" is created inside your picker images folder; a way to keep imported images together in the context menu, and a place to keep them until you organise them better; if that's your bag.

Actually, you can drag and drop images or inis or folders onto either the groups control OR the main image; everything being worked out internally. I aim for looseness of intent in all human-program interactions.

If you right-click any of the group controls, you can access the color group menu, which includes the export features. You can export your colors as either Color Pickin Chooser group (ini) files, JASC compatible color palettes (ready to use in any jasc palette-capable application; Paint Shop Pro, MicroAngelo, MMJ, or whatever), and Gimp palettes, which are simply the best palette format out there.

Another thing I couldn't do without was the luminance bar. I personally like to select a primary color and then create a family of colours by choosing different luminance levels, basically lighter and darker versions of the same color - handy for making schemes, for all sorts of things. I also wanted it better than the system version, smoother. This was a nice wee challenge.

screenshot image of Color Pickin Chooser displaying a basic set of colours and a standard color picker image

The math for calculating luminance from RGB levels is nasty, and the thought of hundreds of calculations on every update - yikes! However, I devised a much simpler and quicker way to do it. All a luminance bar is, basically, is a gradient from white to black, passing through the selected colour. So, instead of all the repetitive math, we need to simply draw two gradients, one from the colour to black, and the other from the color to white. TADA! Shift-Click that baby for big fun. It can also be "live" (F5).

Initially I was using the AutoIt drawing functions to draw the gradient, but as well as refreshing the whole GUI with every update (the flashing knobs!) it would cause everything to slow down, exponentially. Within a minute of using the chooser, the magnifier was completely unusable, for instance. Oh yeah, there's a the magnifier, too. I'll get back to that.

No doubt, the funkiest color chooser on planet Earth!

Foibles/Behaviours:

When keying in colors manually (via decimal RGB values, or hex), you need to activate an input for the change to take effect. Tabbing to the next input, clicking anywhere, and hitting enter, are all ways to activate an input.

The color wells are stored in no particular order, so when you add a color by clicking an empty color well it is tagged on the end, even if that wasn't the well you clicked. I should mention; clicking empty color wells is the slowest way to add colors. (shift-pick, or use F2/Enter)

Everything else is a feature!

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