If you’ve ever customized a slideshow in ProShow, you’ve probably run across the color picker. It is used in over a dozen places for everything from drop shadows to image colorization. It’s a simple little tool that can have a big impact. In this article, I’ll explain how to use the color picker and a few ways to get creative with this handy tool.
The color picker itself is quite compact. The currently selected color is shown in the top-right corner and is a key point of reference. This is the color that will be used when the Set Color button, found at the bottom-right corner, is clicked. You’ll also find a Cancel button at the bottom-left corner, which simply closes the color picker without applying any changes.
In the middle of the color picker you’ll see a rainbow of hues encircling a large triangle. Simply drag the node on that colorful circle around until the triangle in the middle shows the basic color range on which you want to focus. Dragging the node within that large triangle will further establish the intensity of the chosen hue, giving you a specific color.
Be aware that the top-left of that triangle is always white while the bottom-left is always black. If you’re looking for a color that is very slightly shifted from white / black, these are the regions you’re after. To get a grayscale tone, focus on the left edge of the triangle.
While dragging those nodes around you may also notice some values changing just above the Cancel / Set Color buttons. This is what you’ll use if you know the exact color you’re after. Colors can be specified here by their RGB (Red, Green, Blue) or HEX (hexadecimal) values, using the corresponding buttons to switch between the two modes. This is particularly helpful if you want to use a specific RGB or web-color. It’s even possible, from HEX mode, to set colors by name. Here is a list of color names that ProShow recognizes:
- Photodex (gold)
At the top-left of the color picker you’ll find what may be my favorite option, the eye dropper. Click on that little icon and you’ll see the mouse icon change to an eye dropper. This allows you to select any color on your monitor by simply clicking on it, just that simple. ProShow samples the color you click on and shows it to you in the color picker, along with its corresponding RGB / HEX value. If you like what you see, click the Set Color button and you’re done. You can also make further adjustments to the sampled color before deciding if it should be applied or discarded. It’s a great way to match colors between objects or set drop shadows to compliment your images. It’s also very helpful when setting up a chroma key transparency.
That pretty much covers the color picker. It’s a straight forward tool that facilitates lots of other features. There are actually over a dozen places in ProShow where a custom color can be specified. Learning how to use the color picker can really make those other features easier to handle. Here is a quick example using image colorization.
Colorizing Images with the Color Picker
Using the color picker you can easily change the color of any photo or video in your slideshow, in an instant! Drop an image or video into a new show then double click on the slide you’ve just created. From the Slide Options dialog, click on the image layer and select the Adjustments tab. Look in the bottom-right corner of that dialog for the Editing Tools section. Click the checkbox next to the Colorize option then click the Set button next to the associated color sample.
You should now see the color picker that will let you colorize that image. Click on the HEX button in that color picker then replace the hex value, shown just below that button, with the word “sepia”. See that this immediately changes your image to a sepia tone. If you like what you see, click the Set Color button and your change is applied. You can also adjust that sepia tone from the large triangle in the middle of the color picker or use the Cancel button to discard this change.
This is also a great way to make black and white versions of your images or video clips. Click on that Set button again to re-open the color picker. With your mouse, click-and-drag the node within that large triangle to the left side of the triangle. Drag the node up and down the left side of that triangle to see how your image moves through a range of grayscale values.
Setting the right custom colors in your shows can really bring things together to enhance the overall impact of your productions. Knowing how to use the color picker just makes this process easier. Whether you’re colorizing images or nailing down the perfect drop shadow, don’t be afraid to try on a few colors before settling on the right choice.