Have you ever wanted to be able to save custom colors in Silhouette Studio — make your own custom color palette? Then today is your lucky day!
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The latest release of the Silhouette Studio software (4.3) adds a feature to create your own custom color palette in the Fill panel. This can really speed up your designing process. Since I ALWAYS recommend working with filled shapes, it’s nice to be able to use exact colors for a project. That helps you see how the colors interact, allows you to make better mockups, and helps you keep your pieces straight. Let me show you how to use this new feature.
Create a new Color Palette
Start by opening the Fill panel and looking below the normal grid of colors. Look for the gray bar that says New Palette Name. Click in there and give your palette a name. I called mine My New Palette.
Then click the + at the end of the line to add that to your set of custom palettes. Once you’ve done that, if you hover over the artist’s palette icon you’ll see the name of that palette.
Once you’ve got that, you’re ready to begin adding colors into your palette. Let’s look at a few different ways to do that.
Creating your own created colors
The first way to choose colors for your new palette is by creating them in the Advanced Options section of the Fill panel. You may not have ever seen this section at the bottom of the panel, but you expand it using the arrow to the left of the words Advanced Options.
Start by adding an unfilled shape to the page and selecting it. Notice the circle with a + sign in it in the rainbow hues area. To create a color for your object, you pull that circle around to whatever color you like. To alter the amount of gray in the color, use the slider bar at the right. Notice how my square is now filled with the color that’s inside the circle.
Now go back to the row of your custom color palette. There will be a + sign next to the palette symbol. Click that to add the color to the palette.
Pulling colors from a raster image
The second way to add custom colors to your palette is to pull them from a raster image such as a photo, clip art image or pattern. I’m going to use my logo as an example.
I’ve already created a new palette in the panel, added my .png image to the page and drawn a small, unfilled square. And I made sure to select my square. Then, I use the Color Picker too to grab one of the colors in the image. Since my square was selected, that fills the square with that color.
As before, I click the + next to the palette symbol in the row for this color palette to add the color.
I continued doing that until I had all the colors from my logo.
From now on, I can use this color palette to fill shapes with these colors in Silhouette Studio. I can also easily find out the HSL, RGB or Color Hex values for each in case I want to use the colors in another software program.
Using HSL, RGB or Color Hex values
That brings up another question. What are HSL, RGB and Color Hex values? These are ways that anyone who uses color can describe that color to someone else so that they get the exact same one. (Feel free to skip these descriptions if you aren’t geeky like me).
This stands for Hue, Saturation and Lightness (or Luminosity). A hue represents how a color is similar to or different from red, green, blue and yellow. It can be represented by a specific number on the color wheel. It’s the actual color. Saturation is used to describe the intensity of the color. If no gray is added to it, then it’s a pure color. The more saturated a color is, the brighter or more vivid it is. Lightness is about how much white and/or black is added to the color. Adding white makes it a tint; adding black makes it a shade.
This stands for Red, Green, Blue. Colors are described by the amount of each primary color that they have in them. In my pic just above, you’ll notice the red value is low, while the green and blue are much larger and closer to one another. That creates a greenish-blue color.
These values are a way of codifying colors for use in computers. It uses hexadecimal set of numbers. If you are a designer, then you already know about this. If not, all you need to know if that if you have a specific hex number from another source, you can input it in this section of the Fill panel.
SO… if you do have colors for which you have one of these values, you can input the numbers in this section of the Fill panel to create your custom palette colors. For example, you may be purchasing adhesive vinyl. Many manufacturer’s websites will include specific RGB values for their colors. The same goes for paint manufacturers.
Deleting a color or color palette
If you need to delete a color from your palette, hover over it, right click and select Delete Custom Color.
To delete an entire color palette, hover over the artist palette icon on that row, right click and select Delete <palette name>.
One thing that’s not perfect yet
While I do love this feature, there’s something I’m not quite pleased with yet. Although you can name your color palette, there’s not currently a way to label the names of the specific colors. For example, if you’re doing a vinyl project with 9 greens like I was recently, it can be hard to keep them straight. This is something several of us in the Silhouette Studio Beta Testing Group have asked Silhouette America to add to the feature. That would make is much more helpful. I will update this post if that happens.