LightWave’s default color picker was renewed for 2015 and given powerful new features.
- This main area will change depending on which of the buttons below it (Red, Green, Blue, Hue, Sat., Value, Kelvin, Wave) is selected. Here we have Hue.
- This area will also change dependent on which button below is chosen. Here we can see the Hue wheel of colors, but if Sat is chosen below there will be an increase in saturation of the color chosen from bottom to top.
- This color wheel is either based on the RGB or RYB method chosen with the small swatch in the upper left corner. The two systems are based on light for RGB and the primary colors of pigment for RYB. The RYB color wheel contains a second wheel inside and holding down Shift will constrain movement around the wheel to 15 ° jumps.
- This dropdown shows different kinds of complements on the color wheel. By default it is set to Complementary , which shows the color and its opposite, but it can also show Analogous, Triadic, Tetradic and Tints and Shades as shown in the image above. There is a Custom setting too that allows the user to pick and choose colors.
- Usually a single byte is used to represent the values of a color and is therefore limited to a range of 0-255 for red, green and blue. However the LightWave Color Picker internally uses floating point numbers to store and handle colors (where 1.0 in a Floating Point numeration would be the same as 255). This allows you to use bright colors, those with values above 255 (1.0), by either entering a high number into the Red, Green or Blue numerical inputs or by using the X multiplier1. The multiplier can also be used to reduce a color by entering a number less than one. Thus 0.5 would return a color half as bright as the current color. Note: the HSV model doesn't inherently support HDR values. The Hue is 0-360 degrees, the Saturation and Value are 0.0-1.0. That's why those controls clamp to within those ranges.
- This section of the Color Picker compares the color chosen with the color that was previously attributed. The user can revert to the previous color by clicking the large swatch under the current color (the white in our example). You can also set the color as part of the permanent swatches in the lower center of the Color Picker by clicking on the Set button. If you wish to set a different swatch as the current color, Ctrl clicking on the swatch will set it. Shift clicking on a swatch will switch to that swatch without choosing its color.
The M and P buttons represent a Color Mixer or the Palette swatches. By default the Color Picker is set to the Palette swatches. If you click the M button you will see four color sliders by default, showing an approximation of your chosen color in CMYK or Subtractive values. You can Ctrl click on a mixer bar to set it to the currently-chosen color.
- These two buttons will replace the area shown in 1 with a magnified zone of the screen or a separate window with the image chosen. If you are picking from screen, s will swap between different sample sizes and holding down Shift will slow mouse movement to 1/20 to make precise picking more easy. If you are picking from an image, the image will be shrunk to fit the window, but you have alternate sizes available in the top right corner. You can change the Sample Size and the number of clicks a Sampling will be made of above the image.
- Clicking the Open Library button with expand the Color Picker sideways and offer a history of colors chosen and a set of collections that can be added to or exported in the lcl format. When the Library is open an additional button becomes available, Live Matching . This looks at what you are choosing in the Color Picker and shows the library with the closest matches. If you know roughly the color you are after this is a good way of matching the exact color from a library swatch.
- The Settings button offers a choice of Integer or Float for RGB Display Mode (0-255 or 0.0-1.0) and can set the Kelvin range, the Wavelength direction and clipping of high colors. You also have settings for the color library including how much History to keep, how color names are formatted and how close a color needs to be to be matched in the library.
Colors can be copied and pasted by clicking Ctrl RMB on the swatch, then Alt-clicking RMB on the target swatch. (On the Mac, use Option for Alt)
Ctrl right-clicking on the blue swatch, then Alt right-clicking on the green replaces it with blue.
Converting from RGB to Kelvin requires expensive processing, too much to do for every color change. Instead, RGB->Kelvin processing is done when loading the panel or when switching to Kelvin mode. This RGB->Kelvin process can also be inaccurate, for example there’s no green in the Kelvin scale.
The X Factor
The Clip High Colors to X setting only plays a part during the opening of the color picker. When enabled, and an HDR color is passed to the picker, the highest RGB component is used to normalize the color back into the 0.0-1.0 range. Then the X field is set to the value needed so that when the picker is closed the color is multiplied back to its former HDR intensity. Thus:
Incoming color: 100.0, 1.0, 1.0 (super bright red, but which just shows as white in the UI)
In the picker you'd get, RGB: 1.0, 0.01, 0.01 X: 100.0
Because the color has been normalized you'll see red (with a tiny bit of green and blue).
Changing the color to: 1.0, 0.5, 0.01 will show orange in the picker UI.
Confirming the color will apply the value in X and you end up with: 100.0, 50.0, 1.0
The color again just shows as white but is actually a super-bright orange.
You may want to try the X multiplier if you simply need to brighten a color above the 1.0 threshold, just keep in mind that the X multiplication doesn't take place until the color is confirmed and returned to the system.