Unlike graphic utilities, color tools and utilities are not a dime a dozen on the Mac.
There are dozens, some are free, some have hefty price tags. New on my Top 5 Color Tools list is a Tangerine from Australia.
My graphic and image tools are basic these days. Photoshop and Fireworks take primary place on my Mac with GraphicConverter a close second.
Outside of those tools, I have a baker’s dozen Mac utilities which perform one task or another a little better than most, not including a variety of plugins.
For example, I’ve used Color Consultant Pro for many years. It may not be the ultimate color wheel, but I don’t know of any shortcomings and it delivers a superb variety of colors options for my monochromatic eye, and worthy of the $30 price tag.
Near the middle of the scale is Painter’s Picker, which fits into the Mac’s color pickere tool, making it available in nearly every Mac application which uses color.
Yes, there’s another artist’s color wheel, but Color Picker adds utility beyond the complementary colors, analogous colors, etc., including controls for HSB, hue, saturation, and brightness.
Fully at the other end of the scale (as in free beer) is the venerable and much loved iPick. Besides having the coolest color logo, iPick gets you access to Apple’s color picker so you can convert colors to HTML hex values.
There’s a bit of a monochromatic color wheel built in to iPick. I’m certain they put that in just for me and my eye’s lack of color coordination. Better yet is the price. You gotta love free.
Both are useful, both let you create color schemes and save for later use.
What I’ve really needed for many years was a color utility that worked inside Apple’s color picker in OS X, and worked individually with the applications I use, such as Fireworks and Photoshop.
What I found was a nifty little utility called Tangerine that goes beyond basic color and provides for a color workflow that adapts to each individual graphics application.
Simply put, Tangerine takes the best of the color picker utilities, gives you multiple palettes, and yet works within each graphic application. The limitations of color picker are set aside, letting applications share palettes.
This is no easy task, as most Mac applications, despite the uniformity of the color picker, handle implementation of graphic commands and settings differently.
Tangerine has shortcuts which apply single click functions to a graphic. For example, click the modifier key to drop a palette color onto a border, or into a vector graphic. Fill, stroke, background and foreground are all available from a single set of tools within each major Mac graphic application.
That speeds up work flow something fierce, as you can easily keep track of color palettes between applications and projects.
Tangerine also provides color management tools for programmers, for web site developers, all with drag and drop or single click efforts. Colors can be dropped into Java, REALbasic, Objective-C, and other languages which need hexadecimal color syntax.
For the rest of us, Tangerine creates a uniform, simplified color palette that works painlessly between and within Mac graphic tools.
This attractive Mac color tool comes with Action Libraries for many popular Mac applications, including Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks, and Flash.
At $40, Tangerine becomes the most expensive tool of my Top 5 Color Utilities, but the one that’s quickly getting used the most because of the ability to function well and place nice right inside other applications. That speeds up my work.
What about you? Do you use one of the various color utilities or tools for the Mac? What’s your favorite and why? Share your experience with other Mac360 readers in the Comments section below.