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Picking Colors

My father's Webster's dictionary—a 1940 model that's over half a foot thick—devoted four entire pages to describing one word: color. These pages are filled with lush descriptions of hue, tint, shade, saturation, vividness, brilliance, and much, much more. It's no wonder that choosing colors can be such a formidable task. Do you want Cobalt Blue or Persian Blue? Nile Green or Emerald? Carmine or Vermilion? Fortunately, Photoshop has done an excellent job of providing the tools you need to find the colors you want. Of course, each tool has advantages and disadvantages. You just have to play around with them and decide which one you prefer.

Foreground and Background Colors

The two square overlapping boxes that appear toward the bottom of your Tools palette are the foreground and background colors (Figure 1.20). The top box is the foreground color; it determines which color will be used when you use any of the painting tools. To change the foreground color, click it once. (This will bring up a standard Color Picker.) The bottom box is the background color; it's used when you're erasing the background image or when you increase the size of your document by using Image > Canvas Size. When you use the Gradient tool with default settings, your gradient will start with the foreground color and end with the background color. You can swap the foreground and background colors by clicking the small curved arrows next to them in the Tools palette (or pressing the X key on your keyboard). You can also reset the colors to their default settings (black/white) by clicking the small squares in the lower-left corner of that same area. (Pressing D does the same thing.)


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