RH Dynamic Swatches 2

For Photoshop CC

 The modern Dynamic Swatch system for  Adobe Photoshop CC


 While the original RH Dynamic Swatches have been a resounding success - with feedback from an incredibly enthusiastic user base it was time to do it justice.  A complete rewrite from the ground up!  My way of saying thank you to all.


 Note: as RH Dynamic Swatches have been around for some time there's a new kid on the block:  Chameleon Adaptive Palette.  RH Dynamic Swatches is still available as some artists apparently love them too much, but do be aware that Chameleon is a single panel with the technology combined and additional features :)


Dynamic Swatches version 2.0 have a completely new interface, and more importantly and completely new underlying color code. The algorithms have been tweaked and tweaked and tweaked. They also include a more accurate floating point accuracy for enhanced representation.

Meet RH Dynamic Swatches Version 2.0

So what do they do ?


Each of the series provides a different color function, but they all have the same principle.  They automatically and intelligently generate ranged colors swatches or palettes based on the one you just selected.


They can be locked to act as a static palette, or unlocked to dynamically give you variations.


The ranges can be as dramatic or as subtle as you like - adjustable with the subtle small slider to the right of each.

Setting up:


Each of the Dynamic Swatches Series can be found under the Photoshop menu "Window >Extension>" and can be launched independantly according to how you want you workspace.



Each panel can also be snapped into place next to each other (look for the blue line appearing for snapping panels together).



Tip:   If you assign a hotkey to any panel using Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts, it will bring with it any other panel attached to it!

  As in the images above - if I hit F6 all panels open together as one.




Documentation is boring, but sometimes necessary.  Ideally you should be able to get the feel for it without referring to the manual, so I've been quite particular about organizing the interface that way..

The longer description and features:


    Whenever you pick a color, the unlocked swatches attempt to be that color and generate a smooth range of variations according to the type of swatch.

The nearest color indicator


 The subtle dot indicates the nearest color in the range to the current color you have for you brush.


When the Swatch is in locked mode, the dot indicates the last color you selected from the swatch.

Locking the swatch


 The best way to use Dynamic Swatches in your workflow is to become familiar with the locking mechanism.


  When you have a color range pertinent to the area you're painting it's often best practice to lock the colors temporarily to stay in the range.


Swatches can either be locked on the small UI or by ALT - Clicking anywhere on the panel.


Subtle or strong


The mechanism for controlling how subtle or strong you want the range to be is found on the UI as a slider here.


The effect and slider can also be adjust by simply rolling your mousewheel anywhere on the panel.


Panel Style Variations


The panels (each swatch) can vary in visual style between more classic swatch or palette. It can also allow you to hide the controls UI if you're used to the hotkeys and prefer a less cluttered interface.


  These can be changed in the mini menu, or by

Shift-click  or Ctrl-clicking anywhere in the panel.


  Shortcut references below:


Shortcut Buttons:

ALT + click


CTRL + click

SHIFT + click


Mouse ScrollWheel



Toggle locking .. the most important


Toggles the style between Swatch or Palette

Toggles the UI.  Either controls with or minimal


Changes the range fidelity ( analagous to "contrast")


 Toggles the Control UI (Same as Shift+click)

The Series

Dynamic Swatches - Previous

    Have you ever been in the scenario where you've picked a new color and been frustrated that there's no undo feature for color changes.    "There's the history" palette, you might say, but then you try a new color.  If  that's not right you try again etc trying to narrow in.


  Well, Dynamic Swatches - Previous  has become one of my "would hate to be without it" tools.


   The difference with normal history is DS-History samples a range automatically between your current and last color.  Then, when you pick a color too far off, it's easy to choose one just a smidge closer to your previous color etc.


When I first programmed it, I came across an unexpected benefit.   To generate a fast and super clean range between two colors, just pick both and lock the swatch.  It may not sound like much, but I've grown suprisingly dependant on it.



Dynamic Swatches - History

History is essentially the same as the native panel in Photoshop.  It's just present in the series to keep continuity if you wish to keep all the Dynamic Swatches together.


Plus I think it looks pretty.


Dynamic Swatches - Temperature

"Just make it a little more blue".     Well hopefully that says it all.


       Choosing a warmer or colder tone isn't that simple. Especially, for example, when working with skin tones.  DS-Temperature calculates the warmth or coldness in LAB space and offers a gradient of tones based exactly on the color you currently have.  Green can be both a warm and cold color,  but DS-Temperature will always provide the correct tones in return.


Dynamic Swatches - Brightness

 A color swatch of brightness values is pretty self explanatory.


At first glance at least.


     Just adjusting with more black or white only leads to dull imagery at the end of the day.  DS-Brightness calculates the range while retaining full relative chroma.  Give it a try!


Dynamic Swatches - RHChroma

  RHChroma is a darling of mine.. I'd been experimenting for a long time with algorithms to try and achieve programatic scales that are visually appealing ranges depending on the Hue/Chromacity value of any given color.


  That's a lot of technical blurb for saying that Red-White standard brightness is boring.  Reds should almost always lean into a warmer yellow or a colder fuschia while increasing luminosity.   Similarly blues to cyan, greens to either yello or cyan etc.


  It can radically improve the color base of any digital painting, so you might see why I'm excited about it.


Dynamic Swatches - Saturation

No need to patronize. This panel does exactly what is says on the tin.


 There's nothing extra clever about the saturation panel at all. In fact, it gets quite dull after a while.


 But it makes its siblings happy.


Dynamic Swatches - HueShift

Hue Shifting is again self explanatory. DS-Saturation doesn't just adjust your H value, but calculates the range in whichever color space is most relevant to your current selection.


It also makes the prettiest of gradients.


Dynamic Swatches - Primaries

Primaries are actually the only panel that isn't fully Dynamic.  The reason for the panel is for continuity while working.

   Dynamic swatches -by their very nature- only give you variations on the color you have selected.  If you want something radically different then Primaries give you the perfect starting point,


Dynamic Swatches - Tints

Tints are of a similar family to Hueshift, though offering a much more subtle color variation to the one you currently have selected.

When sketching or digitally painting concept it's an enormous help to tap into minor variations to widen the underlying color base of your painting.


Dynamic Swatches - The Full Collection

While Dynamic Swatches are sold individually for flexibilty of choice, there's no reason you should suffer if you want them all at once.      The full collection can be bought in its entirety at a very reasonable price.

   The price of the collection includes any and all future additions to the Dynamic Swatches series.




All Dynamic Swatches are fully compatible with Adobe Photoshop CC 2015.5 and above, utilizing and leveraging the very latest API.

RH Dynamic Swatches ©Rico Holmes 2017



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