Quick Tip: Working with Swatches

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Quick Tip: Working with Swatches

March 18, 2011
/ /
in News

Many of us collect resources for graphic design, but I’ve not seen much mentioned about Adobe Swatch Exchage (ASE) or Adobe Color Files (ACO). I’d like to offer a quick tip, in case you were not aware of this preset format.

Teapot Pattern Credits: Ransie3

I adore colourlovers, even though I’m a bit slower than most to create new palettes & patterns. My favorite feature at colourlovers is the ability to save swatches.  For a some time I copied the hex values from my color palettes and manually entered the values into PS. When I finally noticed the download options, I was ecstatic!
The format Photo Shop uses are the .aco and .ase files.  Once I downloaded these, I said to myself, ok what next? I gleefully browsed my resources directories to see where they go.  Well the files I downloaded were .ase, and I didn’t see .ase files in the “color swatches” preset directory.

Being a newbie to color swatches, I just created my own Palette directory in my own presets folder.  I have my computer partitioned in a way that creates a drive letter for my resources and projects. If you want to manage yours in this way, you could just create a folder in an easily accessible directory on your hard drive.

Where do my presets go?

The directory path will look something along the lines of this: C:Program FilesAdobeAdobe Photoshop CS4 (64 Bit)PresetsColor Swatches. If you don’t have a 64 bit system you will just have the regular program files. If you do have a 64 bit windows7 system, you can access your presets via this path as well: C:Program Files (x86)AdobeAdobe Photoshop CS4Presets.  I had some major issues with Photoshop crashing on me in 64 bit mode.  I discovered later that it was because I had too many fonts installed natively. Imagine that, lol! That topic is for yet another post. So those are the two paths you may access your Adobe Presets.

How do I load my swatches once they are added to presets?

This may seem like an uber simple thing to those seasoned PS users.  If you don’t already know how to do this, please read on!

Go to your swatches panel. If for some reason it’s not visible, go to file menu>window>swatches. Click on the little icon shown below and go to your preset manager. You can also load individual swatches one at a time, but if you have a lot, it’s a lot easier to just use the preset manager and load from there.

Browse to the directory you saved your swatches and load them. If for some reason you don’t see your swatches, check to see which file type is selected as shown in the image below.

This is an uber simple tip that may help you to enjoy color lovers in a new way! Have a great weekend, and happy designing!



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