Gpick, palette from image

Picking the Right Color for the Job with Gpick


If you’ve ever done some UI work (or any other digital work involving colors), you probably have gotten stuck at some point because you couldn’t decide on which color to use. That’s not surprising, as there are 16,777,216 different colors that can be displayed on a monitor. This results from the 256 × 256 × 256 shades of red, green, and blue. The eyes, however, can only tell a fraction of these colors apart.  

Gpick is an advanced yet simple color tool that makes working with colors more fun and less cumbersome. The tool relegates the need-to-know values of widely used colors in Hex, RGB, or HSL. It is open source. One can build the program completely from source, or by installing it with a package manager by searching gpick. With some additional libraries and tweaking, the program can run on the Windows platform.

Gpick allows the selection of color anywhere on the screen—the browser, the background wallpaper, a word processor, etc. It also has an in-built feature that enables it to provide names of virtually all colors (which requires no Internet!), setting it apart from other popular color picker tools. Beyond that, it allows one to further tweak colors captured from a screen.

Palette From Image

Another of its distinguishing features is the ease of generating a palette from any image provided. You may often see images from which you’d love to use some colors. However, capturing the various shades of colors one at a time becomes too burdensome. Gpick solves this by providing a way to generate a palette of up to 100 different color shades from an image. We can see that in action in the following example. We will generate 100 shades of colors from the image shown below (and Gpick will provide the color names). Select Tools, then Palette From Image; next, specify the number of colors and select the image.

palette from imagepalette from image

Note: When the palette is added, the color name will be displayed when double-clicked under the Info dropdown on the right.

Layout Preview

Gpick allows one to quickly preview how colors will look on webpages, menus, and grids. It makes picking the right colors for the job easier, removing the back-and-forth that results from not picking the best color option. Dragging a color from the palette onto one of the four available options under the Layout Preview tab sets the color for that element. The web page option allows one to set the color of the header, navigation, buttons, and text. On the plus side, Gpick generates a CSS file that can be exported and integrated into other work.

Scheme Generation

This tab takes color tweaking to a whole new level. Pull a color onto one of the panes, and you can generate complementary, analogous, clashing, neutral, triadic, five-tone, or six-tone colors from your selected color, all in one click or two (if you count the dropdown click). The color wheel allows for more complex color mixing with hue, saturation, and lightness manipulation. Coupled with one of the secondary views, more color manipulation options are available: blend colors, brightness, darkness, or variations.


There certainly are more features to Gpick. It recognizes file formats such as Adobe Swatch Exchange (.ase) and .gpl for both GIMP or Inkscape palettes. Color values can be copied to the clipboard and applied anywhere HSL, Hex, or RGB is required. Command line access is provided, and there’s always more to explore using the tool.

Overall, the tool is easy to use from the get-go, with little documentation referencing required. The interface is simple. More importantly, it works without a hitch. It’s worth having, even if you hardly do design work. (The installed size is less than 4MB.) For any designer, it’s a must-have tool!

Bruno is a junior at Ashesi University College studying Computer Science. He is interested in leveraging the power of technology to increase productivity. As a big fan of open source technology, he is currently exploring the possibility of using the Bitcoin Blockchain to fight corruption in government. Bruno is a regular contributor at Fixate IO.


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