Gpick 0.2.5 released with more color tools and better interface

Gpick 0.2.5 released with more color tools and better interface

Albertas Vyšniauskas and David Gowers recently released the latest and greatest of Gpick, an advanced free color picker and color harmony app.

Gpick 0.2.5 sums up nearly two years of development, providing essential new features and user interface improvements.

Gpick 0.2.5

Essential workflow changes

First and foremost, you can now just close Gpick, and upon the next start it will automatically reopen the current unsaved palette and all the current settings. Pretty much like Sublime Text 2.

Gpick now also behaves a little like GIMP 2.8: it treats all non-native files as imported and adds “(imported)” label to the windows caption next to the filename. In this case there’s also an icon in the status bar:

If you want to just append existing palette files to the current palette, use Import command instead. Both GPA (native file format), GPL (GIMP) and ASE (Adobe Photoshop) fils can be appended.

There is, however, no undo system yet, but you can revert to the last saved version now.

Unfortunately, Gpick doesn’t adjust window’s caption when you make some change, which is the usual way to keep a user notified about modifications.

On top of that, Gpick can now be started in floating picker mode for which you need to run it with the '-p' argument. Also, the application now uses DBUS for running in a single instance.

New tools

Color blend tool was added to the secondary view. It simply interpolates between three given colors and a user defined amopunt of steps using RGB, HSV (shortest or longest distance), and LAB.

A new mark and measure tool is now available as part of the color picker tool. Here is how it works:

  • Switch to the color picker mode.
  • Drag the mouse pointer to the first feature in an image, press M to mark the beginning.
  • Drag the mouse pointer to the second feature in an image, press Ctrl+M to mark the end.

As long as Gpick is running, and you are in the color picking mode, while hovering the area, you will see a line between the two dots, and some data: coorfinates of the beginning and the end, length of the line, and bounding box size.

Note that the line is only visible when you hover the area it crosses with the color picker tool.

You only get one line, but you can keep pressing M and Ctrl+M as long as you like to adjust the positions.

Personally, I’ve been unable to find any use to this tool yet.

Beginnings of color management

Since Albertas treats color science seriously, Gpick now has some fairly interesting features like illuminant and observer settings for Lab color space:

The “Out of gamut” options you can see on the screenshot above displays color ranges which are out of RGB gamut as a stripe pattern for LAB and LCh color spaces:

LCh sliders are actually another new feature in this release.

Display filters

Gpick now has display filters, much like in GIMP. These are: display filters: color deficiency, gamma correction, quantization.

While the first two are dead-easy to figure out, quantization isn't so simple. According to the bug tracker, it allows you to determine what colors look like when matched to the nearest color in a quantized RGB colorcube.

David Gowers, who developed the feature, provides a few examples:

  • GBA: 32 possible intensities of RGB
  • SNES: 32 possible intensities, with white being clipped (darkest intensity = 0/32, highest intensity == 31/32), suitable for CRT TV display.
  • Amiga: 16 possible intensities
  • CPC: 3 possible intensities

Reportedly, it's useful for game development.

User interface changes

The secondary view menu has been moved into the main 'View' menu, so the user interface should work much better for Unity users on Linux. Also, 'Scheme generation` view can now be much smaller.

Gpick also took the lead from Inkscape and GIMP, and started showing info about selected colors and total number of palette colors in the status bar:

Color component widgets now have their values displayed as text. You can left-click on values to edit them numerically, or access the dialog from right-click menu:

Many commands are available via shortcuts now:

  • You can toggle all secondary view modes;
  • The 1, 2, .., 6 shortcuts quickly copy colors from the “daisy” palette;
  • The Ctrl+[1-6] ones replace the first color in the palette-list selection
  • Shift-Ctrl-P toggles visibility of the list of colors

The user interface is now also available in Lithuanian, Spanish, and Russian.

New palette operations

Gpick 0.2.5 makes it much simpler to create your own named palettes. If you intend to ship e.g. GPL palette files and you want all color to be automatically numbered as in a color book, all you need to do is:

  1. Press E to clear the names of selected colors.
  2. Press A to set the naming template.

The dialog for defining the naming template options is really simple:

There are several more commands to control colors in the palette:

  • Autoname, automatically assigns names from the shipped Resene palette;
  • Reverse, reverses color entries in the palette.
  • Group and sort, rearranges color entries by user-defined rules.

The latter feature is rather sophisitcated. Basically, you decide which channel the colors are group by, what is the sensitivity threshold, how many groups of colors you want, and how you sort colors inside each group.

If that doesn't make Gpick a swiss army knife of colorbook generation, then what does?

Downloads, documentation, and further plans

Gpick 0.2.5 is available as a Windows installer, DEB packages for Debian and Ubuntu, as well as a source code tarball.

David Gowers started documenting Gpick features in the wiki. Check it out for more details.

Further developemnt plans include finish the GTK+ 3 port, implementing custom color list widget to allow multiple colors per row, customizable shortcuts, and various small UI tweaks and improvements.

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6 Responses. Comments closed for this entry.

  1. this is just genius.

  2. Nice to see this here, your images show off the new features very well.

    Color quantization:

    Quantization is actually dead simple—if you don’t think so, I’ve explained it wrong.

    1. Take your RGB values (0.255)
    2. Consider the 0..255 continuum as being made up of N discrete, equally spaced ‘steps’ (eg, for N=2, steps are (0, 255), for N=3, steps are (0, 128, 255), for N=4, steps are (0, 85, 170, 255))
    3. for each channel (R,G,B), snap the value to the nearest ‘step’.

    For example, when quantization is set to 3,
    the possible RGB values are (0, 128, 255)—3 equal steps[1]. So if we are quantizing the color #597dce, which GPick calls ‘Cornflower’,
    we would look at the RGB values (89, 125, 206) making up this color, and say:

    89 is closest to 128, 125 is closest to 128, 206 is closest to 255, so..

    the output color is (128, 128, 255) #8080FF, an intense purplish-blue.

    Hope that helps - the part of the article mentioning quantization had the feel of ‘I’m saying this, but I’m not sure what it means’.

    If not, please tell me! It’s really a straightforward tool that can help you be more creative with color choice, and I’d like to explain it in a way that helps people understand that.

    On color filters generally: It’s worth mentioning that they apply transparently to the swatches in the upper left—and ONLY the swatches. This means two things: 1. Dropping a color in a swatch slot and then dragging it out, it will remain the same. That is, you will get the original color out, not the result of the filter. 2. If you want to get the filtered color instead, you’ll need to eyedrop it (dragging from the center hex cell is a very easy way to do this.)

    On the measure tool: This is much better than a screen ruler for angled measurements, firstly in that it does angled measurements at all, and secondly in how you can pivot it on either end easily.
    I use it for measuring proportions in references, and checking proportions in my drawings.

    I was initially surprised by the way you access it, but I find it quite comfortable after a little practice.

    On the blend tool: It’s like an expanded, more interactive ‘Mix colors’. I suggested it as a way to get more ‘context’ (the next/previous “endpoint”) when creating blends. This is important for making a complex ramp make sense as a whole—when you can’t see how it interacts with the next major color, you can get ugly or just plain boring results as a consequence.

    The ‘blend colors’ tool also makes it easier to quickly mess around with variations of a blend and get the colors quickly to your paint program (via DnD or eyedropping). I use it like this when digitally painting or pixeling.

    In case it’s not clear, it’s possible to add the colors in the ‘blend’ panel to the palette, either via DnD or context menu (‘add to palette’ or ‘add all to palette’.


  3. Correction: Filters effect *all* flat color panels except the ones in the palette. They do not effect the color sliders or color wheels.

  4. Alexandre Prokoudine 04 April 2013 at 1:42 pm

    David, thanks a lot for the additional information!

  5. Don’t work on Windows OS (ver. 0.2.5)

  6. Alexandre Prokoudine 23 May 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Doesn’t work how exactly? Any error messages? Did you try reporting it to the team?