Illustrator CS3 Gets Kuler

The online color community from Adobe Labs delivers themes right into AICS3-via RSS

Many illustrators and Illustrator users now make use of an innovative new venture from Adobe Labs–Kuler. This is more than a source for inspiration. From your web browser you can compose, share, get feedback on, give feedback on, rate, and generally contribute to a color-interested community.

Kuler Web InterfaceThe Adobe Kuler web interface. It’s available to all–but Illustrator CS3 users are luckier than most, because Kuler is now a panel in AICS3.

Kuler on the web is definitely–well, cool, and a great place to get inspiration. That you can join for free and download the themes as Adobe Swatch Exchange files for use in Illustrator is icing. We don’t know about you, but we’d guess that the best way to make Kuler even more useful to Illustrator fans is to make it even more accessable–working around the web browser, for instance. And that is just what Adobe Labs have done.

Cutting Out The Middleman

Using Kuler via Adobe Illustrator CS3 is quite simple-though there might be a bit of trouble finding the panel. It’s found, from the Menu Bar, via Window>Adobe Labs>kuler. Kuler is still somewhat in an experimental stage, so Illustrator will courteously flash you a disclaimer caution before you get to use it. Carefully read and make sure you understand what it’s saying, then, if all is copacetic to you, click ok to accept the terms, and you’re on your way.

The Kuler panel shows you, based on RSS feeds from the Kuler web site, color themes from the Highest Rated, Newest, and Most Popular classifications; you can also create customized feeds. You can choose any individual feed, all feeds, or, via the search box, narrow it all down to just certain themes. Since you won’t need to fire up your web browser, load Kuler, download a swatch set, and import it, you’ve cut out at least a step or two.

A panel with the name ‘kuler’ on the tab will enter your workspace; it can be opened, closed, docked, maximized, and bucked about just like any other CS3 panel.

Kuler AICS3 PanelThe Kuler AICS3 Panel–Abstracting Kuler to a familiar form

Parts Is Parts

At first glance the interface may seem intuitive, and largely it is, but a bit of orientation may be in order. The Dropdown, at top, allows for quick selection between the RSS feeds that inform the panel. The search box works pretty much in the standard way (as illustrated, we searched with the word “sand”, and the panel returned us many sandy things). The small triangle at the left end of the theme name fires up your default browser to the the Kuler page on that particular theme. The buttons across the bottom allow you to, respectively, get the previous set of results (double-left triangles); get the next set of results (double-right triangles); Refresh feeds; Edit any custom feeds you might have; add a selected set to the Swatches panel, and upload any interesting sets you may have created to Kuler.

The flyout menu consists of two choices–Refresh Feeds and Edit Custom Feeds. In all, there are two ways to refresh RSS feeds and three ways to create custom feeds or open existing feeds for editing.

This article is meant to illustrate how you might fetch a set from Kuler, so lets go on to that.

Getting What You Need

After all this exposition, getting a Kuler set into your swatches panel is absurdly easy. Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Open the Kuler Panel (Window>Adobe Labs>kuler)
  2. Locate a theme you like, and click on it to highlight it.
  3. Click the “Add To Swatch Panel” button on the button bar on the bottom (second in from right)

That’s all there is to it; the selected theme should pop up as a swatch set, downloaded to your Swatches panel. The swatches are now yours to play with, save, move around, delete, or what-have-you.

2 thoughts on “Illustrator CS3 Gets Kuler”

  1. Illustrator’s kuler palette is a based on a really cool concept: Flash-based palettes that can communicate with a server and show dynamic content. Illustrator also has the knowhow palette, which is basically a Help palette that is context-sensitive and gets its material from an external source, thus staying up-to-date! And more technology like this is on the way….

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