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How do I copy the exact color of an image?

Selecting and using the precise colors from an image can be an important part of graphic design, web design, digital art, and more. Whether you want to match the color scheme of a brand, reproduce a photograph accurately, or just grab a nice color you see, copying the colors from an image is a useful skill.

Why Match Colors Exactly?

Here are some common reasons you may want to sample a color directly from an image:

  • To match the colors used in a company’s logo and branding
  • To accurately reproduce colors from a photograph in a digital painting or composite
  • To precisely match the dominant colors from a beautiful scenic photo for your website design
  • To sample the colors from vector art to use in an illustration
  • To pick out hard-to-describe colors like “that green from the product photo”

Matching colors precisely can provide visual consistency, help with branding, and allow you to remix and reuse colors in new contexts.

Tools for Sampling Image Colors

Here are some of the main options for sampling colors from images:

Digital Art and Design Programs

Most digital art, photo editing, and design programs have built-in color sampling tools:

  • Adobe Photoshop – The Eyedropper tool lets you click on any pixel to sample its color.
  • Adobe Illustrator – The Eyedropper tool lets you sample colors the same way.
  • Procreate – The Color Picker samples colors when you touch a pixel.
  • Affinity Designer – The Dropper tool clicks to sample colors.

This is usually the easiest way to quickly grab a color, especially if you’re already working in the app. The color gets added to your foreground color swatch for immediate use.

Online Image Color Samplers

You can also use online tools to sample colors from images:

  • Image Color Picker – Just upload an image and click on it to get the hex code.
  • Image Color Summarizer – Upload an image and get a color palette.
  • Grid Image Color Extractor – Drag to sample colors from precise spots.

The advantage of online tools is that you don’t need access to paid software. However, it takes more effort than sampling directly within an app you’re already using.

Extensions and Plug-ins

Some browser extensions and plug-ins allow you to sample image colors:

  • ColorZilla – A Chrome extension that adds an eyedropper for sampling web page colors.
  • ColorPic – A Windows utility that lets you sample colors from your screen.

While not as full-featured as dedicated apps, these convenient utilities let you quickly grab colors without disrupting your workflow.

Mobile Apps

On mobile devices, app store options can sample colors:

  • Color Grab (iOS) – Point your camera at objects to sample real-life colors.
  • ColorID (Android) – Scroll capture to identify on-screen colors.

Mobile color sampling apps offer flexibility when you’re away from your desktop tools.

How to Sample Colors from Images

Here is a step-by-step overview of the basic process:

  1. Open the image you want to sample from in your editing app or select an online color sampling tool.
  2. Activate the color sampling tool. In Photoshop, click the Eyedropper icon in the Tools panel.
  3. Click or tap the pixel in the image whose color you want to sample.
  4. The color will be selected as your foreground color and/or copied to your clipboard.
  5. Switch to the appropriate tool, then paste or apply the sampled color.

Once you’ve sampled a color, you can use it as your brush, pencil, or fill color for digital painting and design work. You can also copy the hex code or color values out if needed.

Tips for Precise Color Selection

Follow these tips to get the best results when sampling colors:

  • Zoom in close so you can accurately target small areas.
  • Sample from flat color areas instead of anti-aliased edges.
  • Try several samples and average them for very uneven colors.
  • Use the Info panel to see the numeric RGB values.
  • Look at color channels separately if struggling with bright colors.

With practice, you’ll be able to quickly grab colors from images for your digital art, design, and editing projects.

Applications and Uses

Here are some examples of how you could use sampled image colors:

  • Sample colors from a product photo for use in an advertising banner
  • Identify the exact blue used in a logo for your branding guide
  • Grab foliage colors from landscape photos for a nature-inspired web page design
  • Match skin tones from portraits to render them accurately in digital painting
  • Find the red used in a superhero’s costume to draw your own fan art version

The possibilities are endless! Matching sampled colors from images provides all kinds of creative options.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get the hex code?

In most apps, you can find the hex code for a sampled color in the color picker window or Info panel. Online tools also provide hex codes. Copy and paste the 6-digit code into your program.

Is it bad to sample JPGs?

Sampling from JPGs is fine in most cases. However, the image compression may alter colors slightly. For best results, sample from uncompressed image formats like PSD or PNG.

Can I pick colors from videos?

Yes, you can pause a video at the desired frame and sample colors the same way you would with a still image. Advanced plugins like Color Pic allow sampling directly from video playback.

What about sampled colors from prints?

To sample colors from physical prints and objects, use a mobile app like Color Grab that samples from your camera. Just match the lighting and white balance first.

How accurate are sampled colors?

The accuracy depends on the source, but sampling provides much better color precision than trying to match colors visually. Sampled colors are often 95%+ accurate.


With the right tools and techniques, grabbing color samples directly from images is easy and accurate. Matching colors precisely provides all kinds of benefits for digital art, graphic design, web design, branding, photography, and beyond. So don’t be afraid to pick and steal colors from images!