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What is the app that extracts color palette from image?

In the digital age, color has become an extremely important design element. The ability to precisely control and manipulate color in our graphic designs is now easier than ever, thanks to advances in digital technology. However, even with all the digital tools at our disposal, deciding on a color palette can still be one of the most challenging parts of the design process. This is why many designers are turning to apps that can automatically extract a color palette from an image, making color selection quick, easy, and effortless.

What is a color palette?

A color palette refers to a selection of colors that are used together in a design. The colors are chosen to work in harmony, creating an aesthetic that conveys a certain mood or style. Color palettes may consist of only a few colors or many colors depending on the complexity of the design.

Some elements that make up an effective color palette include:

  • A dominant color that makes up most of the design
  • Accent colors used for emphasis and contrast
  • Neutral colors like blacks, whites, and grays to balance brighter colors

Color palettes may follow certain templates like monochromatic (shades of one color), analogous (adjacent colors on the color wheel), or triadic (three colors evenly spaced on the color wheel). However, color palettes can also be customized based on color harmony principles like colors with shared undertones or opposing hues on the wheel. The colors in a palette are meant to complement each other whether they follow a specific template or not.

Why use apps to extract color palettes?

There are several key reasons why designers are utilizing apps to extract color palettes from images:

  • Saves time – Manually selecting colors for a palette can be incredibly time consuming. Apps can extract a palette instantly.
  • Provides inspiration – Apps can pull unexpected yet aesthetically pleasing color combinations from photos that a designer may not have chosen themselves.
  • Easy to iterate – Quickly generating multiple palettes by testing different images allows for experimentation.
  • Takes the guesswork out – The apps use algorithms to choose colors that work well together, taking the headache out of color theory.
  • Extracts exact colors – The apps can identify and provide hex codes for the exact hues in the image to be used.

The convenience and simplicity of extracting palettes from images with apps makes color selection much less daunting. Designers can focus more on how to apply and balance colors rather than on choosing them.

How do apps extract color palettes?

The most common techniques used by apps to extract color palettes from images include:

  • Pixel analysis – The app scans the image pixel by pixel and identifies the most prominent colors by looking at pixel density, saturation, shades, etc.
  • Color quantization – The color spectrum in the image is simplified by reducing the number of colors. Dominant colors are prioritized.
  • Clustering algorithms – Colors are grouped together based on visual similarities. Representative colors from each cluster are selected.
  • Histogram analysis – A graph of the color distribution is created. Peaks and valleys indicate the most and least common colors.

Some apps may use a single technique like pixel analysis while more advanced apps combine multiple techniques for better accuracy. The number of colors to include is also set by parameters defined in the app, anywhere from 3 to over 20 colors.

Factors to consider when selecting a palette extraction app

There are now many apps available that can extract color palettes from images. However, they can vary significantly in their features and performance. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a palette extraction app:

  • Accuracy – How precise and reliable is the app at capturing the dominant colors?
  • Number of colors – Options to set how many colors are in the palette – 3, 5, 10, etc.
  • Color space support – Ability to output HEX, RGB, CMYK, etc.
  • Post-processing tools – Controls to fine-tune the palette colors like lightness/darkness, saturation, etc.
  • Image input options – Ability to use URLs, screenshots, camera, etc.
  • Sharing and exporting – Options to share or export the palette in various formats.
  • User Interface – Simple and intuitive controls.

The best apps provide high color accuracy, customization over the number of colors, support for different color spaces, post-processing tools for adjusting colors, flexible image input, easy exporting, and an intuitive interface. Test different apps using the same images to compare the output.

Top apps for extracting color palettes

Based on factors like accuracy, features, ease of use and popularity amongst designers, here are 5 of the top apps for extracting color palettes from images as of 2023:

App Platform Key Features
Adobe Capture iOS, Android – Syncs with Adobe Creative Cloud
– Multiple color quantization modes
– Post-processing color controls
– Camera or image import
Paletton Web – Color wheel based interface
– Harmony presets
– Color scheme customization
– Hex, RGB, CMYK values
Coolors Web, iOS, Android – Photo and Unsplash image upload
– Generates matching color schemes
– Color blind simulator
– Share and export features
PicColors Web – Drag and drop image upload
– Minimalist interface
– Option for black and white filter
– Hex codes displayed
ColorSnap iOS, Android – Camera imports
– Matching colors to Sherwin-Williams’ database
– Color coordination suggestions

Beyond this list there are dozens more palette extraction apps to explore that may suit specific design needs or preferences. With the ubiquity of high quality cameras on smartphones, it has never been easier to snap inspiration photos and immediately extract a professional, aesthetically pleasing palette anywhere.


Extracting color palettes from images using specialized apps provides designers an efficient way to instantly generate color schemes for their projects. The apps utilize advanced techniques like pixel analysis, quantization, clustering algorithms and histogram analysis to identify the prominent colors in an image. Factors to consider when selecting a palette extraction app include accuracy, number of colors, color space support, post-processing tools, image input flexibility, sharing capabilities, and user interface. Leading options include Adobe Capture, Paletton, Coolors, PicColors and ColorSnap. With the power to extract palettes from any image in mere seconds, these apps make color selection simple, fast and intuitive.