Adobe's Kuler beta site resurrects photo-color picker

The Web site for building and browsing five-color sets once again can create color schemes from uploaded photos. With the Android app gone, the Web site is the only Kuler option for Android device users.

The Kuler Web site, like the iOS app, can convert colors from a photo into a five-color set.
The Kuler Web site, like the iOS app, can convert colors from a photo into a five-color set. screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Adobe Systems has launched a beta version to try out changes to its color-picker Kuler service, including the restoration of an earlier feature to extract dominant colors from photos.

Kuler lets people assemble quintets of colors into a color scheme that's saved into their own archive; people can browse others' schemes as well. The colors can be imported into Adobe's Illustrator software, too.

The photo tool is available by loading the new Kuler beta site. Adobe said Monday it's seeking feedback on the changes, which it may or may not keep. Adobe also provided an option to use a less obtrusive color wheel and to shrink borders around colors so designers can better judge how they look together.

Kuler is useful, though hardly a heavyweight app like Photoshop or After Effects. But it's interesting to watch since it's got new-era online, collaborative, and social aspects that seem to be a priority for Adobe as it tries to convince skeptics that its $50-per-month Creative Cloud subscription is more than just a new way to pay for the old Creative Suite software.

When Adobe cut over to its Creative Cloud subscription program , it introduced an iOS app that also can pick a color scheme from a photo.

Adobe once had a Kuler app for Android , but scrapped it and is channeling its resources toward the Kuler Web interface at present.

In response to a request for a Kuler Android app, an Adobe staff member had this to say:

While the iOS app and the discontinued Android app do have similar capabilities, they are actually quite a bit different. We have found that people use tablets and mobile phones very differently. So, we created the iPhone app with a different focus in mind -- which translated to different features, UI, and interactions.

We have also found the tasks most people wanted to accomplish with Kuler, on a tablet device, are very similar to the tasks people undertake with the Kuler website. So, we've invested a lot of time and effort into updating the site to embrace the latest Web standards (also announced at MAX). And, it should work really well on Android and iOS tablets. We look forward to getting these updates in the hands of users to hear what they think.

We understand there are many Android phone users who may find an app like the Kuler iPhone app useful, and we'll monitor demand for that over time.

In my tests on a Nexus 7 tablet, I was able to use the normal Kuler site, but the photo upload and color-wheel shrinking features had some problems. I could use photos I took on the spot and from the photo gallery, but imports from Google+ galleries, Dropbox, and Google Drive failed. Worse, the color wheel for picking colors by hand didn't work with my touch screen.

Adobe's Kuler tool can pick colors that come are likely to be found together in nature.
Adobe's Kuler tool can pick colors that come are likely to be found together in nature. screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET
 

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