Learn how to use the Adobe Color Themes extension in Photoshop to easily choose harmonious and appealing color combinations for your design projects.
Adobe color themes extension

The Adobe Color service helps you choose harmonious and appealing color combinations for your design projects. Adobe Color is integrated right within Photoshop in the form of an extension that lets you create, save, and access your color themes. You can also explore the many public color themes available on Adobe Color and filter them in several ways: Most Popular, Most Used, Random, themes you've published, or themes you've appreciated in the past. Once you've found a theme that you like; you can edit it and and save it to your themes, or add it to your swatches in Photoshop.

Aside from Photoshop, the Adobe Color Themes extension is currently available in three other Creative Cloud desktop applications: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign and Adobe After Effects. Themes saved to Creative Cloud libraries from within these desktop apps, mobile apps such as Capture, or using the Adobe Color website are accessible seamlessly in Photoshop.

Additionally, Adobe Color Themes panel is your portal to groups of colors, or themes, created by an online community of designers. Using the Adobe Color Themes panel, you can create or edit thousands of themes, and then use them in your projects. You can also use the this panel to share your themes with the community by uploading them.

Access the Adobe Color Themes panel

  • In Photoshop, select Window > Extensions > Adobe Color Themes.

Explore color themes

Photoshop Access color themes panel
Explore themes

  1. Click the Explore tab in the Adobe Color Themes panel. By default, the Explore tab displays all public color themes.
  2. If necessary, filter the color themes by a category and a timeframe. Use the search bar if you're looking for a specific theme.

Work with the color theme

Once you've found a theme that you like; click  icon to choose the desired option from the flyout menu of a color theme using the Adobe Color Themes panel:

Ps_color-themes-panel_options
Options available for color themes under the Explore tab

Edit This Theme

Opens the selected color theme in the Create tab of the Adobe Colors Theme panel. You can modify and work with the colors present in the theme as desired and save it in your Creative Cloud Libraries.

Note:

Alternatively, you can click the name of a color theme to edit it.

Add To Swatches

Saves the selected color theme in the Swatches panel.

View Online

View the color theme and related information, such as who created this color theme, the date of sharing this color theme, ratings and reviews, and so on in your browser. You can also appreciate, save, share, and edit this theme from your browser.

final_view-online
View a color theme online

Create and save a color theme

  1. Click the Create tab in the Adobe Color Themes panel.
  2. Select the color rule on which you want to base the theme: Analogous, Monochromatic, Triad, Complementary, Compound, Shades, or Custom. For details, see Color rules.
  1. Now, choose a base color by clicking the little triangle corresponding to a color in the theme you're editing. Based upon the color rule selected, a color theme is automatically built around the base color.
Photoshop create and save a color theme
Choose a base color

Note:

While a color is selected, you can adjust it either using the color wheel or by changing its value in one of the following color systems: CMYK, RGB, LAB, HSB, or HEX.

  1. (Optional) You can choose one of the following options while creating a color theme:
    • Click the Set Selected Color From Active Color icon () to add the active color from Illustrator workspace to your color theme.
    • Click the Click To Set Active Color icon () to set the active color in the Illustrator workspace from your color theme.
    • Click the Add To Swatches icon () to add your color theme to the Swatches panel.
  2. Enter a name for the new color theme. Click Save.
  3. Choose the Creative Cloud library to which you want to save the theme.
Adobe Photoshop color themes
Save the new theme to a library

  1. Click Save.

Note:

Depending on whether you're logged in using your Adobe ID or your enterprise credentials, different sets of libraries may be available for saving themes. Select Help > Manage My Account to check the credentials with which you're logged in. If you land at the authentication screen for your organization when you select this option, you're logged in using your enterprise credentials.

The same email ID may be associated with an Adobe ID as well as an enterprise ID.

Color rules

Analogous

Uses colors that are adjacent on the color wheel. Analogous colors usually blend well with one another and are harmonious and pleasing to the eye.

Photoshop create and save a color theme
Example: Analogous color rule

Monochromatic

Uses variations in saturation and brightness of a single color. When you use this color rule, you're presented with five colors sharing the same hue (example: H:182) but different saturation and brightness values. Monochromatic colors go well together and produce a soothing effect.

monochromatic-color-themes-1024x874
Example: Monochromatic color rule

Triad

Uses colors evenly spaced around three equidistant points on the color wheel. When you use this color rule, you're presented with two colors with the same hue but different saturation and brightness values from the first point on the color wheel (example: HSB: 182, 90, 45 & HSB: 182, 100, 75), two from the second point on the color wheel (HSB: 51, 90, 55 & HSB: 51, 95, 45), and one color from the third point (HSB: 321, 90, 79). Triadic colors tend to be contrasting—albeit not as contrasting as complementary colors—while still retaining harmony when used together.

Photoshop create and save a color theme
Example: Triad color rule

Photoshop create and save a color theme
Example: Monochromatic color rule

Complementary

Uses colors opposite to each other on the color wheel. When you use this color rule, you are presented with two colors with the same hue as the base color (example: HSB: 182, 100, 45 & HSB: 182, 90, 100), the base color itself (HSB: 182, 100, 75), and two colors with the same hue from the opposite point on the color wheel (HSB: 23, 100, 45 & HSB: 23, 100, 75). Complementary colors provide high contrast and tend to stand out when used together.

Photoshop create and save a color theme
Example: Complementary color rule

Compound

Uses a mix of complementary and analogous colors. When you use this color rule, you are presented with two colors with the same hue that are adjacent (analogous) to the base color (example: HSB: 214, 90, 95 & HSB: 214, 60, 35), the base color itself (HSB: 182, 100, 75), and two colors opposite to the base color (complementary) but adjacent to each other (HSB: 15, 75, 78 & HSB: 6, 90, 95). Compound color themes have the same strong visual contrast as complementary color themes, but they have less pressure.

Photoshop create and save a color theme
Example: Compound color rule

Shades

Uses five colors—all sharing the same hue (example: H: 182) and saturation (S: 100) but different brightness values.

Photoshop create and save a color theme
Shades color rule

Custom

Lets you manually select the colors on the color wheel in your palette without any rules controlling them.

Photoshop create and save a color theme
Custom color rule

Access themes saved to your libraries

Photoshop Access themes saved to your libraries
Access your themes

  1. In the Adobe Color Themes panel, click the My Themes tab.
  2. Select the Creative Cloud library from which you want to access the color theme.
  3. If necessary, select a sorting parameter/order for the listed themes: By Date, By Name, or By Quantity; ascending or descending.