Wibbly Stuff

I give you Croma

Color is an integral part of design. Colors help designers express the mood and the emotions in their designs, so it is very important to get them right. However this is much easier said than done. Alas, it is not as easy as pushing an elevator button and getting a Sugar-babes member lapdancing fo you, it is much more or a wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff.

As a designer, I always work with colors, so I know how tricky it can be to find the perfect palette. And then one day I remembered this brilliant phrase:

Good artists copy, great artists steal.

Why worry so much if someone has already done something for us, which we could just steal? ;)

So yeah, we can just steal palettes. And even better - steal it from the perfect artist, good old oma desala (mother Nature). Who can possibly do better than Nature?

My colleague +Kamal Joshi, (who is so awesome that if I try to describe how awesome he is the internet shall implode) gave me a hand with this. Yes, you can officially call us "The partners in crime". Kamal conjured up an algorithm which steals colors from the nature. I have my doubts he had some help from Iris, the rainbow goddess on this, but I can’t prove it. Maybe I just have to get him drunk enough to admit this, eh? So, where was I? Oh, right, so - Kamal did a super neat algorithm, which it into my app, Croma, which as you can imagine i an app to create and save color palettes.

The algorithm is simple (not complex like the brain of the coder), based on K-Means. The algorithm applies K- Means to get n * 4 colors from an Image. The colors reside in the LAB color space. The colors are then sorted according to their hues. Then it selects more vibrant colors out of each 4 analogous colors, which are then used as a palette.

So, back to our app, Croma or Chroma means "Pureness of color", it is derived from the greek χρώμα (latin script - hró̱ma). The whole motivation behind Croma was laziness. I wanted to make my work easier by making it easy to create and share palettes. It's a bare bones app without any fancy bells and whistles which you'll find in services like Adobe Kuler, but it wasn't Croma's goal to replace such sophisticated servisupers an app, Croma will be useful on the go.

Ask yourself, when someone asks you about a color or palette you use for some project, what do you reply? Most likely the hex code(s) I presume. But the hex code doesn't help visualize the color. Isn't it always better to show the color instead of just telling the hex code? With Croma installed on your mobile device, you can show him the colors complete with the hex code, RGB, HSL, HSV, LAB and CMYK (approx.) values. Yeah, I know, the colors your phone won't look perfect. But it's the best you can do when what you're carrying with you is only your phone or tablet.

In addition to showing all sorts of details about a color, Croma can generate palettes from the color. The palettes are generated based on various rules, like complementary, split-complementary, analogous, etc.

However as Aristotle once said “Man is by nature a social animal”, so sharing colors from Croma is a piece of cake, of a rather delicious cake. In the share text, along with the color hex codes, you'll get a link which can be opened to preview the colors quickly in Croma's web version. And if the recipient has Croma installed, he can directly open the palette in Croma and save it there. Yup, Croma is that cool.

So back to stealing, Croma perfectly integrates with Android so nothing can stop you from stealing colors from photos. You can extract colors from a photo from any app which supports photo sharing or directly capture a photo to extract colors. Ain't it super duper neat?

But oh wait, there is more! If you like to pull of an Austin Powers and live dangerously you can create palettes manually. You can go giddy on power, live la vida loca and create all kinds of awesome palettes with a few taps. Sometimes getting your hands dirty results in fantastic results, we Croma gives you that opportunity.

Now, as you know, for over an year c'est moi has been a part of Numix project, so I decided that I can make Croma a Numix app. We've done great job popularizing and expanding Numix (hell, it is even fairly profitable), so adding another app under its brand will only help the brand, however it will also help the app get popular much faster, so it is bargain for both sides.

Lastly - as a wise wraith queen said - all living things must eat. For better or worse the world runs on money and I as a normal-ish person need money to pay my bills, pay for food and beer. For this reason I have decided to make Croma able to create up to four colors in a palette, unless you Unlock the pro version from within the app, which is done with tapping a button. In exchange for a few quids you get the ability to create palettes with more than four colors, which allows you to create much more complicated and detailed palettes. Palettes that have up to four color will work at some situations, but having the ability to create palettes from even more powers will empower you. As a designers I know oh-so-good how useful palettes are, so if you need to create more sophisticated palettes, you might as well unlock Croma pro, it will be worth it, you have my axe... and word. Remember that all magic comes with a price dearies.

Well, I think that’s about it for Croma from me for now. All stories have to end, so I hope I've made this a good one. But before I sign off and go back to completing my evil diabolical master plan for world domination, I shall urge you to go and grab Croma Croma from the Google Play Store or Firefox Marketplace, otherwise... well, lets just say I am on first name basis with Apofis and you don’t want me to accidentally sent him after you.