Adobe has revealed a new, revised, Color Picker (called Playful Palette) and offered a reimagining of software-based design tools. Microsoft has already thrown the gauntlet down with Paint 3D, but Adobe thinks it can give users an innovative color blending solution.

In most cases, imaging and design tools will use software and design concepts that mimic real artists tools, such as brushes, shapes, etc. It is an effortless way to give users something familiar. However, Adobe Research teamed with the University of Toronto to create something more fluid for software users.

The company developed a skeuomorphic palette that it says delivers more intuitive control. Additionally, the new Color Picker brings greater color choice and allows smoother color transitions and mixes.

Normal color choosing solutions give users the ability to select hues from across the whole spectrum. Playful Palette instead uses an interface that is a mixer of colors. Artists don’t have a spectrum in real life, but instead mix paints from two or more colors.

Colors are represented by paint blobs and can be blended by pushing other colors into each other.

Mixing is saved into a history so you can create palette or never worry about losing that perfect mix. The process of selecting and blending can be seen in the gallery below through step A to G.

Artistic Support

Firstly, for the non-artistic, Playful Palette is lots of fun. We guess it’s in the name. For more serious users who know what they are doing, it seems to be very useful. Researchers say they tested the palette on professional artists and found support was strong.

Indeed, development research found that artists prefer the Playful Palette over standard spectrum selectors that are more common.

It is unclear whether this is just Adobe researching, or whether the palette will be folded into products. The company has not said either way, but we think the solution seems realized enough that it will eventually make its way to services like Photoshop.