Sketching onto your computer using a graphical tablet is great, but when you’re selecting colours from a menu or dragging sliders to get the perfect tone, you miss out on the experience of creating colours yourself.
This is where Adobe Color Lava comes in; the iPad app allows you take various shades of virtual paint and apply them to a blank canvas, mixing them to create new tones. These can then be saved to a five-colour swatch, which can then be sent over to the desktop version of Photoshop to be used in your latest project.
What is fantastic about the app is the way in which you can mix colours. While it isn’t exactly the same as mixing real paint, the app gets closer to it than any other. Swirling colours together will blend them gently, and dabbing at the edge of a blob will take just a hint of the colour to your mix. The user interface is clean and uncomplicated, so you can mix and export the colours easily, and the experience is great fun.
1: Blank canvas
When you first open Color Lava, you’re presented with a blank sheet, a wheel of colours, a cleaning cup and five colour sections. To start, select a colour you want to mix and slap some onto the page.
2: Combine colours
It’s great the way the colours mix so naturally. As you rub your finger between the colours they will blend, creating a new tone which will be saved to the active slot in the right-hand Swatches bar.
In the top-left corner is a square that acts as your cleaning pot. Tapping it will ‘wash your brush’, allowing you to mix without accidentally adding another colour from a previous combination.
While the primary wheel of colours contains a range of bright shades, tapping its centre will switch to a black, white and grey version. You can swap between the two at any time with a tap.
You can view swatches, create a new one or rename them from this menu. Tapping Edit or holding down your finger on any swatch will bring up this screen, allowing you to delete or name your colours.
8: Get the facts
Double-tap on a single Swatch to see the details of each colour. When you tap Send To Photoshop, you will see a message in the bottom right on this screen, and the colours will appear on your Mac.
You can also email the image to share colours with others. This sends all the information of the colours, as well as the image you created while mixing, allowing samples to be taken from anywhere.
Click Image to Enlarge