If you’ve ever been editing an image and found your eyedropper wandering outside the application window to all of the colors on your desktop and beyond, I can sympathize. You’re not the only one who’s wanted to extend the functionality of Photoshop’s color picker beyond the application and been frustrated when you just weren’t allowed to do that.
Well, be frustrated no more! Meet Frank DeLoupe, a menubar color picker that will work anywhere. Going by Frank for short, this app gives you Photoshop integration and the ability to copy a color’s code to your clipboard. With so much packed into such a tiny app, can Mr. DeLoupe really do it all, or will Frank fall on his face?
Picking Colors with Frank
Though you can certainly start using the Frank DeLoupe color picker right away, it’s a good idea to sync Frank with Photoshop. This will only work with CS5 or later, though. To get started, open Photoshop. In the Edit menu, select Remote Connections. Enter a password, and click Okay. In Frank’s application preferences, find the Remote tab and enter the same password you just created. If Photoshop is still open, the lights should switch to green, letting you know Frank and Photoshop are onboard.
The beauty of Frank DeLoupe is that it allows you to select any color you want anywhere on your desktop. To get started, make sure the icon, window, website, or whatever you want to use to capture your color is visible. Click the Frank eyedropper menubar icon and select Color Picker.
The pointer will transform into a large loupe, or magnifying lens. Hover the loupe over whatever color you want to grab. You’ll be able to see right down to the pixel, so you can be sure you’re clicking in the right spot. There’s also a bubble on the edge of the loupe that will display a larger swatch of the selected color, so you know what you’re getting before you click.
When you’re sure you’ve got the color you want, click on it. You’ll see your color is now filling the Frank eyedropper in the menubar. If you connected Frank and Photoshop, it’s also the foreground color swatch in Photoshop, like magic!
If you’d like to select a background color using Frank, it’s similar to selecting a background color in Photoshop. Click Color Picker in the menubar dropdown as before and find the color you want, but this time, hold down the Option key when you click on the color. As in Photoshop, Option+click will make the selected color the background color. However, this only works in Photoshop; there’s only room for one color in Frank’s menubar eyedropper. The most recent color you’ve selected, whether foreground or background, will fill in the eyedropper.
You may not be using Photoshop or are choosing colors for another reason, and Frank DeLoupe still has you covered. Whenever you pick a new color, Frank automatically copies the color’s code to your clipboard. You can choose in the application preferences whether you want to use RGB, hexadecimal, or HSL. There’s a few varieties on each, but those are the big three. This is useful for coding CSS or if you just need to get the values to plug into another graphics application.
An Application Done Right
There are absolutely no cons to this application. Frank DeLoupe fills a big hole for designers and developers. There have been so many times I’ve tried to drag the Photoshop eyedropper out of the application and out onto the desktop, knowing it would only end in tears. Grabbing colors outside of Photoshop for use in the application is huge, but so is the ability to pick colors from anywhere for really any use, not just in Photoshop.
Frank is easy to setup, and while I imagined connecting to Photoshop would be a hassle, it really wasn’t. This is in large part thanks to Adobe’s Remote Connections, but the team that created Frank DeLoupe managed to put Remote Connections to such great use. The only thing to remember is that Photoshop must be open for Remote Connections to work, or all your color picking will be for naught.
If you do any design work at all, this app is a must have. After working with Frank DeLoupe for only a few days, I can’t imagine going back. It’s one of those applications that just works. It makes picking colors much easier and saves a lot of time. Whereas before I would constantly be opening multiple files to get at what I needed, now I just look to Frank.
I can’t recommend Frank DeLoupe highly enough, especially to the pros. I think they’ll immediately see the utility in an expanded color picker. However, there’s plenty here for amateur designers and developers, too. If you just really want to know what the background color is on that website or grab the color from a photograph on a blog, Frank’s there for you. Frank DeLoupe really does do it all.