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Color Variables / Global Colors in Photoshop

Community Beginner ,
Jun 07, 2022 Jun 07, 2022

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I really wish there was a way to establish color variables within Photoshop. Yes, it is a raster based tool but there are specific sections within photoshop that could really benefit from color variables within the addition of a color variable palette. 


Color variables can easily be added to the specific photoshop element / functions where colors are already procedural as the list below:


  1. Text objects
  2. Vector shape objects in photoshop 
  3. Color fill layers
  4. Any color sections within the layer effects section (i.e color overlay, shadows, glows etc)


***Of course the user can select a color variable and paint or fill the canvas but this will be rasterized and will not change when the user changes the color variable. All other elements that consist of procedural colors will be change when the base color variable is changed as mentioned above.*** 


Use Case Scenario


The Problem: 

There is the need to create a video that can be branded into numerous companies colors and logos. All sections of the video are broken up into 10 artboards that will be exported out as separate psds and imported into After Effects in order to animate. Once the animation is complete, the document with the original colors of green and blue is ready to render. However if I need to change the green and blue colors to green = red and blue = black for a separate company, it is a laborious task to do this in photoshop as I am forced to edit each artboard as well as each procedural color supporting layer / element (i.e layer effects, vector layers, color fill layer and text) to produce the desired effect. 


The Fix:

With the advent of color variables panel, I assign all of my procedural color supporting layers / elements to variables inside this panel. I have only 2 colors set as variables which would initially be green and blue. I can now open my photoshop document, inside the color variable palette and set the green color to red and the blue color to black and now all procedural colors (please reference procedural colors above) across all artboards have now been updated instantly while preserving any raster based layers. I export my artboards out of Photoshop overwriting the current PSDs used in the After Effects animations. I open my After Effects project and all of the linked psds inside the animation have now been changed to red/black instead of green/blue. I simply render the new video and I now have a newly branded video with colors of the specific client/company. 


Steps Taken with this fix:

  1.  Open artboard psd in photoshop and change variable colors in the variable color palette
  2. Export all artboards overriding the current set of artboards
  3. Open After Effects project referencing the PSDs from step 2
  4. Render new animated video

    ***There are only 4 steps taken with this proposed process to achieve the desired result. The current method takes well over 70 steps of editing procedural color elements on each of the layers across all 10 artboards.***
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