Expression Design Microsoft Expression

Color Picker / Dropper Issues Resolved, Kinda

NOTE: I’m going to start saying Color Dropper instead of Color Picker.

After the email I got from Dan at Microsoft I went back to retest the color dropper issue I found yesterday. Here are my results:

Dan told me that while the color dropper in the normal tools panel is an “object colour picker” the one in the bottom corner of the swatch area is a “screen colour picker” and that my problem probably occurred while using the latter one. This is because the screen color dropper uses the native colour profile of the computer rather than a forced one like Adobe’s software does. Some testing proved this to be true: When I used the color dropper in the tools panel the colours matched while when I used the one in the swatch panel they caused the same problems as before. I take this to mean that since I use the Pantone Huey and therefore have a properly calibrated monitor the screen colours Expression Design perceives are off from the originals. That makes absolutely no sense to me but at least we now know the reason for the problem.

But this, as my old philosophy professor used to say, begs a question: If screen calibration equipment and their colour profiles cause Expression Design to misinterpret colours what is the point of having the swatch color dropper at all? One would assume that this software is directed primarily towards professionals and a lot of us use calibration equipment to avoid colour problems in our projects. This “feature” if that is what it is makes the color dropper useless. I also noticed something else that is even more confusing: In the Options pane you can actually force your tools panel color dropper to use that same useless screen colour rather than the actual colour.

At the end of the day (literally – it’s 7:43pm) I am left with one burning question: What exactly am I supposed to use the screen colour for? Especially when I have the option of picking the true colour with the tool panel color dropper?

A side note: It took me a couple of seconds to figure out how to use the tool panel color dropper because it doesn’t work like what I was used to nor as the swatch color dropper. While the ‘norm’ is to select the item you want to change the colour of and then use the color dropper to pick the colour the tool panel color dropper works quite literally like a dropper: You go to whatever object contains the colour you want, click and hold the mouse to “suck up” the colour and “drop” it into the object you want to change the colour of. If you just click on the original colour nothing happens. Confusing as hell.

I’ll write a post on this and other non-standard button and object functions later on when the list grows large enough to warrant one. In the meantime be advised that Design does not work like other programs.

By Morten Rand-Hendriksen

Morten Rand-Hendriksen is a Senior Staff Instructor at LinkedIn Learning (formerly specializing in AI, bleeding edge web technologies, and the intersection between technology and humanity. He also occasionally teaches at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. He is a popular conference and workshop speaker on all things tech ethics, AI, web technologies, and open source.