Expression Design Microsoft Expression

Color Picker Issues

The color picker in Expression Design is so inaccurate it’s pretty much useless!

Now that I got your attention let me explain: I was working on the Zufall project when I discovered that the colours of several of my elements didn’t match. I found this to be very odd as I had made a sort of colour pallet to start off with and used the colour picker to match all the colours to one another. Upon closer inspection I was mortified to discover that the colour picker wasn’t matching colours at all. It was generating seemingly random shades (or in some cases hues) of the colour I was picking. I tested it with several different colours and found that there are only two colours that stay the same when “picked”: black and white. All other colours are violated in some way or other.

Testing the Problem
To figure out what was going on I created a project with a table like set of boxes: Original colours on the left, picked colours on the right. I chose all the original colours from the standard colour swatch in Expression Design, copied the box and put the copy to it’s right and picked the colour from the original box. As you can see from the graphic below (exported as a PNG to avoid the artifacting problem I’ve discussed earlier in the blog) There is a distinct difference between the original colours and the picked ones. The reds and yellows seem to get “weaker” while the blues change all together. You’ll notice that the picked version of the dark/indigo blue looks more like the original purple than it’s parent. And no, I didn’t accidentally pick the wrong colour here. This is the result you get every time.

My Theory
It seems to me that the colour picker has a tendency of leaning to the left in the colour spectrum so that reds become oranges, oranges become yellow, yellows become green, greens become blue, blues become indigos, indigos become violets, and violets become red. Why this is happening is beyond me but regardless it is a problem that must be addressed. With a dysfunctional colour picker the whole program is in big big trouble.

The Proof

Bad Colour Picker

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.