Of course, the tool only works within the confines of the software offering it. But what if you could go beyond that, instead extracting color directly from your surroundings? LifeDropper makes that possible.
Augmented Reality Comes To Image Editing
LifeDropper is a creative eyedropper program, but easy to explain. It simply uses your phone’s camera as a means of extracting information about a targeted object’s color.
When you open the app you’re presented with a camera view devoid of any buttons. Most of the image is shaded, indicating that it is not being used, but in the middle of the screen you’ll find a transparent square with a targeting reticule. LifeDropper will extract color information only from what’s inside that square. When you’ve lined up the object you want to sample from, just tap on the display. Presto!
The color that you’ve sampled will appear on a new screen, along with information that will help you input that color into whatever image editing software you prefer. This includes the color translated into red/green/blue numerals, hexadecimal, and more.
In addition to this, you can save any color you sample. Saved colors can be reviewed later by accessing the app’s menu and then opening the Tag Gallery. There is also a Share feature, but as far as I can tell, this only lets you share the app – it does not appear to share the color that you’ve sampled as well.
Solid Colors Only, Please
LifeDropper is an incredibly useful tool, but it does have one notable limitation – an inability to extract colors from objects that have a pattern or otherwise are not a solid color. The developer cites jeans as one example, but I also found that most patterned fabrics share this problem, and I also couldn’t extract color from my pets!
Although this seems like an odd problem, it’s actually quite sensible. LifeDropper performs some mathematical magic to convert color information from the real world into something digitally usable, and an objective with extreme color variations will throw that algorithm for a loop.
You can combat this limitation by decreasing the active area from which a color is sampled. Open the menu, go to settings, and then open the Number of Pixels option. There are number of choices, including as little as one pixel. This seems to reduce the problem, but does not entirely solve it (even at a sample of one pixel, jeans remain an elusive subject).
The uses for the LifeDropper eyedropper program are clever. Let’s say, for example, that you were a business owner and you wanted to create a website. Instead of relying on a graphics or web designer to come up with a digital approximation of the colors that represent your business, you could take color information directly from reality.
Graphics designers will also enjoy the save feature of the app, since you’ll be able to add to your color palette everywhere you go. If you see something that looks cool, you can whip out your phone and sample color from it on the spot.
Do you have an idea for a creative way to use this app? Let us know in the comments.