14 Replies Latest reply on Sep 25, 2014 12:52 AM by magicmango238

    Inconsistent OS X color picker's sliders make colors darker


      I'm using Fireworks CS5, and I have this infuriating problem with the color picker.


      It happens like this (I also recorded a video of the problem: http://cl.ly/Gtha )


      1. I have a shape in a certain fill color.
      2. I try to change the fill color. In the HSB sliders, I simply click the Brightness slider so it remains in the same position. I then click OK.
      3. The color gets darker.
      4. If I open the color picker agan, I see that the Brightness value changed to less than what I had selected.


      Why is this happening? It makes it terribly difficult to work properly with subtle changes in color.

        • 1. Re: Inconsistent OS X color picker's sliders make colors darker
          groove25 Level 4

          I was able to replicate this using Fireworks CS5 on OS 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard).


          Interestingly, I don't think Fireworks is at fault here; it seems to be an issue with the Mac OS Color Picker. From your movie, I can see you have an extension called the Developer Picker. Do you also have one called the Hex Color Picker? I have both extensions. What I noticed is that when I perform a slider "non-adjustment" in the HSB section of the Color Picker and then switch to the Hex Color Picker section, I get the same sort of hex code change that shows up in Fireworks. (The color below started out as #999999.)


          Hex Color Picker2.png

          Why is this happening? That's hard to say. For one thing, the color is getting translated from hex code to HSB, and then back again. That's one possible factor. Another factor may be color management. If you look closely, next to the HSB sliders option, you'll see an icon with a dropdown menu indicator. Click on this, and you'll see a list of color profiles. These are involved somehow in the output of the color picker, and are almost certain to affect the resulting hex codes.


          color profiles.png


          It'd probably be good to turn this off, but I'm not sure it's possible. Otherwise, perhaps we should try sRGB IEC61966-2.1 instead of Generic RGB, though I'm not sure it would make a difference.


          One quick idea: You do have access to HSB sliders directly in Fireworks via the Color Mixer panel, though they're not quite as friendly as the Mac OS version. And, of course, there's also the Color Palette panel and the Kuler extension.


          Color Mixer.png

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Inconsistent OS X color picker's sliders make colors darker
            paulozoom Level 1

            Thanks for your response. I have the Hex Color Picker too, yes. I've tried to use different color settings but nothing seems to work. Fireworks doesn't have color settings (unlike Photoshop), only OS X.

            It's terrible that nobody seems to understand why this is happening. It's a bit infuriating because color selection is crucial to Fireworks.


            I've been using the Color Mixer. It helps, but it's not as easy to work with, because sliders only show on click. I've been using Gradients a lot, and there is no other option than to use the OS X color picker, which is worse. I've tried to use the Color Palette, but it doesn't quite reflect the fill color of a selected object. If you change the fill color with the color mixer, the color palette doesn't update.


            Does anybody else have any tips on how to avoid the OS X's Color Picker, specially with gradients?

            How do you work with color in Fireworks, if this problem affects you too?

            • 3. Re: Inconsistent OS X color picker's sliders make colors darker
              groove25 Level 4

              Incidentally, the Developer Picker extension for the Mac OS Color Picker has an HSL option. It seems more stable than the native HSB sliders—there's less tendency to migrate towards darker colors—but it's not immune from some hex code migration.


              As far as gradients go, just two ideas come to mind: 1) You can always add a stop to a gradient, closer to the midpoint, and use that more blended color as a replacement for the original stop, and 2) When sampling a color for a gradient stop, you can sample from anywhere on the canvas or interface.

              • 4. Re: Inconsistent OS X color picker's sliders make colors darker
                groove25 Level 4

                Boy, I'm glad you brought this up. It points to a real problem in the color picking workflow. Fireworks is not color managed, but the Mac OS is. It's easy to not notice this when opening up a color in the Mac OS color picker, or to go by the numbers, but it's there.


                Choose a color like this brown (#996633) and open up the Mac OS Color Picker to modify it. Right away, it looks different; it's lighter. The hex code is the same, but the appearance has changed because it's being managed by the system to render more "accurately" for your monitor. You could modify the color with the HSL sliders, but you're already starting with an appearance that doesn't match what you're seeing in Fireworks, so how would you know when you've got it right?





                To match you're seeing in Fireworks, you could use the color picker's Magnifying Glass icon to sample from the canvas. However, this gives you a visual match, but the hex code is completely different. It's not what you started with, and it won't look the same once you're looking at it in Fireworks again.




                #7d532a in FW.png



                It's just not an integrated system. Perhaps if it were possible to turn off color management within the Mac OS Color Picker, or within the OS in general, this might work; I'm not sure.

                1 person found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Inconsistent OS X color picker's sliders make colors darker
                  paulozoom Level 1

                  What's the best way to try to contact Adobe regarding this possible bug?

                  • 6. Re: Inconsistent OS X color picker's sliders make colors darker
                    groove25 Level 4

                    The official way to submit a bug report or feature request for any Adobe product is through this page:




                    Whether it's the best way, I don't know. There's no feedback given, and there's no way to track the request. You could also try calling attention to the problem on the Fireworks page:




                    This isn't really a bug, so much as it's a badly designed system. Perhaps it's something that broke over time, as operating systems have evolved. It's definitely worth calling attention to, though. It's one of those things one wishes the Fireworks team were proactively taking care of by evolving the software over time. (I'm still shocked they're relying exclusively on the same web-safe color swatches palette for the color picker that they've been using for years.)

                    1 person found this helpful
                    • 7. Re: Inconsistent OS X color picker's sliders make colors darker
                      groove25 Level 4

                      Incidentally, this same problem occurs in Fireworks 8 on Mac OS 10.4.11 (Tiger).


                      I could almost see this system working if Fireworks could tell the OS Color Picker what color profile to use, in advance. The default profile in the color picker for RGB/HSB is always "Generic RGB". Unfortunately, changing the profile by hand works like Photoshop's Match to Profile; it changes the numbers to match the appearance. Whereas in this situation, the behavior that would be more useful is Assign Profile—changing the appearance but not the numbers.


                      This is just a guess, but if Fireworks could tell the the OS Color Picker to use the current monitor profile as a default instead of Generic RGB, then the colors might actually match between the application and the OS.

                      • 8. Re: Inconsistent OS X color picker's sliders make colors darker
                        groove25 Level 4

                        I've given this problem a lot of thought and come very close to an end-user solution that I'd hoped to share with others. Unfortunately, my solution proved to be too much of a hack. It works—basically—yet I cannot recommend it. Nevertheless, I'm submitting it here as proof-of-concept that this problem can be fixed, in one way or another.


                        The idea is to change the default profile used by the Mac OS Color Picker. Setting the default to the user's monitor display profile—instead of "Generic RGB"—should effectively remove color management from the equation and allow Fireworks and the Mac OS Color Picker to work in sync with one another. As there seems to be no direct way to change the default color profile within the Mac OS Color Picker itself, I devised a workaround that I call "wolf in sheep's clothing". In this scenario, the "wolf" is the user's current display profile; the "sheep" is the Generic RGB profile.


                        Here's a look at how it works, step by step:


                        1. Determine the current display profile.

                        Open System Preferences and look under Displays > Color. On my computer, for example, the current display profile is set to the default, "Color LCD".

                        Display profile.png


                        2. Open the Mac OS ColorSync utility to determine the location of the display profile.

                        Go to Applications > Utilities and open ColorSync. Choose the Profiles option and look for your display profile in the left-side panel. Once selected, you'll see the file path in the Profile Information on the right. Go to this location in the Finder.



                        3. Copy the display profile into a working folder on your Desktop.

                        Be sure to copy this file, not move it—leave the original where it is.


                        4. Go to the System Library ColorSync profiles folder and copy it into the same working folder.

                        The file path for this folder should be System/Library/ColorSync/Profiles. Copy the folder, not just the contents, placing it into your working folder along with the previously-copied display profile.


                        5. Make a backup of the System Library ColorSync profiles folder.

                        This can be within the same working folder or stored elsewhere.


                        6. In your working folder, move the display profile into the Profiles folder and then rename both the display profile and the Generic RGB profile.

                        First, rename the Generic RGB profile—something like "True Generic RGB Profile" is simple and will serve as a reminder that this is in fact the original Generic RGB Profile. (The idea is that you'll still be able to access this profile when you need to and can restore it to its original name down the road, if this workaround is no longer necessary.) Second, select the display profile and rename it "Generic RGB Profile". Be careful to match the spelling of the original.


                        7. Open the System Library ColorSync folder and move the modified Profiles folder (from your working folder) into the ColorSync folder.

                        Actually, to accomplish this most easily, you'll want to first delete the existing ColorSync profiles folder. Then move the modified Profiles folder into its place. You'll need to authenticate both actions using your administrator password.


                        8. Shut down and restart your computer.

                        I have no idea if this last step is strictly necessary, but it seems likely that recently-used color profiles might be cached somewhere in the system or within applications, and performing a shutdown should prevent any cached versions from causing trouble.



                        So, does this method work? Well, yes and no. Yes, in that Fireworks and the Mac OS Color Picker now seem to work in sync. The color distortion is gone, and the hex values are preserved. This is the way that color picking in Fireworks should work.

                        post Generic RGB results.png


                        But wait. Take a look at the dropdown menu in the Mac OS Color Picker, and you'll see something a little weird: two Generic RGB profiles instead of one.


                        post Generic RGB - dropdown menu.png


                        What's going on here? Well, based on the results, the first instance would seem to be the display profile under its new name. The second instance must therefore be the original Generic RGB profile, which we renamed "True Generic RGB Profile". Somehow the new name didn't quite take hold.


                        A look at these profiles in the Mac OS ColorSync utility gives us a better idea of what may be going on here. Despite the renaming, ICC profiles have their own internal naming system that's been left untouched. ColorSync, quite smartly, still identifies each profile by its original internal name. (Who knows how other applications handle this inconsistency.)

                        Color LCD aka Generic RGB-2.pngGeneric RGB aka True Generic RGB-2.png


                        My "sheep's clothing", it turns out, looks more like a pantomime horse; it's surprising that the ruse worked at all. From the start, I was a little concerned that swapping the display profile for the Generic RGB profile could have unintended consequences, as I have no idea what role the Generic RGB profile might play in other aspects of the system. But this level of identification and naming inconsistency concerns me even more. I wouldn't recommend that anyone swap their own system's ICC profiles like this.


                        So what's next? Despite its partial failure, this experiment proved to me that a relatively simple solution to this problem is possible. I believe it's incumbent on the Fireworks development team to create a patch for this long-standing issue—and not for CS6 alone—and I'd encourage anyone who cares about the issue to submit a bug report to Adobe's official page, referencing this discussion thread:




                        NOTE: According to a recent post by community professional Jim Babbage, the number of requests the Fireworks team receives about an issue often plays a role in determining what projects get attention.


                        My thinking is that the Fireworks application should look for the user's current monitor display profile and then communicate that to the Mac OS Color Picker, setting that profile as the new default. Boom. Problem solved. If the first part of this fix were somehow impossible, then a Fireworks preference allowing the user to choose a profile for this purpose would also be a suitable solution.


                        I do believe that it's Adobe's responsibility to create a fix for this, as their business is based upon creating applications that work within a given operating system, and their applications should work "out of the box"—in other words, without the need for elaborate workarounds of the sort described here. That said, if any user or developer can find a way to change the default profile for the Mac OS Color Picker directly, that would be another viable way to solve this problem, and I'm sure the Fireworks community would be very interested.

                        • 9. Re: Inconsistent OS X color picker's sliders make colors darker
                          groove25 Level 4

                          UPDATE: This problem has been fixed in Dreamweaver CS6, but not in Fireworks or Flash CS6 (and not in any earlier versions such as CS5, CS4, etc.).


                          Dreamweaver CS6 addresses the color shifting issue by setting the default profile of the Mac OS Color Picker to "Device RGB", which seems to preserve color appearance and hex code values much like the monitor display profile suggested above.



                          Dreamweaver CS6 + Device RGB.png




                          It is unknown why Dreamweaver alone has implemented this solution, as both Fireworks and Flash are based upon the same color picking system. Users of these affected applications (CS6, CS5, and earlier) are strongly encouraged to submit a bug report to Adobe to request a patch for this problem.

                          1 person found this helpful
                          • 10. Re: Inconsistent OS X color picker's sliders make colors darker
                            Lanark Level 1

                            This same issue also affects 'Graphic Converter', but both Dreamweaver and Pixelmator can handle colours for the colour picker without these problems.


                            The issue seems to be that a colour profile can be set in three different places:

                            Within OS X display settings
                            within the color picker applet,

                            and within each image file


                            So I think the application has to be smart enough to realise that a colour received from a picker in colour space X when copied to a document in colour space Y must be adjusted by some fudge factor, otherwise you will get the wrong colour returned.

                            • 11. Re: Inconsistent OS X color picker's sliders make colors darker
                              Alesclandre Level 1



                              As this question is still not answered, and that someone exhumed it, maybe I could share what worked for me with the Apple Color Picker.

                              I think that the Apple Color Picker in the "Colors" palette uses a Color Profile set to sRGB, which is what should be the safiest way to use colors across devices and softwares.

                              So if your monitor Color Profile is not set to sRGB (via Apple Preferences > Display), it could lead to some wrong color picking.


                              The solution that worked for me is to set the Monitor Color Profile to "sRGB IEC61966-2.1".

                              • 12. Re: Inconsistent OS X color picker's sliders make colors darker


                                Could you possibly tell me how to change the Monitor Color Profile to "sRGB IEC61966-2.1". ?

                                Does this actually work? This is driving me nuts when choosing colors for gradients!

                                • 13. Re: Inconsistent OS X color picker's sliders make colors darker
                                  Alesclandre Level 1

                                  I'm on Mac OS. I don't know how to do this on other OS.


                                  On Mac OS, go to your system preferences, select "displays". Go to the "color" tab and select the good profile.

                                  • 14. Re: Inconsistent OS X color picker's sliders make colors darker
                                    magicmango238 Level 1

                                    Thanks a lot, I worked it out..  I tried that but I cant work with that color profile as it gives me a headache and is all blue!

                                    I too am on a mac..


                                    I know the workaround to select colours using the paint bucket and eyedroppper on the left.. ( not the fill in properties ) but this is useless when selecting for gradients.


                                    Ahwell, hopefully it gets sorted but I know its been going on for forever. balls.