Something about Fireworks (day 2)

Here is how I use another time-saving Fireworks tool to create colour swatches from any image which can be saved as CLUTs and shared across a team of designers.

Create a shared colour palette

Forgive me if you think that I'm a lot obsessed with colour and with Macromedia Fireworks at the moment. If you're bored with both these topics, play with this instead. ;).

Still here? Phew!

Another neat Fireworks tool is designed to create CLUTs (Colour Look-Up Tables) from any image, converting image colour components into a colour palette that can be loaded in both Fireworks and Photoshop. The best part about this method is that the look-up table can be shared across a group of designers who are all working on the same project. We use this method at Stuff and Nonsense all the time.

Here's how

1. Select Commands > Web > Create Shared Palette from the Fireworks menu.

Fireworks dialog box2. In the dialog box, select the maximum number of colours for the palette (in my example only twenty-four) and choose a folder from which Fireworks will select images to sample.

3. Give the resulting look-up table a name and save it into your project folder.

Loading the look-up table


Fireworks swatches tabSelect the 'Swatches' tab in the Color pallete and click on the drop-down arrow to reveal your palette options. Choose 'Add Swatches' and select the CLUT that you created earlier. All the colour cubes from your chosen image(s) will be loaded into the palette.


Photoshop swatches tabSelect the 'Swatches' tab and click on the drop-down arrow to reveal your palette options. Choose 'Load Swatches' and select your CLUT.

Wrapping it up

Here is a side-by-side comparison between the CLUT method and my manual method for creating colour palettes based on art.

Side-by-side comparison between the CLUT method and my manual method

I find this method very useful for sampling colours from any image source including photographs, paintings, even CD cover-artwork, all of which I often take inspiration from. But the best part is that the CLUTs can be saved for easy reuse and shared among a team of designers to create a consistant feel to a site design. I hope that you find it useful too.


  1. #1 On June 16, 2004 01:12 AM Luc said:

    It looks a great tool, but be warned: you need to have massive amounts of RAM, otherwise FW will freeze up on you. As we all know, FW is a RAM-eating hog ;-)

  2. #2 On June 16, 2004 09:25 AM Phunky said:

    Thats another nice FW tip, my god im gonna go home after work today and get FW04 installed on my home pc and play :D

    with fireworks that is...

  3. #3 On June 17, 2004 09:59 AM picselutz said:

    I use Fireworks all the time.
    It is endeed a RAM eating software, but my processor doesn't allow me to use Photoshop 7
    So ... that's it. I drewl all the time at sites designed with Photoshop.

  4. #4 On June 19, 2004 07:42 PM Will said:

    I think Fireworks and Photoshop both have their place in the designer's toolbox. Fireworks is powerful and easy to understand, yet Photoshop can do much more. However, with all the muscle of the two programs they have specialties that the other can't emulate.

    In trying to use just one program over the other, but I have found that I cannot exclusively cling to one. Between Fireworks, Photoshop and Illustrator, I get the final product.