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HVC Color Composer Professional

InDesign Plug-in for navigating through color choices

hvccolorcomposerThe Color Picker in Adobe InDesign works well enough. It lets you choose colors based on values we’re all familiar with: CMYK, RGB, and Lab. It isn’t, however, all that great at selecting colors the way your brain perceives them. Enter HVC Color Composer Professional.

This InDesign CS and CS2 plug-in, which includes hue, value, chroma, and Photoshop-style HSB options, dynamically builds color palettes based on the currently selected color, and saves palettes as standard ASE files for use elsewhere. Unfortunately, accessing the HVC values isn’t exactly straightforward, as double-clicking InDesign’s Fill color swatch opens the default Color Picker. Instead, the user double-clicks the Fill color in the HVC Color Composer palette. The palette also includes color sliders but they don’t offer the same control as the plug-in’s Color Picker window.

Building complementary palettes is where this plug-in shines. You set how many steps apart colors should be and it creates a palette where all the colors are the same contrast range away from the currently selected color. It also supports creating palettes with colors that are proportionally the same contrast range away from two selected colors—a handy tool when you need to create a palette that works well with a client’s corporate colors.

As a bonus, the HVC color range falls almost completely within the CMYK color space, which means that there shouldn’t be any out-of-gamut headaches, such as those that crop up when converting from RGB.

HVC Color Composer Professional for InDesign fills an important niche in the color-picking world, and its smooth conversion to CMYK means fewer problems on press. It’s Mac-only for now, but a Windows version is on the way.—Jeff Gamet

PRICE: $129.95
FROM: Master Colors, LLC
PHONE: 303-641-1532
WEB: www.master-colors.com
FOR: Mac
RATING: 4

LAYERS VERDICT
HOT Builds great palettes; converts well to CMYK
NOT Color Picker access not obvious

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