Kuler Workflow

Kuler Workflow

Posted on 05. Mar, 2009 by in After Effects

Ever worked with Adobe Kuler? Ever wanted to use it’s color schemes in After Effects? Now you can. It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s simple, and it’s free!

Adobe Kuler is a great website where designers from all over the world create and exchange color schemes. Kuler has several algorithms to help you create your very own color scheme, plus it allows rating and commenting on existing Tea Cups With Lids Amber Rings Wholesale Tea Trays Toddler Sleeping Bags schemes, that can be downloaded in Adobe Swatch Exchange format.

Kuler Desktop is also available for download. It’s a small AIR application that connects with Kuler service and allows you to browse through the schemes directly from your desktop. It’s great.

However it is very hard to get the color schemes into After Effects. The simplest solution is to create a screen-grab and putting it in you project. Unfortunately that takes some time to do, especially when you are just starting your project and want to test out several different color palettes.

Jeff Almasol from redefinery.com has published a great set of useful scripts for After Effects that are available on Adobe Exchange. I just love his work. This package includes great script “Swatch You Want”, however I personally find it a little bit difficult to use.

That’s where this tutorial comes in. I found a very fast and efficient way of grabbing color palettes from Kuler Desktop and placing them directly in After Effects. Download the provided project file to check it out on your own. I hope you’ll like it.


I said that it is possible to sample colors directly from Kuler Desktop using the EyeDropper tool. Thats turns out not to be true (at least on Windows XP x64).

If you want to have my KulerSwatches project imported automatically when you open up your After Effects please check out Lloyd Alvarez script.

Happy AfterEffecting!

Download: Tutorial project file (After Effects CS3)

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37 Responses to “Kuler Workflow”

  1. Rafael Guerra

    05. Mar, 2009


  2. Lubos Buracinsky

    06. Mar, 2009

    haha! pretty kuul!
    a must for a designer.
    Thanks Jerzy

  3. Nick D. Clements

    06. Mar, 2009

    Super clever solution! Plus a “bonus” tip: guide layers.

  4. rev_65

    06. Mar, 2009

    One word…SAHH-WEET!!!

  5. James Wicks

    06. Mar, 2009

    You’re a genius!
    Thank you very much for this.

  6. Bartłomiej

    06. Mar, 2009


  7. illd

    06. Mar, 2009

    Very, very usefull.
    Thank you Maltaannon!

  8. illd

    06. Mar, 2009

    I want to setup the Kulerprojekt as Autostart Template in AE.
    I know this is possible but I cant find the Folder where I have to copy it. Can somebody help me?

  9. Maltaannon

    06. Mar, 2009

    Here’s a link: http://aescripts.com/load-project-at-startup/ It’s a good idea to have that at startup. I’m going to update the tutorial and show how to do it.

  10. Amit Zinman

    07. Mar, 2009

    As expected it is not working with Vista 64-bit. I copy and paste but perhaps Vista keeps separate clipboards for 32-bit and 64-bit because when I paste in AE it pastes something I copied in Firefox like a day ago, but when I paste in Notepad, it looks fine.
    So where is my 64-bit AE?

  11. Maltaannon

    07. Mar, 2009

    That is a general issue with AE. It happens sometimes. Not always. Hard to say what’s causing it. Even with if you want to copy tracking data from Mocha to AE. Restarting AE helps. If you want to copy values from Kuler it’s always best to plan for it and do it when you start your project and open a fresh copy of AE.

  12. illd

    08. Mar, 2009

    Concerning the 64 bit issue:
    You have to restart AE and then the copying of the data will work again. Sometimes for a minute sometimes for a hour – Microsoft you suck!

  13. Mark Bowen

    08. Mar, 2009

    Thanks for the file that’s a brilliant solution. Always wondered if the copied values could somehow be integrated using Javascript and I’ve been proven right that it can be so very very thankful for this one. Well done.

    Just wondering though, how exactly does this work? I opened up the Paste Here layer and saw an expression with some javascript but couldn’t really understand it. What does it all mean?

    Best wishes,


  14. illd

    09. Mar, 2009

    @ Mark Bowen: Start the expressionhelpfile inside AE. It gives a really good intoduction to Expressions also with a lot of good examples

  15. Maltaannon

    10. Mar, 2009

    Well… I’m not going to go through the code, since that would take up to mych time and explaining. The basic concept is to take the string (text) value, split it to five elements (based on comma separation), and then read the values.

    The color values are presented in HEX code (sometimes referred to as web code). It consists of six chars. Each pair of chars represents one of the RGB color values. They add up to a total of 3 pairs (two chars for each channel).

    Then simply convert the HEX number into DEC number and linearly change the range from <0,255> to <0,1> for each channel, make alpha channel opaque, and apply the results to an array [R, G, B, A].

  16. Ei_b3low

    24. Jun, 2009

    in AECS3 not supported do that, how to can drag and drop kuler in AECS3 as comp?

  17. peter

    26. Jun, 2009

    thank you. thats great stuff !!!

  18. rudi

    01. Jul, 2009

    this has totally improved my workflow, thanks maltaannon =)

  19. david

    29. Jul, 2009

    Excellant. I was using GenoPal, copying the hex values by hand and then using them in AE. The flow flows much easier.

  20. crystal

    07. Aug, 2009

    I have the same issue as Ei_b3low… I can’t get drag and drop the kuler application to AECS3. What am I doing wrong? Thank you for your help! And thank you for all your great tutorials!!

    • Jerzy Drozda Jr

      07. Aug, 2009

      That’s the thing. You can’t drag and drop the Kuleronto After Effects. That’s why I made the project file that you can use along with the color swatches value. Please watch the tutorial again. I’m sure you’ll see it this time.

      • coolnails

        01. Nov, 2009

        I also have the issue,how can you drag and drop the kuler color theme to AECS3 as a comp. I have used the project file you provide and tried both cs3 and cs4 version .But both did not work. I already know how to use color swatches value to work. But in tutorial you did drag and drop a color theme into AE as a comp,how did you do that?

      • coolnails

        01. Nov, 2009

        oh,I want one thing:My system is win7 64bit. Dose this matter?

        • coolnails

          01. Nov, 2009

          I know why.You did not drag color theme ,you drag a project.
          Forgive my poor English.
          Thanks for the tutorial.

  21. crystal

    12. Aug, 2009

    Oh, ok. Thank you for taking the time to respond! You’re the best!!

  22. Eduardo

    20. Aug, 2009

    Great expression.
    Real usefull.

  23. Steve Martin

    24. Aug, 2009

    Or, Mac fans can check this out http://tinyurl.com/6be3kg

  24. dencit

    30. Aug, 2009

    it doesnt work in cs4

    • SOSA

      08. Sep, 2009

      it works fine for me…I followed the tutorial and didn’t have any problem, and I’m using CS4

  25. SOsa

    08. Sep, 2009

    OMG that was amazing, you’re a genius man!! this is huge and it’s gonna be so helpful!! thanx!!

  26. swaroop

    01. Nov, 2009

    This is just great …. i try both ways but i love your method is so cool &easy !! basically its helpful when i pass project to some one.. its come in handy.

  27. Nate Tull

    03. Nov, 2009

    I tried to drag the swatch from Kuler onto Ae and it didnt work. It just made a single swatch on my monitor, no import into Ae. Sucks cuz I could really use this.

    • Jerzy Drozda Jr

      04. Nov, 2009

      It doesn’t work that way. I don’t understand how some of you think it does. I made it clear in the tutorial. Watch it again, you’ll see what I mean.

  28. Dimitris

    10. Mar, 2010



  29. Christophe

    20. Jan, 2011

    Don’t work on win7 x64 & Ae CS5

  30. Megan

    24. Feb, 2011

    The main thing is: is it safe?

  31. Peter

    04. May, 2013

    I’m not gay, but if I ever run into you, I’m gonna kiss you on the lips! Thanks!!