Photoshop: Add custom colors for colour coding layers and groups

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Wouldn't it be great to be able to use more colours than the 7 defaults for colour coding layers and groups? They're a great way (along with proper naming) to organise complex documents, but having only seven default colours to choose from means they start to become duplicated which pretty much defeats the purpose.

Would be really useful to have the ability (much like with Indesign and Illustrator) to use a wider palette of colours to colour code layers and groups.
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Rian Magee

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Posted 2 years ago

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Cristen Gillespie

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This topic keeps coming up and they keep ignoring it. Do so few of us use colors to help stay organized that they don't think adding more colors worth the effort? It does seem like it should be a JDI. This has my vote.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Where are the other topics here that ask for this feature? I did a search and couldn't find any other requests.
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Cristen Gillespie

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I can't answer for  this forum—I haven't been here that long— but I've seen it come up before in places that Adobe is said to have some presence  and is reading the messages. It was most talked about when the Layers panel was being enhanced through a few versions (imo, one of the best things Adobe has ever done) as one of the omissions, and something that could be a JDI. I've sporadically seen comments since then in various forums.

I'm afraid many of us, myself included, have a tendency to ask occasionally, then give up, and only think about it again when someone else mentions it. It's not like it's a major stumbling block to our workflow. I don't know from the forums I do visit that many people know they should come here with their feature requests, or that they can vote if they come here. It's one more time sink to many people. I keep telling people, but. . .

Which is also why I asked if perhaps not enough of us use the feature, or feel enough pain over it, since other JDIs (what seem to us should be JDIs), come up more often. For instance, Path and Color Sampler legibility, imo, is more important, since not being able to see the path easily or find the color sampler again is a pain point.

With so many big features and big issues to deal with, I honestly don't expect Adobe to be able to get around to most of our JDI-type features anytime in the near future. Just that they've got a list tacked on the hallway so someone with an afternoon to spare can grab one of the more minor features like this one and enhance it.  Yeah, even a spare afternoon is probably asking for a lot, but hopefully not the impossible. <BG>
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Filip Černý

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New version of CC photoshop  need double amount of color in layer labels at least... Add: Light blue, Dark blue, Pink, brown, red, wine, light grey, dark grey, light green, dark green, black, white, yello... / or, better way is  optional color choosen from colorpallete...Thanks...! 
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grauenwölfe

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Especially annoying that this exact feature is already implemented in Guides where users are offered 9 defaults and a "custom" option on top of that. I just cannot understand Adobe's priorities at all anymore.
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Isaac Rifley

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Hear Hear!
(Edited)
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Rian Magee

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Its a feature that already exists in illustrator, (and to a degree indesign) which is what confuses me as to how Adobe go about developing/testing their software. Features that would, or should be included in the entire suite seem to get overlooked or altered between products without much reason. Even simple things like inconsistencies in keyboard shortcuts (granted those can be changed).


I won't really be holding my breath for this feature to appear, but maybe if it doesn't in the next major cc update a petition wouldn't be a bad idea.
(Edited)
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Isaac Rifley

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Yeah, it doesn't seem like that would take much effort, as a custom plugin I use for my brushes actually already HAS this kind of feature, and at the very least, I don't see what it would hurt to automatically include minor functions like this in all versions of all CC products...
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Filip Černý

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Colored Layers.

The option of multiple colors in the Layers palette. Seven colors are not enough. The ability to mark a layer with more colors will be appreciated by all who work with a lot of layers... for example add -custom color...    Thank you very much for everybody.
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Filip Černý

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MAKE IT!! please
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Rian Magee

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For any of you that haven't yet, can you please give the post an up-vote and spread the word :)
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Aaron Bruce

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Photoshop CC: PLEASE add more layer tag colors (and/or custom option).

It would be great to have more than the 7 default layer tag colors available. As a designer I really need to able to organize my layers/groups with more colors.

This is long overdue in mho :)
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Eric Chamberlain

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Photoshop: Brighter Layer panel color labels.

Right now in Photoshop when you right-click and assign a color to a layer it gives only somewhat subdued, drab versions of the colors. I assume this was done because it fits the rest of the layout/scheme, but this is putting form over function. I need brighter colors to work with many layers to avoid fatigue from searching.
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Isaac Rifley

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Not to mention:  The lack in variety leads to confusion and difficulty when trying to differentiate between specific layers.
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Warren Heaton

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Yes, it would be great to be able to bring up the Color Picker and set custom Layer Colors.  Perhaps the controls could be in the Panel Options under Thumbnail Size and Thumbnail Contents with any custom colors set there becoming available in the Layer Pop-Up menu along with the existing colors.  Taking it a step further, it would be nice if the default name for the custom color was generated automatically based on the color selection (similar to how After Effects names Solid layers based on the color set for the solid). 
(Edited)
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Karlita Manion

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Mmm no. Instead, all you losers should learn to organize layers by groups and names. How old are you? Are you still in kindergarden that you need to color code your layers to organize them? Do you also need your blankie and a song. Grow up. Think a little. Plan. Organize.
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Warren Heaton

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@Rain: It’s a great suggestion and a frequent one as well, but efficient layer naming is more or less all we have.
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Cristen Gillespie

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> I wonder if a reason we haven’t seen this feature implemented has anything to do with it breaking backwards compatibility with the PSD file format?>

Why? That could be said of any updated feature, but as it is, to open in an older version of PS, you have always needed to Maximize Compatibility so the older PS doesn't choke on newer features. Older files would simply have only used a few of the possible layers colors. Nothing changed there.
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Warren Heaton

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Why?  Great question.  New features in a file format are what make backwards compatibility a concern at any time.  And, no that can't be said of any updated feature.  You have to distinguish whether or not it's interface (how you interact with the layers) or if it's format (what the document itself supports).

It sounds like you misunderstand what "Maximize Compatibility" actually does.

If Maximize Compatibility is enabled, a flat version of the layers is included with the document allowing Photoshop 2.5 or older to open it and allowing After Effects and Premiere Pro to import the file "as footage" (as opposed to "as layers").
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Cristen Gillespie

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> It sounds like you misunderstand what "Maximize Compatibility" actually does.>

No, I know that it makes a flattened composite so any app, new or old, that can ingest a PSD file can read the file.

You seem to be saying that if the Layers panel adopts more colored labels, the Layers panel itself wouldn’t work in, say, CC2018, because it was introduced in, say, 2019. I have two problems with that suggestion, although I’m willing to be educated differently. The first problem is why have all the other additions to the Layers panel gone through just fine? We’ve added and changed around quite a lot. What makes a color label so different? And so impossible for CC 2018 to simply ignore the color label altogether, rather than have a nervous breakdown.

The other problem I have is this is a common, very old request. If adding new color labels is going to break Layers in earlier versions, then why hasn’t Adobe put us out of our misery by simply straight up saying so?

I understand that it’s probably no small, one-hour JDI. But I don’t understand at all from what you’ve said why labels, and not badges or new kinds of layers (they didn’t always have Smart Objects, for example) or adding filters to the Layers panel, etc., didn’t break Layers in earlier versions. They simply ignore that stuff, and we use the composite layer to pave over any issues, which I know nothing about,  that any of the layer functions might create with an older version.

To simply ignore a color not included would seem very possible. Those layers aren’t colored. Just like they ignore the Blend-If badge, no, and the newer Shape layer form, and Smart Objects, and . . .

As long as I give a CS6 friend my PSD file with Maximize Compatibility enabled, I have yet to run into any problems. That’s my part done for backwards compatibility. So again, why would labels be different?

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Warren Heaton

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Labels might not be different; however, how would CS6 know to show Chartreuse (a strong to brilliant greenish yellow) instead of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet or Gray?
(Edited)
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Cristen Gillespie

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> For those who feel too comfortable with Photoshop there's still not developed Paint - I saw some talented people did much more in than that was meant for...>

I'm sorry. I'm having trouble understanding what you're talking about — are you saying that if we feel we've got all we need from the PS team, we could simply dive into painting in PS, and marvel at all the ways painters currently manage to make great art out of rather, er, antiquated painting tools? And see we don't yet have all we need? At least compared to those apps out there that specialize in painting?<G>

I'd say we all get pretty creative within the app's limitations, whatever we do, to a certain extent. That's why there are so many plugins, we own some specialized apps besides Adobe, and we make so many feature requests. Photoshop was very, very smart when they developed a strong plugin architecture. Not all apps have done that, but it has certainly extended PS to be the app that makes a place for, and therefore controls, all the others.  '-}

And in the main, PS has become a pretty efficient workspace despite ballooning in the number of features it has—but that won't, and shouldn't, stop us from asking for more personal customization. Photoshop isn't just for photos, so all the possible uses, from painting, as you mentioned, to designing icons, to infinity and beyond, PS has to think in terms of being highly customizable to accommodate all our very different needs.
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Kukurykus

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Actually sole painting that Paint lets mainly for and has nothing to do with above problem or other features Photoshop provides was not a piont as that really would be unlogical in context of this disscusion. However I don't need more colours I understand poeple why they want to have them.

So my answer was to comments of Karlita Manion or some others who may show up with lack of understanding to other people needs depending on that they use Photoshop for. If she is fine with that Photoshop offers, but do it with noticable arrogance I ironically went step forward, why to not use Paint, that once made is at the same stage from years. Probably somone would argue with her gaol of improvements saying we already had everything to create that you want. The only what you need is good 'organisation', or rather talent in this specific case.
(Edited)
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Cristen Gillespie

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Ohhhhhh, thank you for the explanation. I was being dense, totally forgetting about that old Paint program. LOL

I could add, there's a fellow uses PS for his illustrations. You can look him up. He's famous. Bob Staake. I had the privilege of attending a webinar when he discussed how he uses PS. PS 3, that is. I don't know how he still runs it, but he does. Only he didn't say don't get the latest and greatest. His work as a magazine illustrator is terribly tight, he's got his style down pat, so won't mess with success. He wasn't suggesting PS had added nothing since then worth a mention. <BG>
(Edited)
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Kukurykus

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There are people who can do anything they imagine 'just touching' things around that many of us couldn't realise that's possible untill see it. We mostly are regular users, so we need more support, more likely for ease during work that others like genius can have natually. The good argument I saw somewhere over here was we still can need few tools comparing to other users, but when working for those people who are less experienced the communication is going to be harder without using special 'icon' language that translates our ununderstable words more easily.
(Edited)
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Warren Heaton

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If you're finding Photoshops extensive Brush Tool feature's don't meet your needs, but sure to keep an eye on Adobe Project Gemini.  It looks like it matches, if not exceeds, the longs standing painting application Painter (which I think is now owned by Corel) and is sure to rival Art Rage Pro and the like.
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Cristen Gillespie

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I wasn't aware. I haven't seen it, but their blog page sounds really intriguing. . . I'm sure this will be welcome to Adobe users. I've found that many of the brush engine features can simulate a number of paint and paper textures, and using styles created from actual paint helps, too, but watercolor is still somewhat lacking. And many specialty brushes in Painter aren't readily reproducible with PS's extensive brush settings, at least not at all easily or obviously to me.

I'll let the professional painters/illustrators take up the valuable limited space to develop it, but I'm certainly looking forward to it. Kyle's brushes are pretty fantastic, so it's good they've got someone who really knows how to make the most of their Brush Settings panel on board.