[CREATE] assets library

Jon A. Cruz jon at joncruz.org
Thu Sep 27 20:07:59 PDT 2007

On Sep 25, 2007, at 1:53 PM, Jon Phillips wrote:

> This is the best spec I've every seen! JonCruz, what do you think of
> this easy to use color/swatch spec?

Well, I think there is a huge problem with it: It's trying to define  
the wrong thing.

In general artistic design work, I normally hit a different  
definition of "swatch". It's not just a color, it's a "sample" or  
"material". It could be a simple solid ink color, or it could be a  
heavy plaid cloth. Moving into software, "Gold" is another good  
example. "Gold" is a texture, not a color (just ask the Blender  
artists out there). From an artist/designer's viewpoint, they tend to  
think in terms of a swatch book as "a collection of things I've  
pulled together to use for this project". I *think* some of the  
problem comes from saying "Pantone swatch book" and such but not  
keeping in mind that it is just a subset of general "swatch books".  
That is, it is a "swatch book but with only solid paint swatches".   
Then again... I have used foil pantone books, so those definitely  
fall into the "material, not just color" category.

Anyway, I'd suggest that we either go with the concept that a  
"swatch" is a "material" rather than just a "color", or that we avoid  
the term "swatch" altogether. Generally I favor going with a bit more  
than just color alone.

For SVG work, we'd probably like to be able to include gradients and  
patterns also. "Brushes" might also be nice... but I think those are  
something a bit different. For the apps I've seen that differentiate  
brushes from patterns, brushes get to be more of blobs of complex  
procedural code.

And think of the use case. Say a comic artist is working on a  
project. He would probably want a "swatch book" for each of his  
characters, and perhaps one combining them. Then he might also want  
to add a book per character per lighting condition ("daytime",  
"nighttime", etc). When he went to use it, he might like to just  
select "Fred's skin" and apply it to an area. Then "Fred's shirt" for  
another. Those might just be simple RGB colors, or the skin might be  
a simple gradient and the shirt might be a checked pattern.

However... the artist most definitely would benefit from being able  
to define those books once and then just reference them from each of  
the programs he uses to create things.
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