Designer Nick Chubarov & illustrator Marina Smiian

Color wheel for drawing in Adobe Photoshop

While working in computer drawing programs, we have all seen a convenient color wheel or its various branches, for example, take a look at the color wheels in Corel Painter and ArtRage:

ArtRage colour wheel, Цветовой круг ArtRage
Цветовой круг Corel Painter, Painters Wheel Corel Painter

Older versions of Photoshop (CS6 and earlier).

Adobe went its own way and created a complex system (for drawing) for accessing colors. You have to click on color icons and choose a color from there. Everyone tried to speed up their work as much as possible — adding the necessary colors to the edge of the canvas, «mixing» them and then selecting a color with a pipette, presets were also made in the sample menu… In the new versions of Photoshop, they added a quick way to call colors using the Alt-Shift-right-click combination.

Photoshop палитра цветов, Photoshop colour palette
Photoshop quick access to the colour palette , Photoshop быстрый доступ к палитре цветов

Overall, it was inconvenient, but the main thing is that this drawback is eliminated with «extensions». On the internet, currently, you can find many types of color wheels (even those with an Internet «tie-in», generating color solutions, but we are not interested in that). And many of them are paid, but there is one simple «as cheap as chips» eight-segment color wheel with gradient stretching – PaintersWheel с сайта .

We download and install it through Adobe or by copying the files to the Plug-ins folder (in my case, the path looks like C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS6 (64Bit)\Plug-ins\Panels\PaintersWheel\PaintersWheel_CS6). Then we launch Photoshop and enable the extension through the window — extensions — PaintersWheel — done!

PaintersWheel inclusion in Photoshop
PaintersWheel в Photoshop

This color wheel is sufficient «in full», of course, it would be nice to have more information about colors (different numbering of the color layout), but the extension is distributed for free, so we say «thank you» to the developer.

But for working with web or graphic design, the standard color tool is more suitable, since it heavily depends on color control, especially if they are specified in a brand book or other documentation (CMYK, RGB, numerical color values, etc.).

Newer versions of Photoshop (CC and higher)

In Adobe CC versions, some extensions have become outdated as the programs have switched to a different language for writing add-ons (previously it was Flash, now it’s HTML), so this article is relevant for versions of Adobe products CS6 and below. However, in Adobe Photoshop CC 2019 and above, the color wheel is available within the program itself, accessed through the additional drop-down menu on the Color panel — Color Wheel.
Цветовой круг Adobe Photoshop Adobe Photoshop colour wheel

How to find and adjust the color wheel in Photoshop:

  1. Open Photoshop and select the «Brush» tool from the toolbar.
  2. In the top toolbar, select the «Brush Preset Picker» option.
  3. In the window that appears, select the «Colors» option in the top left corner.
  4. In the center of the window, a circular «Color Wheel» will appear with color settings.
  5. To adjust the color wheel, click on the gear icon in the top right corner of the color wheel window.
  6. In the menu that appears, select the settings you want, such as the number of segments on the color wheel, starting and ending colors, etc.
  7. When you’re finished adjusting the color wheel, click «OK» to close the settings window.


Now you can use the color wheel to select the color you need when drawing and editing images in Photoshop.