Australian company Palette has announced a sampling device that can read the color of items it is placed on, allowing photographers to match the exact chromatic values when processing images in Photoshop. The Palette Cube uses red, green and blue light pulses to reflect off surfaces it is asked to read, and records the values of the light that passes back through its aperture. The color values are transmitted to a connected iOS or Android device via Bluetooth or via a USB cable. Cube measures color intensity and temperature, and can report in LAB, RGB or CMYK.

The concept behind the device is to allow colors to be scientifically recorded and matched at a later date. For photographers, the intention is that it makes color matching a garment, artwork or any colored surface easier. Cube integrates with Photoshop via an application called Cube Link, so exact color values can be imported to the program. Sampled colors appear in the foreground color palette and can be added to the list of color swatches. This allows checking that the color balance of the image is correct for the objects shown. Unlike a general grey card balancer, this method should compensate for the color balance bias and characteristics of the camera used.

The Palette Cube costs $179.99/£149.99. For more information visit the Palette website.

Manufacturer Technical Details:

  • Highly accurate: We understand how important it is to get it right, the first time. Cube uses a controlled light sequence through an aperture to identify and capture the colour you want.
  • Seamless Pairing: Bluetooth connection as it should be: no settings menus, no confusing pairing rituals. Just open the Cube Companion app and turn Cube on. Clear, stable, simple.
  • Colour, the way you want it: Cube can output colours in RGB, CMYK, HEX, LAB, and LRV colour spaces, with support for multiple colour profiles as well. You're in (colour) control.
  • Note: Paint matching is not supported in Australia and New Zealand

What Can and Can't I Capture?

  • Plastic
  • Wood
  • Paper (matte and glossy)
  • Cardboard
  • Concrete and plaster
  • Painted surfaces (matte and glossy)
  • Fabric (except loosely woven fabrics, such as wool)
  • Powders (such as ground coffee)
  • Organic items (such as leaves, bark, and even skin!)

Cube uses an internal light source and detector to read colour. Cube still reads them, but as a guide, these are some of the surfaces which won't be captured with as much accuracy:

  • Transparent objects (such as glass or clear plastic)
  • Liquids
  • Loose fabric (such as wool)
  • Metallic surfaces (such as car paint or jewelry)
  • Fluorescent surfaces (such as sticky notes)