Crafting Distinctive Color Palettes for GIMP Enthusiasts

Creating swatches in GIMP can be challenging, especially for beginners. To ease this process, I have developed a user-friendly palette generator software called Rickrack. This tool empowers you to generate a set of harmonious colors based on various color matching rules. With Rickrack, you can swiftly create a practical and compatible palette of swatches tailored for GIMP. Here are the steps to use this tool:

  1. Select your desired color matching rule to define the relationship between colors in your palette, such as analogous colors.

2.Adjust the colors of the gradient palette by moving the tags on the palette.


  1. Export the palette to a format recognized by GIMP and import it into GIMP.


This software is free and open source, Github address:


Looks great! I Can’t wait to give it a try!

Thanks for contributing yet another amazing project to the open-source community!

For Arch and Arch-based (Linux) distros, Rickrack is also available in the AUR: AUR (en) - rickrack-bin


Thanks for posting it on AUR. :slight_smile:

Is the application itself able to be themed? Choosing colors on the light yellow theme of the app will skew one’s perception on the colors!

The interface theme can be changed in the software settings.


This is a really cool, great job!

After playing around with it for a while, I hope you don’t mind some feedback on ways it could be improved.

New Features

Implement a RYB colour wheel. You can follow the discussion on these forums as to why this is preferable for artists: RYB vectorscope ?

Option for more than 5 colours. This could be particularly useful when selecting custom colours from an image. Further, if you had a larger board, there could be an extract option for ‘all’ or ‘various’, which would be a mix from ‘light’ ‘dark’ ‘bright’ etc…

Option to export the board as a .png


Most software I’ve used places tabs (such as ‘rule’ and ‘detection’) at the top of the window, not the bottom. Current placement is counter-intuitive from normal use.

Redundancy: on the right side panel there are buttons for settings, info, and the four views. However in the ‘operation’ panel, and ‘view’ section, right next to that, we again the four views. For the sake of simplification and screen real estate, I think it would be better if the four views were only visible in one location.

Further, as far as I can see, the four buttons (create, locate, derive, attach) in ‘view’ only work on one view each. Therefore, it would be best to show only one of those buttons at a time, according to the view chosen.

‘create’ might be better called ‘random’ or ‘randomize’ in English, based on how I understand it to work.

‘derive’ seems to just change the column value to 9, while ‘zoom’ in adjustment window also does the same. Three differently named tools to do the same thing is not ideal - I would just pick the best one (changing column value, IMO) and get rid of the others.

Result section down the bottom is not visible unless dragged up, meaning it is not immediately obvious that functionality exists. Further, when it is dragged up, it takes up too much screen space. To reduce this space, I would make the coloured rectangles smaller in height, and have less space between the sliders below. I would also make its default state visible (not off screen).

Please don’t be discouraged by this feedback - it’s a very good piece of software!

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Thank you for your feedback and suggestions.

New Features

  1. RYB Color Space
    RYB uses red, yellow, and blue as the three primary colors, which is advantageous in scenes using pigment painting. Still, RYB is not a standard color space. Monitors use RGB, and printing uses CMYK. I will consider adding a switch to RYB in the future.

  2. More Colors
    Rickrack can add reference colors to the five main colors on the color wheel. The reference color can be an absolute value (dragging the main color tag will not affect the reference color), or a relative value relative to the main color (dragging the main color tag, the reference color will change together). (a)Right-click and select “Insert Ref Point”, or (b) hold down Ctrl while left-clicking anywhere on the color wheel to create a reference color.

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  1. Export the Board as an Image
    Right-click on the color board and select “Export as Image”. The next version will put “png” as an optional format in “Export”.

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  1. Software Layout
    The sidebar of the software can be dragged to adjust.

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  1. Interface Button Redundancy
    Thanks for your advice. The button will be redesigned in the next version. The content on the button will also adjust. This advice is very useful.

  2. Behavior of the ”derive“ button
    The create, derive button means discarding all colors, that is, resetting all matching effects. locate means to reopen the picture. attach is to add a color group in the warehouse. The color palette defaults to 9 rows (9 columns), so pressing this button will reset it to 9. The button will be redesigned in the next version. The content on the button will also adjust.

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  1. Incomplete Information Displayed in Result Window
    This is designed on purpose. This software wants users to focus on the relative relationship between colors, rather than on the precise adjustment of color values. Therefore, the color block is placed very large, and the rgb and hsv sliders are “hidden” below. If the user wants to adjust the value of a color precisely, such as #FFFFFF instead of #FFFFFE, then the user will definitely choose to adjust directly in GIMP. Rickrack’s goal is to help users discover harmonious color combinations.

Thanks for your response!

Yes the reason painters use RYB model is because it gives more pleasing harmonies than RGB. Darktable has recently implemented a RYB vectorscope (with next release containing colour harmony guides atop this scope), and it is also the model used by (another alternate to adobe) for creating colour harmonies.

Yes, it would be nice to extend this functionality to ‘image’. Right click and ‘insert ref point’ is not an option there.


On another note, is Rickrack properly colour managed? The colours on my exported png (viewed in Geeqie, which is colour managed) are duller than those within the program.

And running exiftool, I could not see a color profile embedded in the png.

EDIT: I have now compared a jpg with embedded profile in various colour managed programs (krita, geeqie, firefox), to rickrack, and it does appear over saturated in rickrack, so I guess rickrack is not colour managed.

Thanks for your feedback! Rickrack supports adding reference colors to color wheels, images, and swatches via shortcut keys. This software probably needs a more obvious button to add reference colors.

Pick up more colors in an image

Use Ctrl + MouseClick to add reference colors in color wheel, image and color board. Reference colors are all interrelated.

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Distorted colors?

Thanks for testing the exported image. I don’t know much about this field. The same picture has different light and dark effects in the two software. Is it caused by the difference in color depth? The default depth seems to be 24bit. The color depth of the exported image is also 24bit. (QImage Class | Qt GUI 6.5.1)

In addition, I saw that color management seems to be related to the ICC profile. Rickrack is written using PyQt 5.12.1, and it seems that it does not support reading the ICC profile. (QColorSpace — Qt for Python)

It may be necessary to upgrade the version of PyQt, but upgrading may cause compilation failure. Because the fbs compilation software does not support higher versions of PyQt.


In addition, I think we should continue to discuss the topic of software technical details on Github. After all, this is the GIMP community.

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The community here has many who are knowledgeable in issues of colour management, much more so than me, so it may be of benefit to continue discussion here for their contribution. As far as I see there are two separate issues:

  1. Rickrack does not display correct colour of images. This would not be due to bit depth. It would be due to incorrect reading (or no reading at all) of the images embedded colour profile.

  2. Exported png does not contain an embedded profile. As far as I know, this means the colours of that png could display differently in different software, pending the colour management of that software.

I think that’s about all I’ll be able to add on the subject. Like I said, others here know far more than me, so hopefully you can get some more input. I know nothing of Python or QT, so can’t help there.

Yes, Rickrack uses the sRGB color space. This is a standard default color space for the Internet. My monitor also uses this color space, so there is no difference in the exported pictures. This may not be solved in a short time, because I have no way to debug.

Your comments are very helpful.Some problems may be temporarily unsolvable, but thanks anyway.

Update Progress

1. Color Theme

Rickrack’s default color theme will switch to black.

2. RGB and RYB color space

The next version of Rickrack will provide both RGB and RYB color wheels.

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The next version will also provide inverted color wheels, which use brightness as the radial directions.

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Update Progress

3. Interface Button

The next version will put some commonly used operations in the buttons on the sidebar.

3.1 Wheel View

Convenient buttons such as “Add More Colors”, “Create Random Colors”, “Reset All Ref Colors” and “Generate Palette”, will be provided.

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3.2 Image View

Convenient buttons such as “Open Image”, “Save Image”, “Pick-up Random Colors” and “Generate Palette”, will be provided.

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Update Progress

3. Interface Button

The next version will put some commonly used operations in the buttons on the sidebar.

3.3 Board View

Convenient buttons such as “Save Image”, “Gradient - Fixed (Palette)”, “Gradient - Ref (Palette)” and “Reset Tag Locations” will be provided.

GIF 2023-7-1 13-22-17

3.4 Depot View

Convenient buttons …

4. Update Progress

The next version will be released soon after testing.

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