Pixel perfect apps using xScope

April 27, 2008


Creating applications that mimic another type of app’s look can be time intensive – figuring out all the right colors and measurements of widgets is tedious. I’ve found Iconfactory‘s xScope to be extremely helpful for this task.

The xScope loupe has proved the most useful tool in the suite for me. This tool lets you mouse over anything on screen and see a magnified version, to include the hex, RGB, and HSB color values of the pixel directly under the cursor.

To get a color like this in my old workflow was much more painful. I had to do the following:

  1. Open Grab
  2. Take a screen shot of the window
  3. Copy the image
  4. Open Fireworks
  5. Create a new image from the clipboard
  6. Sample the color

Now, I need only open xScope! This tool is well worth the $26.95.


9 Responses to “Pixel perfect apps using xScope”

  1. Jesse Wilson Says:

    The Color picker in OS X lets you grab colors directly, but of course this doesn’t include magnification…

  2. Ken Says:

    I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know that!

    There is one minor wrinkle, though, with using the OS X color picker to grab a color. Many times the color in question is focus dependent, and focusing the app in question causes the color picker to no longer be active. xScope is focus independent, so no matter where your mouse is or what has focus, it’ll show you the color.

  3. Moritz Uhlig Says:

    If you have the Apple Developer Tools installed you can also use Pixie.app that magnifies the area below the mouse. You can even lock the area using ctrl+alt+cmd+L (“Universal lock”, i.e. even if Pixie is not active) and then click pixel by pixel to get the RGB and HSB values or just drag the color into an application that supports it (sadly mostly non-Java apps).
    xScope has a somewhat nicer UI though – dependending on which colors dominate in the selected area in Pixie the values are hardly readable.

  4. Ken Says:

    Thanks for the tip Moritz…I’ll give that a try. The “universal lock” would be very helpful, as xScope must have focus to lock the magnified area – not particularly useful if I’m interested in a focus-based color.

  5. Uwe Says:

    I used the “DigitalColor Meter”, included with Mac OS X in /Applications/Utilities

  6. Ken Says:

    Nice…I didn’t even realize that little gem-of-an-app was in there!

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  8. theocas.net Says:

    There’s an app that comes with the Developer Tools that does the same thing, called Pixie. The icon is ugly, but it gets the job done.

  9. Ken Says:

    Yup, but xScope has some additional tools like horizontal and vertical rulers that I find really useful. I use xScope daily.

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