Problems with Palettes

I am working on a series which has several episodes and each episode has several scenes. I make all my characters, props and backgrounds in Xara Designer Pro (vector) and import them (as PDFs) into the library. From there, I put together the scenes, rig the characters and so on, and then place them in the library. If I add another PDF, a new palette is created.

Now the problem I am having is that for each new scene as I import things from the library, more palettes appear in the palette list. Some are duplicates and some are not. Some I can delete without affecting the colors of my scene. If I make a change to a palette in one scene, it is not maintained in subsequent scenes as the palettes are all unique and linked only to the scene they are in. If I delete an imported character or piece, the palette remains in the list so I end up with all kinds of palettes, some relevant, some not, some duplicates, etc. It is hard to know what is what.

What I’d like to do is to create a master palette for all the characters and a master palette for the scenes and props that is not stored with the scene but in a central place that can be accessed by all episodes and scenes. In this way, if I change a color or make an addition, it will apply to across the board to all the scenes. I believe that this is possible, but at this stage in my production with 18 scenes completed, could I somehow accomplish this? If so, how?

Another thing that is difficult is trying to identify and name the colors to correspond with each part. I have to use a color picker tool and read the RGB values on the part and hunt around to match it on the palette. Too bad I can’t just select the part and somehow right click to reveal where the color is in my palettes. This would be a nice feature to have.

Thanks for the reply, Lily! I’ll comment here in point form as it helps to keep things organized.

1. Master palettes: You had said that this is a Harmony feature. However, in the video tutorials Chapter 26/Palettes Part 2/ at 3:10 - 8:40 it states that you can do this with Animate Pro. So, following your suggestion, I would create a new master character scene and would drag all my characters into it. I would consolidate the palettes into one and then copy and paste this master palette in a new location. Then import the master palette and link it to my characters.

I’d remove all my previous characters from the library and then drag them back to the library with this new palette link. That should do it!

2. Remove unused files: Does this only affect palettes? What about unused drawings? For example, if you have 5 different hand positions for a character but only 3 appear in the scene, will it delete the other 2? Just want to make sure I don’t accidentally delete something I want to keep :slight_smile:

3. Dropper Tool: I never knew it existed! This is wonderful! BTW, the shortcut is Alt+D.

This is fun!

1. I tried the idea from my last post and it works! Now if I open a new scene and drag in a character, it comes along with its palette for the scene. I can then import the external identical palette and delete the first one and all is well.

3. That’s cool! You learn something new every day!

The ability to have one master palette that automatically updates in all scenes in a Harmony feature, and requires you to be working with a database - which it is possible to set up a database locally on one machine only.

If you’re working in Animate Pro, then what I’d recommend is to import first your character PDFs into the library. Then create one master character scene file where you import those PDFs into a scene. Then create a template out of this scene. Whenever you create a new scene, then you can use this template so they will all have the same palette.

When you update the palette in the template, it doesn’t update in all the scenes, but you could create a clone of that palette then when you drag and drop the template into the scene it will then bring the cloned palette in. If you want to you can just delete the original palette in the scene - that’s probably the easiest.

If you find yourself collecting a lot of empty palettes that you’re not using, then you can always make use of the File > Remove Unused Files which will remove palettes from your scene and if you want to can delete them from the file system as well.

Hope this helps.

When you use the colour dropper tool (D shortcut for dropper, works when the focus is in the Drawing or Camera views) it should automatically select the corresponding colour pot in your colour palette. Does it not already do this?


  1. Let me double-check with the documentation thing on this one to find out what exactly they meant.

    2. Yes indeed, only affects palettes.

    3. Alt+D is the permanent shortcut to switch to that tool. However if you simply hold down D on its own, while you hold it down it temporarily switches to the dropper tool. This is called an “Overrideable” shorcut. Pretty much all the drawing tools have this type of shortcut. For example, to switch to the Brush tool is Alt+B, but if you hold down B it temporarily selects the brush tool while it’s held down. It’s particularly interesting with your Paint Unpainted Tool (Y).


So I double-checked again on linking palettes, and you’re right, it is possible to link palettes in Animate Pro. If you click on the little menu icon in the Palette View, you can select “Link to External” then browse to a palette on your system. Then if you were to change the original palette, the scene will update as well.

Sorry for the confusion and it’s clear that there’s always more than one way to accomplish something!