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The Mixer Palette
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The Mixer Palette
Created by: Prof

This series of tutorials is oriented toward helping those new users of PSP 9 to learn the basics of this great graphic program. The tutorials are written to introduce the basic features, tools and palettes and build upon one another. Also, the tutorials may be used as a reference for using particular tools, palettes and features of PSP.

The Mixer Palette

In the first four lessons we explored how to configure toolbars and palettes to set up a customized workspace, how to use the Layers palette and the Materials palette. In this tutorial we will briefly explore using a new feature in PSP 9, the Mixer palette.

Purpose and Goal of this Tutorial:

  • The Mixer palette and its features
  • Using the Mixer palette (raster vs. art-media graphics)
  • An example for raster graphics
  • An example for art-media graphics


When creating Raster graphics, most often one will just use the Materials palette to select colors, gradients, or patterns with or without textures. However, an advantage of using the Mixer palette is that one can choose a number of colors and use the Mixer palette to select colors for the graphic being created.

The Mixer palette is quite easy to use. It works just like a true color palette in real life. One just selects swatches of colors, mixes them if wanted to create other colors and then use the Mixer Dropper to select a color wanted. That color will be placed in the Materials palette Foreground Color box.

The Mixer palette can also be saved so one can recall (load) that particular set of colors again and again. The only difference in how the Mixer palette works between a raster graphic and an art-media graphic is that in the raster graphic only single colors can be selected. In an art-media graphic one is actually able to select variations of colors as mixed which work well with the Oil Brush (see my tutorials on the PSP 9 Art Media feature).


The Mixer Palette

The Mixer palette is new and is the palette used to mix colors (paints). The following options are used to mix colors on this palette:

Mixer Tube The Mixer Tube which allows selecting colors (oils) from the Materials palette and place them on the Mixer palette.
Mixer Knife The Mixer Knife which is used to mix the colors together.
Mixer Dropper The Mixer Dropper which selects the mixed colors to use and which will place those colors into the Materials palette Foreground Material box.
Size: One can also select the size of the Mixer Tube for putting swatches of color on the Mixer palette (values are 1 to 50 pixels).
Mixer Palette: New Page Will create a new clean page for mixing colors. When there are colors on the palette, you will first have the option of saving them to use them again.
Load Mixer Page Used to load a saved color set.
Mixer Palette: Navigate One can navigate or set the colors on the mixer palette to different locations on the visible canvas. This tool is useful to add additional colors above, below or to one side of the mixed colors being used.
Mixer Menu One uses the Mixer Menu to select the saved palettes or to save palettes. So, use unique names to identify a color set.
Mixer Tube

Using the Mixer Palette

Using the Mixer Tube

For this example, we will only use the colors Red, Green and Blue but will mix them as well.

  • In the Materials palette, select the Color tab and the color Red (Red = 255, Green = 0, Blue = 0; #FF0000) for your Foreground color.
  • In the Mixer palette, select the Mixer Tube.
  • In Size, set to maximum or value 50.
  • Left-click with your mouse into the Mixer palette to set the color swab (upper left area).
  • In the Materials palette, select Green (Red = 0, Green = 255, Blue = 0; #00FF00), and in the Mixer palette, set the color swab below the red one.
  • Repeat the process to select Blue (Red = 0, Green = 0, Blue = 255; #0000FF) and set it to the right in the Mixer palette.
Mixer Knife

Using the Mixer Knife

Using the Mixer Knife takes a little practice. One will want to experiment with the Size as larger sizes will mix more colors more quickly. Smaller sizes may allow for a more accurate mixing of colors. However with practice one will develop one's own technique.

  • Once the color swatches are on the page (and it is better if they touch on their sides), click on the Mixer Knife.
  • Draw the Knife back and forth and/or in small and light circular motions to mix the colors.
  • As in this example, one may want to add a swatch of white on top of mixed colors to get them lighter.
  • One way to test the mixed colors is to use the Mixer Dropper tool and click on a color to place it in the Foreground Materials box in the Materials palette.
  • Another way to mix the colors is to keep the Mixer Tube active, drop a new color on another color and then use the Tube as a "Mixer Knife".
Mixer Dropper

Using the Mixer Dropper

The Mixer Dropper is used like the Dropper tool of the Tools toolbar. Place the Dropper over the color wanted, click and the color will be transferred to the Foreground Materials box in the Materials palette.

  Solid Color for a Raster Layer

  Varied Color for an Art-Media Layer

There's a difference, however, in how the color will be transferred for raster and art-media graphics:

  • On a Raster Layer:
    When using the Dropper on a raster layer the color picked up by the Dropper is a solid color (upper example on the left). One must use a raster tool like the Paint Brush, Airbrush, Flood Fill tool etc.
  • On an Art-Media Layer:
    When using the Dropper on an art-media layer the colors picked up by the Dropper are varied (lower example on the left). One must use an art media tool like the Oil Brush. Also the size of the Dropper is governed by the size set for the Oil Brush.

Mixer Menu

Load Mixer Page

Mixer Palette: New Page

Saving and Loading Palettes

To save a palette, click on the Mixer Menu button and select "Save" from the context menu. Then give it a descriptive name so you can remember what colors you have used. In this example I saved the palette as 'RGB' for Red, Green, Blue.

To load a saved palette click on the Load button. Then just select the saved palette you wish to load.

To load a clean page click on the New Page button. If you have swatches of colors in the palette, you will first be asked if you want to save the palette. If you do, click on Yes, else click on No or Cancel.


The Mixer palette can be a very convenient palette to use when using a variety of different colors. Since the Materials palette only has two colors, the Mixer palette will come in handy when painting and needing to switch between various colors.

One can also move the Mixer palette as we have done in earlier lessons on setting up the workspace and moving palettes and toolbars.

– Enjoy –