It was a scene in the 2000 movie Pollock with Ed Harris that significantly changed Dr. Woohoo’s direction. Pollock was painting… and the movie lets us in to see the process that was as exciting and intriguing as standing in front of a Pollock painting. It was beautiful and Woohoo wanted to recreate that moment, that ability to watch the process of a painting emerge, using modern technology. Together with Jason Arena in 2005, they began developing brushes.paints.stencils. (bps), an application that emulated natural media and at the same time had the ability to record the paint session so that it could be played back and shared with others online.

A recording of a paint session using brushes.paints.stencils.

During the development of bps, it became apparent how challenging it was to create beautiful palettes in the computer. Existing applications like Photoshop and Illustrator contained a Swatches panel… but the swatches were not self-aware. One color did not know whether you like it or not, or whether another color has a friend or foe. The existing palettes that were provided did not capture the nuances of particular subject matters and sampling colors from images one-by-one was a laborious task for a restless soul like Woohoo. There had to be a better way to create beautiful palettes.

It was at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, while standing in front of one of her paintings with her characteristically vibrant palettes, that Woohoo imagined lifting the millions of colors off the canvas and as they floated around him, he attempted to organize them based on their hue, saturation, or brightness. But there were too many colors and they eventually crashed to the ground around his feet and even though that was the end of daydream he quickly went home and developed software that could analyze the color palettes from images, sort them, and save them in a format that was useful.

A color visualization of a Josef Albers painting on the former site, In The Mod, by Dr. Woohoo!

The original version saved the color palettes as arrays of numbers, which was of course hard to validate whether or not the algorithm analyzing the colors was working properly. From that arose the need to visualize the colors and it eventually the collection of palettes grew to the point where they wanted to live online as a site and In The Mod was born.

Multiple iterations later, with each step streamlining the process, Woohoo eventually hacked into Adobe Illustrator and created a plug-in using a set of tools that had the potential of making developing plug-ins for Adobe products dramatically easier while leveraging a ton of new capabilities. The prototype had the ability to search and retrieve images from Flickr or Woohoo’s database of infamous paintings, analyze the image, visualize the colors and save the colors to Adobe Illustrator’s Swatches panel as can be seen in this video:

An early prototype of In The Mod, a former plug-in for Adobe Illustrator

Woohoo presented the plug-in at FOTB in Brighton, UK in the fall of 2007 and shortly afterward was asked by John Nack to help the Adobe Photoshop team with a new set of tools to make it easier for creative developers to make plug-ins. This was a critical step forward because even though Woohoo was able to hack into Illustrator, there were many, many hoops he had to jump through to make it happen. The Adobe projects, code names PatchPanel and SwitchBoard, made it dramatically easier to extend the capabilities of these creative tools.

Fast forward through years of working in multiple industries and mediums in order to provide for his daughter, now that she’s older Dr. Woohoo has returned to his lifelong love of creating tools for creating beautiful color palettes, brushstrokes and patterns. Your support is sincerely appreciated and Woohoo hopes that the tools help you redefine what is creatively possible.