A color scheme is a range of related colors that can be applied a collection of features, rasters, layout graphics, or symbol components. Color schemes contain at least two colors; the transition between pairs of colors can be either a continuous gradient or a discrete boundary with no blending from one color to another. Or, color schemes can be random where a variety of colors residing between two defined colors in an HSV color space make up the scheme in a random order. Color schemes of differing types can be appended together to make complex collections of colors called multipart color schemes. Color schemes can be stored in styles for reuse or sharing.
Continuous color schemes
Continuous color schemes show a smooth gradation of two or more color stops. Each color stop is defined by a color and its transparency, and a position along the scheme defined as a percentage of the total scheme length from left to right. A stop is always located at each endpoint, at positions 0 percent and 100percent; the color and transparency of these two stops can be changed, but their positions cannot. A stop is the specific point where the blending of two adjacent colors in a gradient ends. You can move stops interactively by clicking on them, even changing their relative positions by dragging one overtop and beyond another. You can further customize color schemes by adding or removing stops or by reversing the order of all the stops. Check the Evenly distribute color stops box to arrange all stops evenly along the length of the color scheme.
The segments between color stops also dictate the appearance of a color scheme. The selected segment is the shown by a black bar to the left of the selected color stop. Color scheme segments have two properties: the algorithm used to determine the path traversed through the color space between the two stop colors (HSV or CIE Lab) and the polar direction which determines the direction traversed around the color wheel for variations in hue (shortest path or longest path.)
Discrete color schemes
Discrete color schemes consist of two or more solid blocks of colors with no gradation between them. The blocks are synonymous with the color stops in continuous color schemes, but they have only color and transparency properties. There is no concept of a color scheme segment in discrete color schemes. You can rearrange the order of the blocks by clicking and dragging. You can further customize discrete color schemes by adding and removing blocks or reversing the order of all blocks.
Random color schemes
Random color schemes do not contain color stops, segments, or blocks. They are defined solely by a minimum and a maximum HSV color. The scheme is compiled of discrete hues that are generated randomly so that their H (hue), S (saturation), and V (value) settings lie between the H, S, and V values of the minimum and maximum colors, respectively. A single transparency value is applied to the entire scheme. Random color schemes do not include any selectable components along the scheme preview. The appearance of the color scheme is dictated by the HSV values specified as minimums and maximums from two color pickers.
Random color schemes are regenerated each time they are opened or applied. You can regenerate manually to form a new arrangement of random interim colors between the minimum and maximum values. This updates the seed value. If you find an arrangement you'd like to return to, note the seed value and reenter it when you apply the scheme.
Multipart color schemes
Multipart color schemes consist of any combination of two or more continuous, discrete, or random subschemes. Subschemes are identical to their stand-alone counterparts, except that continuous color schemes within a multipart color scheme contain only two stops. A multipart color scheme cannot contain another multipart color scheme. A multipart scheme can contain a maximum of 20 subschemes. You modify the subschemes one at a time. Click the back arrow to return to the whole scheme. You can delete or reorder subschemes, or add new ones.