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This installment of Illustrator Insider Training shows an expert's approach to color choice and control in Illustrator. Mordy Golding guides experienced designers and artists through what he sees are the three stages of applying color to artwork: creation, inspiration, and editing. The course also shows how to build art in a way that allows artists to make changes quickly and how to take advantage of the newer features that have been added to Illustrator over the recent versions.
You may notice that every time you create a new file inside of Illustrator, there are already many colors inside of your SWATCHES panel. Ever wonder where those colors come from? How often you actually even use those colors? More often than not, you probably have your own colors that you want to work with. Let's talk about a way where we can customize Illustrator to always work with the colors that we want to use. Let's start from the beginning here. I'm going to create a new document by pressing Command+N or Ctrl+N, and you notice that there is a pop-up here that says New Document Profile.
Right now, it's set to Print, but I have things like Web, Mobile and Devices, Video and Film, so on and so forth. I'm going to start up with Print for now. I'm going to choose OK, and you'll immediately see that my SWATCHES panel has become populated with a whole bunch of swatches. These are swatches that are actually inside of a New Document Profile, which is called Print. You see Adobe actually creates these new document profiles, so that when you create new documents, it already has certain settings inside of it. For example, I'm going to create a new document again, but this time, I'm going to choose the Web at New Document Profile.
And notice now when I click OK, I see a different set of swatches. Now it could be that you have no need at all for any of these swatches and they simply adds extra overheads to your file, possibly causing confusion or mistakes down the line, or they just get in the way of you being able to focus on your SWATCHES panel seeing the colors that you want to work with. On top of that, there may be certain colors that you always use. For example, if your company always has a certain PANTONE color that you want to work with, instead of having to open up that PANTONE color panel each time, even if it's persistent, you don't want to have to keep adding that color to your document, it would be great if that color was always there.
The nice thing about working with Illustrator now is that you have the ability to create these new document profiles. New Document Profiles can be thought of as Master documents, they are like the parents of all Illustrator files that you create. So, for example, when I hit Command+N to create a new file, and I go to this New Document Profile pop-up, instead of choosing between Print and Web or any of these other settings that Adobe provides for me, I can actually create my own. In fact, I can create as many of my own as I want.
Let's see how to do that. I'm going to press Cancel here, I'm actually going to close both of these documents, just by pressing Command+W or Ctrl+W, and let's start from scratch here. I'm going to create a new document and since I know that the work I'm going to be doing is probably going to be print based for now, I'm going to start off by choosing one that's closest to what I'm going to be creating, so I'm going to choose Print. If you were thinking about Web design and you want to create a new document profile for Web projects, you would choose a new document profile based on web. But for now, I'm going to choose Print.
I can also customize any of these things that I want. For example, if I know that I always like to use inches, I'll change my Units here to be Inches, and I'm going to click OK. Next, I really don't need to work with any of these swatch colors that are right here, they're useless to me. I have my own colors that I want to work with. So I'm going to use the action that we learned about earlier. I'm going to go to my Window menu and choose Actions, and I'm going to choose Delete Unused panel Items and I'm going to run that action. We'll run it once or twice just to get rid of as much of it as I can, and I'm going to close the Actions panel and just manually just delete whatever colors are still left here.
I'm going to leave black and white, it's always good to have those, even though they're always readily accessible in your Color panel using these little two buttons right here. But now I want to add the colors that I want to work with. So I'm going to my HANSEL_CORPORATE library here, I'm going to add these color groups. Next, I'm going to go to my PANTONE library here and maybe I want to choose PANTONE 185, I'll choose to add that one right here, all you have to do is just click on it once, and then it gets added to your Swatches panel. And maybe I want to use PANTONE 285 as well. So I'll add that color. Great! So now I have two Pantone colors, and I have my Hansel & Petal corporate color library.
I've now added them to this document, which is a regular plain Illustrator document. However, I'm going to save this document in a special location that's going to identify this as a new document profile that I can use to generate newer Illustrator documents. I'll start by going to the File menu, and I'm going to choose to Save my document. I'm going to go to my user folder, then I'm going to go to Library > Application Support > Adobe > Adobe Illustrator CS5 > en_US, and if I scroll down here, if you remember here is where we actually stored our swatch library files, I also have a folder here called New Document Profiles.
I'm going to go into that folder and you can see that in this folder there are already some Illustrator files like Print and Flash Catalyst, and Mobile and Devices. Do those names sound familiar? That's what you currently see now when you choose the New Document Profile list, when you create a new document. If you're on Windows, the location where you need to save these files is under Documents and Settings, your Username > Application Data > Adobe > Adobe Illustrator CS5 Settings, and then again, en_US.
I'm going to call this one Hansel & Petal. I'm saving it as a regular Illustrator file; only I'm saving it right now in this particular location. I'm going to click Save, and then I'll choose OK to take Illustrator's default save settings. And now, when I create a brand-new document inside of Illustrator, I'm just going to press Command+N to create a new document, where it says New Document Profile, I'm going to click on this pop-up and I'll see that in addition to my Print, Web, Mobile Devices, so on and so forth; I now have an entry called Hansel & Petal.
When I choose that and click OK, you'll notice that the swatches in this document are just the ones that I've specified. In other words, I was able to now create my own new document profile or my own new parent or master file in which I can now create new documents from. Notice it's called now Untitled-10, because it's always going to be an untitled document, but it's simply copying all the information out of that Hansel & Petal file that I created and saved into the New Document Profiles folder. If you want to start off a document that already has all the swatches and colors that you need for a certain project, go ahead and create a new document profile, specifically for those projects.
And again, if you have many different clients, or you are working with different seasons or different types of projects at a single company, you can create as many of these new document profiles as you need.
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