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Applying color to artwork

From: Illustrator CS5 Essential Training

Video: Applying color to artwork

The two most common types of attributes that you apply to an object inside of Illustrator are things called Fills and Strokes. Using these Fills and Strokes, we can begin to apply color to our artwork. Now, as you can see here inside of the Swatches panel, there are plenty of swatches that come with Illustrator that are here when you start creating a new document. However, there are two things that you need to do first before you can apply a color to Illustrator. First of all, you need to make a selection. Right now, I don't have any artwork selected, so clicking a color won't do me any good.

Applying color to artwork

The two most common types of attributes that you apply to an object inside of Illustrator are things called Fills and Strokes. Using these Fills and Strokes, we can begin to apply color to our artwork. Now, as you can see here inside of the Swatches panel, there are plenty of swatches that come with Illustrator that are here when you start creating a new document. However, there are two things that you need to do first before you can apply a color to Illustrator. First of all, you need to make a selection. Right now, I don't have any artwork selected, so clicking a color won't do me any good.

Second of all, I need to tell Illustrator whether or not I want that color to be applied to the Fill or the Stroke of my object. Let's take a look at the Tools panel down over here. Right here at the bottom part of it is something which we call the Fill and Stroke Indicator. This big square here refers to the Fill, while this other square here, which looks like kind of a box with a box inside of it, is the Stroke Indicator. At anytime, I could look at this Indicator here to know what my current Fill and Stroke settings are.

In other words, right now, if I were to start drawing a new object, that new object would take on an attribute of a Fill of none and a Stroke of black. This Fill and Stroke Indicator can also be seen here inside of the Color panel. The way that it works is if I want to now apply a color to the Fill of an object, I would click on the Fill Indicator to make sure it's currently in the front. That means that right now the Fill is targeted. If I now choose a color, that color would be applied to the Fill.

However, if I click on the Stroke Indicator, notice that right now the Stroke Indicator comes to the front, letting me know that right now it's active, or it's in focus. With the Stroke Indicator in focus, whenever I choose a color, that color gets applied to the Stroke. It's best to memorize the keyboard shortcut X on your keyboard, which when you hit it, toggles the focus between the Fill and the Stroke. Notice that each time I hit the X key on my keyboard, I'm now bringing the Fill into focus.

Tapping it again brings the Stroke into focus. Well, for now, I'm going to make sure that I hit the X key to bring the Fill into focus. Next, I'm going to click on this middle flower here to select it. Note that since the object right now is filled with none, I can't click on the inner part of the region here, because there's no Fill selected. So I need to click on the path, in this case, in order to select the object. If I wanted to fill it with a color, say a light blue, for example, I can come here to the Swatches panel and click on this swatch right here to fill it with that color.

If I wanted to change the Stroke Color to be something like red, for example, I would hit the X key on my keyboard to bring the Stroke now into focus. And now I would choose the red swatch. So now, I've been able to apply a red stroke and a blue fill to my artwork. As a little tip, I always make sure that I keep the Fill in focus, because nine times out of ten, I'm applying a different color to my Fill of an object. I don't change the color of Strokes nearly as frequently as I do Fills.

So it just saves me a few steps from doing it later. Another keyboard shortcut to memorize is the D key. So right now this middle flower is selected. If I press D on my keyboard, it will reset this object back to its default settings, which is a white Fill and a black 1-point Stroke. Now, there are two other really convenient ways to apply colors to objects inside of Illustrator. If I go ahead now and I select this flower right here, I can go directly here to the Control panel at the top of my screen.

And I see two indicators here. The one on the left refers to the Fill, the one on the right refers to the Stroke. What's really great about these two indicators is that I don't need to worry about my Fill or Stroke being in focus. Because there are separate indicators for each one, I can apply a Fill and a Stroke color independently at any time. Let me demonstrate what I mean. You can see that right now, the Fill is currently in focus. But if I wanted to change the Stroke of the color right now of this object to be red, I can click on the Stroke Indicator right here and choose red.

Even though my Fill is still in focus, I was able to successfully change the black here to red. I was able to do that because this indicator refers specifically only to the Stroke. If I want to change now the Fill to blue, I can click on the Fill Indicator right here, click on the blue button, and now I've been able to apply that change. One thing to note about these two indicators right here is that if I just click right now, it brings up the Swatches panel. Notice over here it appears the same as it does over here.

But if I also click and I hold down the Shift key while doing so, it brings up the Color panel, which is similar to what I see right here. In other words, if you really want to save space, you don't necessarily need to have these panels open all the time. They're always immediately available directly here from the Control panel. Another place to get these two indicators is through the Appearance panel. So I have the Appearance panel here. I'm just going to click and drag it out on the top of the screen, so it's easier to see. Where it says Stroke and Fill, notice there is a little square that indicates what the colors are for those attributes.

But I can also click on them to turn them into a widget, which I can click on to bring up either the Swatches panel, or Shift+Click on it to bring up the Color panel. So, now we know how to apply color to objects inside of Illustrator. We apply colors not really to the objects, but to the Fills and Strokes of those objects. Now, until now, we've been applying colors to objects, and those colors already existed inside of Illustrator. What about if you want to create your own colors? Well, we're going to cover that in the next movie.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS5 Essential Training
Illustrator CS5 Essential Training

126 video lessons · 81866 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
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  1. 3m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 18s
    2. What is Illustrator CS5?
      1m 46s
    3. Using the exercise files
      31s
  2. 12m 37s
    1. What are vector graphics?
      6m 3s
    2. Path and appearance
      3m 42s
    3. Stacking
      2m 52s
  3. 32m 6s
    1. The Welcome screen
      2m 23s
    2. Creating files for print
      6m 7s
    3. Creating files for the screen
      2m 55s
    4. Using prebuilt templates
      2m 40s
    5. Adding XMP metadata
      4m 18s
    6. Exploring the panels
      6m 33s
    7. Using the Control panel
      3m 11s
    8. Using workspaces
      3m 59s
  4. 43m 44s
    1. Navigating within a document
      9m 15s
    2. Using rulers and guides
      7m 26s
    3. Using grids
      3m 6s
    4. Using the bounding box
      3m 37s
    5. Using Smart Guides
      5m 56s
    6. The Hide Edges command
      3m 22s
    7. Various preview modes
      3m 47s
    8. Creating custom views
      4m 3s
    9. Locking and hiding artwork
      3m 12s
  5. 28m 46s
    1. Using the basic selection tools
      8m 50s
    2. Using the Magic Wand tool
      5m 22s
    3. Using the Lasso tool
      2m 28s
    4. Selecting objects by attribute or type
      3m 37s
    5. Saving and reusing selections
      2m 15s
    6. Selecting artwork beneath other objects
      2m 13s
    7. Exploring selection preferences
      4m 1s
  6. 1h 16m
    1. The importance of modifier keys
      1m 52s
    2. Drawing closed path primitives
      11m 38s
    3. Drawing open path primitives
      5m 47s
    4. Understanding anchor points
      3m 43s
    5. Drawing straight paths with the Pen tool
      7m 37s
    6. Drawing curved paths with the Pen tool
      9m 47s
    7. Drawing freeform paths with the Pencil tool
      5m 33s
    8. Smoothing and erasing paths
      3m 8s
    9. Editing anchor points
      7m 21s
    10. Joining and averaging paths
      10m 9s
    11. Simplifying paths
      4m 55s
    12. Using Offset Path
      2m 17s
    13. Cleaning up errant paths
      2m 32s
  7. 48m 26s
    1. The Draw Inside and Draw Behind modes
      7m 34s
    2. Creating compound paths
      5m 56s
    3. Creating compound shapes
      8m 0s
    4. Using the Shape Builder tool
      10m 28s
    5. Using Pathfinder functions
      8m 6s
    6. Splitting an object into a grid
      1m 16s
    7. Using the Blob Brush and Eraser tools
      7m 6s
  8. 49m 5s
    1. Creating point text
      4m 2s
    2. Creating area text
      8m 13s
    3. Applying basic character settings
      7m 44s
    4. Applying basic paragraph settings
      4m 28s
    5. Creating text threads
      8m 25s
    6. Setting text along an open path
      6m 29s
    7. Setting text along a closed path
      6m 24s
    8. Converting text into paths
      3m 20s
  9. 18m 55s
    1. Create a logo mark
      11m 26s
    2. Add type to your logo
      7m 29s
  10. 42m 42s
    1. Using the Appearance panel
      8m 21s
    2. Targeting object attributes
      4m 42s
    3. Adding multiple attributes
      4m 25s
    4. Applying Live Effects
      5m 18s
    5. Expanding appearances
      4m 42s
    6. Appearance panel settings
      4m 33s
    7. Copying appearances
      4m 51s
    8. Saving appearances as graphic styles
      5m 50s
  11. 34m 0s
    1. Applying color to artwork
      5m 57s
    2. Creating process and global process swatches
      8m 54s
    3. Creating spot color swatches
      3m 19s
    4. Loading PANTONE and other custom color libraries
      4m 49s
    5. Organizing colors with Swatch Groups
      3m 31s
    6. Finding color suggestions with the Color Guide panel
      4m 24s
    7. Loading the Color Guide with user-defined colors
      3m 6s
  12. 50m 23s
    1. Creating gradients with the Gradient panel
      8m 12s
    2. Modifying gradients with the Gradient Annotator
      4m 37s
    3. Applying and manipulating pattern fills
      5m 33s
    4. Defining your own custom pattern fills
      9m 13s
    5. Applying basic stroke settings
      5m 22s
    6. Creating strokes with dashed lines
      3m 41s
    7. Adding arrowheads to strokes
      2m 45s
    8. Creating variable-width strokes
      4m 35s
    9. Working with width profiles
      2m 36s
    10. Turning strokes into filled paths
      3m 49s
  13. 32m 46s
    1. Creating and editing groups
      8m 18s
    2. Adding attributes to groups
      12m 17s
    3. The importance of using layers
      5m 9s
    4. Using and "reading" the Layers panel
      7m 2s
  14. 12m 13s
    1. Creating and using multiple artboards
      7m 52s
    2. Modifying artboards with the Artboards panel
      2m 2s
    3. Copy and paste options with Artboards
      2m 19s
  15. 31m 10s
    1. Moving and copying artwork
      3m 55s
    2. Scaling or resizing artwork
      6m 47s
    3. Rotating artwork
      2m 44s
    4. Reflecting and skewing artwork
      2m 34s
    5. Using the Free Transform tool
      2m 15s
    6. Repeating transformations
      3m 39s
    7. Performing individual transforms across multiple objects
      2m 10s
    8. Aligning objects and groups precisely
      4m 27s
    9. Distributing objects and spaces between objects
      2m 39s
  16. 35m 40s
    1. Placing pixel-based content into Illustrator
      5m 14s
    2. Managing images with the Links panel
      4m 49s
    3. Converting pixels to paths with Live Trace
      8m 44s
    4. Making Live Trace adjustments
      6m 9s
    5. Controlling colors in Live Trace
      6m 4s
    6. Using Photoshop and Live Trace together
      4m 40s
  17. 14m 42s
    1. Managing repeating artwork with symbols
      4m 38s
    2. Modifying and replacing symbol instances
      3m 8s
    3. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      6m 56s
  18. 16m 57s
    1. Cropping photographs
      1m 59s
    2. Clipping artwork with masks
      3m 22s
    3. Clipping the contents of a layer
      3m 31s
    4. Defining masks with soft edges
      8m 5s
  19. 26m 2s
    1. Defining a perspective grid
      7m 48s
    2. Drawing artwork in perspective
      8m 46s
    3. Moving flat art onto the perspective grid
      9m 28s
  20. 25m 8s
    1. Printing your Illustrator document
      3m 26s
    2. Saving your Illustrator document
      6m 39s
    3. Creating PDF files for clients and printers
      7m 30s
    4. Exporting Illustrator files for use in Microsoft Office
      1m 4s
    5. Exporting Illustrator files for use in Photoshop
      2m 31s
    6. Exporting artwork for use on the web
      3m 3s
    7. Exporting high-resolution raster files
      55s
  21. 2m 18s
    1. Additional Illustrator learning resources
      1m 36s
    2. Goodbye
      42s

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