Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
Working with patterns has always been a challenge inside of Illustrator, both in creating patterns and also modifying them. Now in truth, creating repeating patterns is an art form within itself and it's probably something that justifies an entire title on its own, and maybe in the future insider trading title, we'll actually focus on that topic. However, here, since we're talking about color, let's discuss the ways that we can actually modify colors that appear within patterns.
There are actually two ways to accomplish this. One way is to the use of Global Colors, the other way is using the Recolor Artwork feature; let's take a look at both of these. I have a document here called patterns.ai. I'm actually going to move these over to the side and maybe zoom it just a little bit here. Let's focus on this pattern right here, it's a single rectangle that's full with a pattern and that pattern here is called Flower Round, I have on the bottom here these patterns which is called the Flower Square. But let's focus here on just this top one here.
Right now, I don't have any swatches inside of my document, maybe somebody else created this pattern and I got it from another file, and I'm bringing it down to this document that I want to make some changes to it. Well, a lot of people find they need to take this swatch itself out from the Swatches panel and drag it onto your artboard, which now creates the physical artwork. Then I would make some changes to the color and then drag them back into the Swatches panel, either replacing the original swatch or maybe creating another one. But we'll see it is so much easier to do inside of Illustrator when we take advantage of the features that we've learned so far.
For example, I can select just this rectangle right now; it's a regular rectangle that's filled with a pattern. But if I come down to the Swatches panel and I choose to create a new Swatch group, and let's say I call this one Round, I can choose to create the swatches from my Selected Artwork, and because there are colors now inside of my pattern, Illustrator will automatically create swatches for each of those colors. I can also choose at the same time to convert all my Process to Global. Now if I click OK, I now see all the colors that are used inside of that pattern.
So now I'm going to deselect my artwork, and now I'll say I want to focus on making some changes to this pattern. I'm actually going to zoom a little bit closer here to his artwork so we can see it better on the screen. And I don't have any artwork selected right now, nothing selected, but I can come to the swatches here. For example, I'm going to double-click on this swatch right here and I'm going to click on the Preview button. Now as I modify the sliders, you can actually see that the color is changing within the pattern. If I'm happy with this, I'm now going to click OK, and notice that two things have happened.
First of all I've changed the color of this swatch that appears inside of that Swatch group, but Illustrator now also created a new pattern swatch called Flower Round 1. I still have the original Flower Round pattern, and I haven't lost that, because Illustrator doesn't want to have me lose my original pattern, in case if I want to go back to it. So by modifying the Global Color, it updates inside the pattern, but inside the copy of that pattern. This way I can select the rectangle and go back to my original pattern or click on the one that I just modified.
Let's take a look at another way that we can modify colors inside of patterns, so I'm actually going to scroll down here to the bottom and I'm going to select this rectangle right here. This is filled with yet a different pattern. This pattern over here is called Flower Square, and I do not have any swatches for it, which is fine, because I'm now going to use the recolor artwork method in order to modify colors. So with this rectangle selected, again, it's filled with just the pattern, I'm going to click on the color chip wheel over here to open up the Recolor Artwork dialog box. I see all the colors that are currently used inside the pattern, and here if I want to modify one of the colors, I can either double-click here on this button to create a new color for that, click OK, and I can see now that change was made, or I can use this button over here to actually randomly change the order of the colors inside the pattern, that one was pretty interesting.
And notice id I click OK at this point, I've now changed the pattern itself. Notice however that in this example, Illustrator did not create a new pattern swatch for me, and that's because I'm not working with Global Colors. Global Colors will of course force Illustrator to make that change across the entire document, but because here I do not create Global Colors first, I was able to modify my pattern here right inside of my document. So if you do a lot of work with patterns inside of Illustrator these techniques should help you modify colors within them, both quickly and efficiently.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
119 Video lessons · 50739 Viewers
117 Video lessons · 38410 Viewers
113 Video lessons · 81475 Viewers
65 Video lessons · 11357 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.