Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
In this movie, I will show you how to take a collection of colors that you've applied from a bunch of different harmony rules and save them off as a color group inside of the Swatches panel. And a color group is just what it sounds like; it's a group of colors. These folders here full of colors inside the Swatches panel, those are groups. And then you can take a color group and employ it as a custom harmony rule, which provides you all kinds of flexibility. So I am going to start things off by selecting these black shapes right here in the first artboard. And I want to change the color, because after all right now the color is just 100% black, which isn't really going to do us any good.
So I will switch over to the Color panel, and I am going to dial in a Cyan value of 50%, a Magenta value of 50% as well, I'll skip Yellow, and take the Black value down to 50%. So, it's 50, 50, 0, 50 in my case. And now if I press Ctrl+Shift+A or Command+Shift+ A on the Mac, you can see we get this effect here. All right! Now, I want to select all of the colored objects on the backdrop layer, and I will do so by Alt+Clicking or Option+Clicking the backdrop layer here inside the Layers panel. And that selects a ton of objects that are filled with a total of eight colors.
Now, I'll switch over to the Swatches panel, and all you need to do to create a new color group is click on this little folder icon at the bottom of the panel. That will bring up the New Color Group dialog box. I am going to call this guy Floral Scheme. I do want to create my swatches from the selected artwork. You also have the option of converting these colors to global swatches, which means that the swatches and the objects that are either filled or stroked with those swatches are linked together. But, I am just going to accept the default settings for now by clicking OK, and we now have a new group filled with eight different colors as you can see here.
The first color in the group will serve as the base color, incidentally, when we employ this group as a harmony rule, as you will see shortly. Another way to create color groups is to load them from the color libraries that ship along with Illustrator. So, if you're working along with me, go ahead and click the Library icon down here in the bottom-left corner of the Swatches panel, and you can see that you have just a ton of these things to choose from. I am going to select Nature, and then Flowers, and that will bring up this independent panel right here.
And notice that all of the swatches are organized into groups. That's the way it works for most of these custom libraries. And so, you can see down here toward the bottom I've got Poppy, I've got Iris, I have Bird of Paradise. Let's say I'm interested in that one, the second group from the bottom. A couple of different ways you can import a group into your illustration. Well, before I show you, I should make sure to deselect my artwork; otherwise I am going to muck things up. So I will press Ctrl+Shift+A or Command+Shift+A on the Mac. One way to import a group is to drag it and drop it into the Swatches panel.
But if that seems like too much work, which it is, then you can just click on the group here inside the free-floating flowers panel. And that will add Bird of Paradise as a group to the active illustration. Now you can go ahead and close the Flowers panel. Now, at this point, I am going to click on Floral scheme in order to make it active. Then I will switch back to the Color Guide panel, and look at that: the active group is automatically assigned as a harmony rule. So I've got the base color, which is currently red, along with seven others.
If I want to switch the base color back to the blue of the T-shirt, then I click on the T-shirt to make it active. My Fill is active, so I'm seeing that shade of blue as the base color. Go ahead and click on it, and all the other colors are going to update in kind, based on the de facto harmony rule that you've established with your color group. Now, I'll press Ctrl+Shift+A or Command+Shift+ A on the Mac in order to deselect the shirt, and let's employ the rule. I'm going to start by clicking on the background rectangle in the first artboard, and I'll change it to a vivid shade of this purple here; and then I will click on a yellow leaf for example.
And I am going to switch my Color Guide settings from Muted/Vivid to Warm/Cool, so that I have some very warm shades to work with over here. I'm going to select this color swatch; you can of course go your own way, apply any swatch as you like. Then I will click on this red leaf down here in order to select the red objects. And I'll fill them with this shade of orange right there, which is pretty similar to the other one. If I click off, you can see that my shapes don't look all that different from each other; but perhaps that's exactly what I am looking for. Or I could switch to these objects--click on them, the dark ones--and I will go ahead and switch my settings to Show Tints/Shades this time around, and I will select one of the very dark colors over here in the left- hand column in order to apply it.
And you know, I am thinking better of those previously red leaves. Go ahead and click on this leaf again in order to select all those objects and switch over to Vivid/Muted. Obviously, I am winging it here. I will try this most vibrant shade of red and see how it looks. And I think I like that better. And by the way, you can do this with any color group. So if I switch over to the Swatches panel again and select Bird of Paradise. Who knows how that reconciles as a harmony rule until, of course, you go ahead and select the folder; switch back to Color Guide, and it is now assigned as a harmony rule.
Click on, in this case the T-shirt over here in the right-hand artboard in order to select it; click that blue base color, to make it the base color for the harmony rule; and then let's go about assigning some of these colors. I will select the background rectangle once again, and I'll change it to this shade of brown. Then I will click on this shape. I will fill it with this brightly colored green, and I will click on the red leaf, and I'll change it to this intense shade of purple right there in order to complete the effect. I might as well change those dark shapes as well. I will fill them with this very saturated blue over on the far left hand side. All right! Now, I will go ahead and scoot over my artwork, and press Shift+Tab in order to hide my right side panels so that we can see both of the artboards at the same time.
And that's how you save a collection of colors as a color group inside the Swatches panel, and then turn around and employ that color group as a custom harmony rule inside the Color Guide panel.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
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.