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Illustrator can be used to accomplish many different design tasks. For this reason, Illustrator CS4 Essential Training teaches core concepts and techniques that can be applied to any workflow for print, the web, or assets that will find their way into other applications. Mordy Golding explains the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of Illustrator's drawing tools. He demonstrates how to combine and clean up paths, and organize them into groups and layers. Mordy also covers text editing, working with color, expressive brush drawing, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
When you are working with Swatches inside of Illustrator, you may have noticed that there are these folder icons that appear inside of the Swatches panel. In fact, let me go ahead and just create a brand new document, I'll press Command+N or Ctrl+N, and just click OK and you notice that inside the Swatches panel again I just used the Web New Document Profile for this particular document. I see that I have this little folder here and there is a whole bunch of colors. These gray colors that appear inside of this folder and there is another folder here with a whole bunch of these bright colors. These folders refer to these colors all being inside of a single colored group and this is actually important. When you start working with colors you may find it important for you to organize your colors into groups so that you can more easily work with them.
It's very easy to create your own groups and there are several ways to do that, I'm going to go back to the file I was working on before. I'm just going to go ahead and close that document. I'm using a file called swatch_groups, which you will find inside of Chapter 10 of the exercise files, and I have used already several colors in this document, but I don't have any swatches that I have created. In order to create this document I simply went ahead and selected objects and gave them colors right from the Color panel directly. But let's say I realize you know what? That was kind of a silly thing, I really want there to be some kind of swatches in my document. Well, here's one of the things that you can do. Illustrator has the ability to automatically create Swatches from all the colors that already exist in your file. This is extremely useful so that for example, let's say you are working with a file that someone else created, they haven't created the color swatches, you don't have to go punting through a document to try to find all the colors and manually create the Swatches. You can have Illustrator create these Swatches fro you automatically, and Illustrator does this through the Group command.
So what I'll do is I'll select all the artwork that exists inside of my file and I can either marquee select like I just did there or just press Command+A or Ctrl+A on Windows to select all, and again it's important to realize if I want to do this I have to make sure that there are no locked objects in my file. I'll go with this Swatches panel here and on the bottom there is a button called this little New Color Group option, and if I click on that I'll create a New Color Group, because I already had colors selected Illustrator is asking me, hey, do you want to create a color group from the selected artwork? And I can of course choose Yes.
Let me give this one a name instead of calling a Color Group 1, which is not a very interesting name, I want to call this one surfing, and what I can do is I can automatically convert all my process colors that's going to be created to global process colors, which will allow me to update my colors more easily, so I'll go ahead and I'll choose that and I'll click OK, and now you will see that instantly in Swatches panel I now have a folder, which contains all the colors used inside of my file and because I specified them to be global colors, if I want to now change one of the colors inside of my file I don't have to select it here in my document, I can simply double-click on a Swatch and move ahead with it.
Now I could also go ahead and just go to this little icon here and choose New Color Group, because I have nothing selected right now I don't get all those options and I call this one, I don't know, favorites for example. And now I just have a folder that sits on its own, there were no colors inside of it. It's very easy to move colors into a color group. It's simply like clicking on it and dragging it right into a color group. I could also click drag colors outside of a color group. You can easily create groups that way with your colors if you want to. Now another way to also work with colors and working with groups here is to use the Library feature inside of Illustrator. Now Illustrator shifts with many predefined libraries of color. So you don't have to go ahead and start creating colors on your own, you could use some of the Swatch libraries that Illustrator ships with.
To access those libraries come to the Swatches panel on the bottom left-hand corner where it says Swatch Libraries menu, click and then you will see that there are many different types of Swatch colors. For example, Art History, Celebration, Earthtones, Foods. Well, I'm a big fan of the food. Let's go ahead and choose maybe Ice Cream, and we will see that adobe actually created many different color groups here of different flavors of Ice Cream, Chocolate Chocolate Chip, yummy, and if I want to use that for my particular document I can click on that entire folder there and drag it over, and now I have moved that entire Color Group into my document. I can now access and work with these Swatches right inside of my document.
You can also toggle to different libraries by clicking on the Forward and Backward buttons here as well. For example, the Fruit Library contains many interesting groups of colors that I can use as well. However, some of the libraries that you might use most often especially if you are working with spa colors are Pantone colors. Again you can come down here to this icon where it says Swatch Libraries menu and choose Color Books and here you will actually see many different libraries. The most popular ones here are probably the Pantone solid coated library. The solid coated library contains all the main colors that appear inside of the Pantone Color Library. It can be difficult to find a specific color. So what you can do is go over here to the flyout menu and choose Show Find Field. In the particular Find Field here you could type-in a value, for example, if you wanted to find Pantone number 216, type- in 216, hit the Return key and you will find that color right here.
To add that particular to your Swatches panel simply click on it and drag it right into the panel. But don't think that Swatch libraries only exist for these existing colors; you can create your own custom Swatch libraries as well. Let me close this for a minute here. We discussed earlier on, when I create Swatches inside of a document those Swatches belong to this document, and this document only. When I create a brand new document, the new document does not have these swatches that I created. So what happens when I want to create some swatches that I do want to share amongst several documents? Well, I can create my own Swatch Library.
For example, in this document here I have some colors that I have already created, I have this Pantone 216, I have this color group called surfing and I have also added the Chocolate Chocolate Chip library as well. I can go to the flyout menu here in the Swatches panel, scroll to the bottom and choose Save Swatch Library as ASE, which stands for Adobe Swatch Exchange. This will allow me to actually share these colors with other Adobe applications including Adobe Photoshop and Adobe InDesign. However, if I'm just using the colors with other documents inside of Illustrator I can choose to save my Swatch Library as AI or as an Adobe Illustrator Swatch Library. Let me go ahead and do that. If I choose to say that, let me call it my surfing library for example.
It saves it automatically in a special folder. So that when I now go to the little pop-up menu over here I can see if I scroll down to the bottom there is now a new option here called User Defined and it's something called surfing. So now the colors that I have defined here inside of my Swatches panel for this document are now available inside of an external library called surfing. Now if I go to any other new document I see that I now have the ability to specify those colors and I could very easily drag to add those colors to this document if I want to use them here as well. In this way I can now share colors amongst many different documents, and I might want to do this, for example, if my company has some corporate colors that are used often or if I have clients that have colors that they use quite often, or maybe colors that I use for a specific campaign or project I can crate a user defined library that I can access from any other Illustrator file as well.
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