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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.
One of the first places that people look for color inside of Illustrator is the COLOR panel. So let's take a few moments to take a look at it. I am going to create a new document here inside of Illustrator. I will actually use the Print profile, which will set my Color model here to CMYK and I will click OK. And you will notice over here, by the way, that I am using right now my own customized workspace, where I have my APPEARANCE panel here, and my LAYERS panel, but just right now for the sake of consistency, I want to make sure that what you're seeing on your screen is similar to what I am going to be seeing here inside of the video. So I'm going to change my workspace to the Essentials workspace that comes with Illustrator.
I am just going to click on the white arrows here to completely expand the doc here, so I can see the panels inside of it. Let's focus here on the COLOR panel itself. There are a few things to note. First of all, I have these sliders here that allow me to mix different values to get out a color. We had spoken before about something called Process colors inside of Illustrator, and again, Process colors are created by mixing various primary colors. So here I have different sliders, which allow me to assign different percentages of CMYK, but I can also choose between the other color models. If I go to the flyout menu at the COLOR panel, I can choose Grayscale or RGB, HSB or Web Safe RGB.
Let's see what RGB looks like. I can actually see now that I have three sliders, one for red, one for green and one for blue, but I can also go ahead and choose colors just by moving my cursor over this little ramp over here, this color ramp, looks like a little rainbow. And if I click on it or even if I click and drag, I will see that Illustrator will go ahead and choose a color from that, so I can at least have a starting point where I want to kind of work with a color and try to see what I like. Notice, by the way, that on the upper left-hand corner over here I have these two icons. These are my Fill and Stroke indicators. At any time when I work inside of Illustrator, I can be choosing a color from my Fill or my Stroke attribute.
Whichever one is in focus right now or whichever one is in the front now is really what I'm dealing with as far as choosing a color. If I press the X Key on my keyboard I can toggle the focus between my Fill and my Stroke, you can see right now I brought the focus to my Stroke. The stroke now appears in front of the Fill, so any color I now choose gets applied to my Stroke attribute. I can hit X again to bring the Fill back, and I could also use the Shift+X Key on my keyboard. I am holding down Shift and X, and that allows me to swap my Fill and my Stroke colors. There is one other important keyboard shortcut to know when we working with color and that's the D Key, D for Default, but that will always set your Fill color to white and your Stroke color to black.
There is a shortcut for us for toggling between the different color models, like right now I am working with RGB, but again, if I hold down my Shift Key and I move my cursor over the color ramp and I start clicking, each time that I Shift+Click, it's going to toggle between the different color models. So I have right now Grayscale, RGB, HSB, CMYK and Web Safe RGB. Now to make things a little bit faster, if I want to be able to specify colors, for example, in CMYK, once I put my focus into one of these values, I can add values and I can tab between these, and I could Shift+Tab to go backwards also.
But I want to switch here for a moment to another color model, for example, RGB. I am just switching now to RGB. Let's Shift+Click a few times. I am now at RGB. And remember that right now I am inside of a CMYK document. I am able to choose RGB colors though, and that's because the panels inside of Illustrator have the ability to support multiple color models at once, but the artboard itself can only support one color model. So I can choose an RGB color here, but as soon as I apply to an object in my artboard, Illustrator will convert that color on the artboard to the document's color space.
So, for example, if I were to choose let's say this color right here. Let's actually drag the blue sliders to the right over here and in the minute we will see why I am going to do that. I am going to click and drag to draw a rectangle here and the rectangle now is filled with that color. But this color that I am seeing right here is actually not the RGB color, it's the closest match in the CMYK color gamut right now that is being converted automatically inside of this document, and again, that's because I can't have RGB artwork sitting in a CMYK artboard. So let's talk about this for a moment. We have something called the Color Gamut.
The color gamut as we discussed is a range of colors that are achievable within a certain Color model. RGB can achieve certain colors. RGB has what we call a larger color gamut than CMYK. For example, a bright color is like oranges and greens and blues and purples. Those can be very difficult to achieve inside of CMYK, but they can be easy to achieve inside of RGB. So let's take a look over here where the COLOR panel is also giving me information on. I can see that I have two icons here. I have this little yellow warning icon, and then I have like a three-dimensional cube that appears over here.
When I am working inside of Illustrator, anytime I see a yellow warning icon on the COLOR panel, it means that that color right now that I've chosen is outside of the CMYK color gamut. So that might explain why sometimes I might see a color that looks very rich inside the COLOR panel, but may be does not match that here on the artboard, and that's because what I'm seeing here is the closest representation of that color. In fact, if I were to now click on this value right here, Illustrator would snap that to the closest possible value inside of the CMYK color gamut. So now that warning went away.
Now I also have another warning icon that appears over here. Again, looks like a 3D cube. Whenever I see a cube icon in the COLOR panel, that means that the color that I have right now chosen is not a Web Safe Color, meaning, it doesn't fall within those range of 216 specific colors with an RGB that are determined as Web Safe Colors that are consistent across Mac and Windows platforms. Now again, nowadays most people really don't care too much about Web Safe Colors, but this is an indicator that it let's you know that the color right now is not a Web Safe Color.
And again, if I were to click on the cube right there, Illustrator would now snap that color to the nearest Web Safe Color. So again, at times you may see those gamut warnings appear inside the COLOR panel and if you choose, you can click on those to at least get to the nearest color that is within the range of what Illustrator is trying to show you. For example, if I wanted to make sure that my color was inside the CMYK gamut or within the Web Safe Color gamut. I will be honest though, and I will tell you that personally I really don't care about these gamut warnings, usually I am choosing a color from a book or something that I know what the color is supposed to be, so I don't need the gamut warnings there, because what colors are achievable.
On top of that if I'm doing Web design, I very rarely stay within the Web Safe Color palette anyway, because most people have monitors that can achieve a bigger range or a wider range of color. So I certainly don't want to limit myself to only working within that range of color. However, I'll tell you that for the most part, I don't use the COLOR panel at all. That's because I define all my colors using the SWATCHES panel. In fact, you will see that if I create a new swatch here, I actually see that I can choose between my color models and I get my sliders over here. So I would actually prefer to create swatches, than just create the colors itself.
You want to know why? We will actually cover that in the next movie.
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