Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started
Viewers: in countries Watching now:
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.
So we know that in Illustrator, I can use the COLOR panel, which I can find right over here to mix any kind of color that I want to create and then use those colors to actually apply the color to artwork inside of my document. But we also know that if these colors are not saved as swatches, meaning, they're just these phantom colors that live inside my document, there's no easy way for me to apply that color to a new artwork that I might want to create. Now of course, if I want a color that I want to continually access as I'm working, I probably want to save that color as a swatch.
And the most simple kind of swatch that you can create inside of Illustrator is something called a process color swatch. Now remember, inside of Illustrator the term process doesn't mean CMYK printing, which a lot of people refer to as process colors. Process simply means that the color itself that's used inside of that swatch is made up of a mixture of some kind of primary colors, be it RGB or CMYK, for example. So let's see how we can create these process swatches inside of Illustrator so that we can easily apply that color throughout our workings in a design.
Now normally when you create a new document inside of Illustrator, that document already has some swatches inside of it, but in this case over here in this file that I'm working on, I actually have cleared out all of my swatches. So I don't have anything in here, other than the None attribute and then something called Registration, and this is something that is specific only to printing. Registration means that that object contains 100% of all the different plates inside of your file, and that includes C, M, Y, K, plus any potential spot colors that you might have in your new document. As an example, if you're creating trim marks or crop marks, those usually get assigned a registration color, so that they appear on every plate inside of your separation.
But for now, these are the only two swatches that exist in my document and by default, Illustrator has these inside of every document and they can't be deleted. But let's go ahead now and actually create a new swatch. Now first of all what we can do is we can actually experiment with the COLOR panel to find what kind of color we might want to create. For example, this document right now is CMYK and I'm working with CMYK sliders in my Color panel, so I can even just click on the color ramp here and choose any color, and let's say at least get started in one direction. Let's say I know I want some kind of a greenish kind of color here.
So now I see I have about 36% Cyan and 100% Yellow, let's kind of round this off and make it around 40% Cyan. So I have 40% Cyan, 100% Yellow, and I now want to save this as a swatch. What I can do is I can now come down to my Swatches panel. Since this right now is in focus, I can come down to my Swatches panel and simply click on the button here to create a new swatch. Notice when I do so the values that were assigned inside the Color panel now appear inside of this New Swatch dialog box, so I have 40% Cyan and 100% Yellow.
Now by default, Adobe names swatches based on their actual breakdown. So the name of the swatch is C=40, M=0, Y=100, and K=0. If I wanted to override it and I wanted to call this one lime green or something like that, for example, I can just change the name right here. But for now I'm going to leave this default name here for the swatch. And I'll simply click the OK button and that creates a swatch now inside my Swatches panel. Now there maybe times when you already know the breakdown for the color that you want to create.
In those examples, all you need to do is just simply come to tour Swatches panel, say create a new swatch, and then I can hit the Tab key on my keyboard to just simply come down right here to the CMYK sliders and type in the values that I want. For example, maybe I want some kind of an orange color, so I'll use a Cyan level of 0 and I'll use like Magenta 50, and I'll leave a 100 set to Yellow. And now I click OK and now I've created yet another swatch inside of Illustrator. So now I have two swatches, and again, these are called process swatches, again, because they're made up of different values of primary colors.
Now if I want to start coloring my artwork, what I can do is I can simply select any object and then click on a color to fill it with that color. And I can let's say click on this object here and click on this swatch, and that's how I could start coloring in the artwork inside of my document. Now you can add as many swatches as you need for colors inside any document. I'm actually going to click on a few other objects here, I'm going to hold down my Shift key to select multiple objects, and maybe I'll apply some more colors here. Let me click on these little middle areas and make that orange over here. Very nice! So now I have these colors that I've not only created swatches for, but I've now applied those colors to my document itself.
Here is the thing to note about swatches though. If I decide now that I want to change some of these colors, for example, that middle area of orange right now, it doesn't really work for me. I want that to be more of a yellow kind of color. I can double-click on my orange swatch right here and I can actually change the values of the colors in that swatch. For example, I can remove all the magenta, now it's just filled with 100% Yellow. If I click OK, you can notice right now that the artwork inside of my document does not update. And that's because the swatches that you create inside of Illustrator, what we call these process swatches, are a way for you to apply color to a document, but they're not necessarily a way that you can actually manage or adjust the colors that already you have been applied to your document itself.
So if you want to think about this in analog terms, swatches that you create inside of Illustrator are like a painter's palette. You actually have this paint that you can actually apply to your canvas, but just because you want to mix that color and maybe mix up some paints that are on your palette, it doesn't make the paint that's already been applied to your canvas change. So it's an easy way for you to apply color to your document, but not necessarily a way for you to manage color in your document. Still, creating process swatches inside of your document can be very helpful because it allows you to easily apply color to your document and it can also apply color to other areas inside of Illustrator.
For example, adding color stops to a gradient. So what you do if you actually want to be able to manage and just color in a more efficient manner? Well, that's something we'll discuss in the next movie when we cover something called Global Process Colors.
There are currently no FAQs about Illustrator Insider Training: Coloring Artwork.
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.