Illustrator Insider Training: Coloring Artwork
Illustration by John Hersey

Editing color groups with the color wheel


Illustrator Insider Training: Coloring Artwork

with Mordy Golding

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Video: Editing color groups with the color wheel

Back in chapter 3 we spoke about how important it was for us to actually organize our colors using Swatch Groups or what we saw as those little folders inside of the Swatches panel. In this chapter, and moving forward throughout the title, we're going to start to see the fruits of our labor. It may have taken us a few extra steps to create those groups, but in doing so, we'll be able to take advantage of more functionality inside of Illustrator. Let's start with a simple concept of just simply editing colors.
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  1. 6m 38s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
    2. Adobe Illustrator: A colorful history
      3m 25s
    3. Getting the most out of this training
      1m 30s
    4. Using the exercise files
  2. 32m 35s
    1. Getting to know the color models
      9m 5s
    2. Understanding the difference between process and custom colors
      7m 7s
    3. Understanding how the HSB color wheel works
      11m 2s
    4. Working with color harmonies
      5m 21s
  3. 43m 55s
    1. Deconstructing the Color panel
      6m 36s
    2. Working with "phantom" colors
      5m 16s
    3. Defining and using process colors
      6m 15s
    4. Defining and using global process colors
      7m 51s
    5. Defining and using spot colors
      8m 37s
    6. Accessing color libraries
      9m 20s
  4. 46m 22s
    1. Organizing colors into groups
      13m 59s
    2. Creating swatches and groups from artwork
      7m 19s
    3. Removing unused swatches from documents
      3m 48s
    4. Replacing and merging color swatches
      5m 38s
    5. Creating and managing your own color libraries
      6m 10s
    6. Making custom libraries permanent
      2m 50s
    7. Adding custom colors to new documents
      6m 38s
  5. 19m 42s
    1. Accessing Kuler from within Illustrator
      2m 20s
    2. Getting inspiration from the Color Guide panel
      2m 41s
    3. Understanding how the Color Guide works
      3m 58s
    4. Setting limits on the Color Guide
      10m 43s
  6. 40m 54s
    1. Editing color groups with the color wheel
      12m 51s
    2. Breaking down the Recolor Artwork feature
      8m 16s
    3. Understanding what color rows represent
      6m 34s
    4. Protecting black, white, and gray
      6m 24s
    5. Finding colors quickly with the magnifying glass
      3m 28s
    6. Randomly changing colors
      3m 21s
  7. 53m 34s
    1. Making global color adjustments
      3m 48s
    2. Remapping colors in an illustration
      6m 13s
    3. Fixing colors in a document
      8m 57s
    4. Understanding color reduction
      13m 29s
    5. Reducing colors intelligently and precisely
      7m 42s
    6. Changing the colors within patterns
      4m 39s
    7. Using color groups to your advantage
      8m 46s
  8. 21m 24s
    1. Converting color to grayscale
      3m 25s
    2. Converting to grayscale with the Grayscale color group
      4m 45s
    3. Converting grayscale to color
      2m 27s
    4. Finding spot equivalents of process colors
      6m 48s
    5. Producing color matches intelligently
      3m 59s
  9. 16m 26s
    1. Proofing colors for color-blindness
      4m 56s
    2. Understanding book color
      9m 11s
    3. Previewing color separations
      2m 19s
  10. 3m 20s
    1. Taking color further with the Phantasm CS plug-in
      2m 30s
    2. Next steps

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Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator Insider Training: Coloring Artwork
4h 44m Intermediate Jul 20, 2011

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.

Topics include:
  • Getting to know the color models
  • Defining and using process and spot colors
  • Creating swatches and groups
  • Managing a color library
  • Getting inspiration from Adobe Kuler
  • Setting limits on the Color Guide
  • Protecting black, white, and grey
  • Making global color adjustments
  • Reducing colors
  • Converting to grayscale
  • Proofing colors
  • Previewing color separations
Mordy Golding

Editing color groups with the color wheel

Back in chapter 3 we spoke about how important it was for us to actually organize our colors using Swatch Groups or what we saw as those little folders inside of the Swatches panel. In this chapter, and moving forward throughout the title, we're going to start to see the fruits of our labor. It may have taken us a few extra steps to create those groups, but in doing so, we'll be able to take advantage of more functionality inside of Illustrator. Let's start with a simple concept of just simply editing colors.

I am going to start by creating a new document here; Command+N or Ctrl+N to create a new document. I am going to leave my setting here set to the Print, New Document Profile, and I am going to click OK. Now in this profile, if you look at my Swatches panel, I have several swatches that are now loose inside of the Swatches panel and if I scroll down I see that I have two Color Groups here; one called Grays and one called Brights. Normally, you know that you can just simply double-click at any swatch inside of Illustrator to edit that swatch.

So, for example, if I come over here to even a color within a group like this yellow color right here, I can double-click on it, and the Swatch Options dialog box shows up. This is very familiar to us. We know that we have the sliders here on the bottom. We can choose CMYK, HSB so on and so forth. I will click OK to just leave the settings as they were. However, when I'm working specifically with a Swatch Group, I can also double-click on the Folder icon itself here inside of the Swatches panel.

When I do so, I don't get a single Swatch Options dialog box; instead I get this other large dialog box which is called the Edit Colors dialog box. Now as you can see, just by looking at it, there is a tremendous amount of functionality that's here and what I'd like to do is break it down to several different sections so we can focus on them. First of all the entire right side of this dialog box is optional, and you can actually hide it by clicking on this button right here. It's a way for us to store or display our Color Groups inside of our document.

Before I actually close it here, because I don't want to make the screen too complicated to look at, I just want you to take note that right now where it says Color Groups I only see colors that appear inside of groups. Even though I have a tremendous amount of swatches inside of this document, none of those swatches are actually visible inside of this dialog box. So we discussed before again how important it is for us to organize our color inside of groups and this is one example of why that's the case. If I don't put my colors inside of groups, I don't have access to them, at least not easily here inside of the Edit Colors dialog box.

For now though I am just going to click on this button to hide this part of the dialog and let's focus purely on this section right now. Now obviously, front and center in the middle, I have my Color Wheel and we have already discussed this concept of an HSB Color Wheel. We discussed it way back in this title in Chapter 1 when we spoke about core color concepts, and we also saw this Color Wheel when we were using the Kuler web site. We'll talk more about this Color Wheel in detail in just a moment. But directly beneath it I have these sliders that right now are set to Saturation, Brightness, Temperature, and Luminosity, and that's because I have a little button here.

If I click on this, I'll actually see that I have RGB, HSB, CMYK, Web RGB which is Web Safe RGB, Tints which are not available right now because I'm not dealing with Spot Colors, and then I have Lab here as well. Now, we saw those little pop-ups in those sliders when we were editing individual swatches using the Swatch Options dialog box. But what I have here in addition is something called Global Adjust. We'll come back to this in just a moment, but I just want to show you we are inside of the CMYK document, and these colors are CMYK colors.

If I switch this to now Show CMYK, what I get here at the bottom are my CMYK sliders. Again, similar to what I'd see inside of the Swatch Options dialog box or of course very similar to what I might actually see here inside of my Color panel. Now there is another little button right over here on the right side, and you might find this somewhat familiar. It's actually the Limit button that we started using inside of the Color Guide panel. That allows us to limit the colors that we can use based on the library of our choosing.

Well, we're going to table this for now. We don't want to really go there because we're going to find out that that is extremely useful, but a little bit more complex. We'll get to that in just a few movies. For now, let's focus on the Color Wheel that appears right over here. What exactly are we looking at? Well, we know that the Color Wheel itself gives us all the colors inside of this gamut, which we know right now is HSB. Now, in order to open up this dialog box I started by double-clicking on the Folder for this Brights group here inside of my Swatches panel.

So what I'm seeing is little circles here around the wheel itself that represent each of the colors that appear inside of that Swatch Group. Now one of these colors right now is a little bit bigger, you can see that this circle is bigger, and that simply indicates that, that is the first color inside of the group, it can also be referred to as our base color. However, in truth, there really isn't any significance of that color right now. To better understand exactly what Illustrator is displaying to us here let me provide an analogy.

If you're looking for a certain address, you can go to Google Maps and do a search for that address, and also maybe you find other points of interest that are near that address. When you perform such a search inside of Google Maps, you see these little pushpins or indicators that identify where those points of interests are on top of a map. Let's imagine for a minute right now that this Color Wheel is a map, it's a map of all the colors, and the little circles that I see are the pushpins or the dots that are identifying these points of interests on that world of color.

The points of interests here are the actual Swatch Colors that appear inside of my group. So what the dots here are representing are the actual location of where each of the colors that live inside of my Swatch Group appear on the overall world of color represented here as the HSB Color Wheel. Because I've put all these colors together inside of a group that means that there is some kind of relationship between those colors. If you want to think about it, it's as if I've created my own customized harmony.

So right now all the colors are connected to each other with these solid lines. That means that if I were to actually move one of those colors as I'll do right here, you'll see that all the colors move together. This is similar to what we saw again inside of Kuler. I was able to make an adjustment to one color, and all the other colors moved accordingly. This is a way for you to make a global adjustment to all the colors inside of you Swatch Group at once. However, I'll be honest with you. I'll tell you that I don't really find that much of a use for this kind of adjustment, at least not when I am editing the colors inside of a Swatch Group itself.

I am actually going to click on this icon right over here to expand this area and I am going to click on the Brights again to reload those colors back onto the Color Wheel. It's important to realize that when you're working here inside of the Edit Colors dialog box, there is no Undo button. So whenever you make a change, the only way out of it is to either cancel or to reload those colors again and I'm doing so by clicking on the Color Group right here. Let me close this area again. Let's talk about making a different kind of color change to a color.

You see right now all of my colors are linked to each other because they're inside of this harmony. However, I may decide just to change that red color, maybe I want to make some kind of adjustment. I want all the other colors to stay the same, but I want to make some kind of a change to just the red color. So what I will start off by doing is coming over here to the icon that has a little Lock icon on it, and I'll choose to click on it, and now I've unlinked the colors. Now, you can see that I have dotted lines that connect all these different colors here. Now, I can move each of these colors individually. Notice when I do so, I am actually seeing the sliders move.

I could also move the sliders to adjust colors this way. Of course I can always change to a different method, if I don't want to use CMYK, I can choose to go to HSB, for example, and notice of course if I drag on the H slider or the Hue slider, I am going to move in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. Maybe I want to add some saturation here, so I could also drag this as well. Notice it moves towards the outside of the circle. Now, if I want to change this color to a completely different color, and I know what that color is, so, for example, right now I have six colors inside of this Color Group, and I really want this red color to be a completely different color, what I could do is I can simply double-click on it.

That brings up the Color Picker. I can either choose a color here or if I know that I already have a Color Swatch that exist inside of my document, I can click on Color Swatches, maybe choose CMYK Blue, and click OK and notice now the red has completely been changed to the blue color. If I click on the OK button right now, Illustrator will ask me if I now want to save that change to this Color Group. Again, before the Brights Color Group had a swatch which was red, but now I've just changed that red to a blue swatch, so Illustrator wants to make sure that I want to approve that change.

So if I click Yes, you can now see that my Color Group has the blue color here instead of the red color. So we can see that when working with Color Groups, by double-clicking on the Folder icon itself, I get the Edit Colors dialog box, and I can actually edit several colors at once. Also, I can edit them in the context of my overall Color Group. I will just show you one other thing which is interesting about that particular dialog box. Once again I will double-click on the Folder icon to bring up the Edit Colors dialog here. I can display this Color Wheel either as Smooth Colors, or I could choose to view as Segmented Color Wheel.

Again, some designers may find this a little bit easier to work with, or I could simply show or display all of the colors inside of my Color Group as a collection of Color Bars. Now, I am going to go back to the Smooth Color Wheel here for just a moment, because there maybe times when another kind of edit that I might want to apply to a Color Group is to actually add or remove a color from that Color Group. Now again, I know that I can actually go to the Swatches panel, and drag an existing swatch into a group or drag it out of a group, but again this is just another way to offer that kind of functionality.

I could simply right-click anywhere inside of the Color Wheel itself and choose to add a new color. So before, I had six colors inside of my Color Group, and now I have seven. Likewise, if I want to delete a color, I can click on this icon right here, and then click on that color to remove it from the group. All the way at the top of this dialog box you will see a little pop-up menu which is similar to what we saw inside of the Color Guide. I can actually choose between different color harmonies. At the moment, the way that I got into this dialog box is by double-clicking on the folder of an existing Swatch Group.

So the colors that were in that Swatch Group which is my own custom harmony, those colors were loaded into the Edit Colors dialog box. So those are the colors that I see on the Color Wheel. However, if you really want to get a good idea about what all these different harmony rules actually are and what they represent, you could simply come here and actually click on these. So, for example, if I click on Complementary, I now see the two colors and the way that these colors are actually appearing in relationship to each other. I have one color which is my base color, and then I also have its complement.

If I click over here again and I choose, for example, Monochromatic 2, I see how these colors appear on the Color Wheel. Let me scroll all the way down towards the bottom here and choose High Contrast colors, and again I see how that's split up, and how that's displayed on the Color Wheel itself. So in this regard, I have the ability to either edit existing colors that are inside of Color Groups, and I could also take a look at how each of these harmonies that Illustrator comes with go about choosing colors. So we know that the Edit Colors dialog box offers me a very rich environment for editing the colors that appear inside of groups.

You'll notice, by the way, that there are two little buttons here at the top, one called Edit which is what we've been looking at right now, and then there is something called Assign, but this right now is grayed out. The reason why that icon right now is grayed out is because we don't have any artwork on our artboard selected. You see the Assign part of this dialog box allows us to recolor existing artwork. Right now, we've just been working purely with swatches; we haven't been touching artwork at all. But in the next movie, we're going to learn all about how we can actually start to wrap our heads around this concept of actually changing colors inside of artwork in a whole new way.

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