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How to use the Shape Builder Tool to recolor artwork

From: Creative Quick Tips

Video: How to use the Shape Builder Tool to recolor artwork

Hi there. I'm choosing a color that I'm going to fill Like that a lot better. So we'll just keep dragging across.

How to use the Shape Builder Tool to recolor artwork

Hi there. Welcome back to another installment of creative quick tips. My name is Justin Seely and this week we are going to talk Illustrator and a little trick that I have for using the Shape Builder tool in a way that you're not used to. So, the first thing we're going to do is were just going to create a brand new document. Does not matter how big or how small. And then you're just going to draw some shapes. So draw out something like a rectangle. Then go over here and grab the Ellipse tool, draw something out like that and then maybe even go and grab something like the Star tool.

And we'll add a few more layers to that like this. And I'm doing that just for the up arrow key, by the way. Once I do that I have everything in place that I need. And so what we're going to do here is we're going to use the Shape Builder tool to combine these together. And if you don't know what the Shape Builder tool is, it's basically it allows you to draw complex shapes without actually having to draw anything, it just combines them. So I'm going to invoke that tool with Shift+M on the keyboard and then you'll notice that when I mouse over different areas, it highlights. That's because it's indicating me areas that are about to be combined or subtracted.

So what I'm going to do is, I'm just going to make sort of an interesting looking shape here. So I'm going to hold down the Option key to subtract this part. Just like this and then I'll also remove these little pieces like this. There we go. And then I'm going to combine these two. So I'm not going to hold down the Option key anymore. And we'll just combine like this and then start adding in like that. So this is basically how the Shape Builder tool works. And that's the normal way that you would have it work. It turns everything into one shape. The problem with this, is that by default it always colors the object the same as the colors that you're working with.

It doesn't allow you to change the color at all. So what I'm going to do is show you a little trick and I'll just Cmd or Ctrl+Z until I get everything back. And then, I'm going to select them all again and then we're going to use shape builder again. But this time, I'm going to use the shade builder to actually color the artwork as I create the shapes. In order to do that, what I'm going to do is come over to the Shade Builder tool on the Tools panel and double-click on it. When I do that, I'm going to turn this on right here, Cursor Swatch Preview and I'm also going to make sure that it's picking the colors from. The color swatches.

I want the full color swatches over there. Hit OK. This cursor probably looks familiar. It looks a little bit like live paint and that's exactly what it does. First of all, I'm going to remove the shapes I don't want by holding down the Option key and dragging across them. Now, I want to combine these shapes, but I want to change the color. So I'm just going to use my arrow keys. Check out as I move my arrow keys around. I'll actually move this onto the artwork so you can see it. I'm choosing a color that I'm going to fill with, just by tapping around on my arrow keys. So if I want this light blue, I'll just click here, drag across.

There we go. Let's say I want to change the color. Come here and it changes to that color. And I'm like eh, well, I don't really like that either. Okay, let's cycle back through, and let's find, maybe, a green color that I like. No problem. Like that a lot better. So we'll just keep dragging across. And now it takes on whatever color I have selected. On that little cursor right there. And so this is just a great way to instantly color and combine shapes in Illustrator using the Shape Builder tool. It basically builds in live paint along with the shape builder, all at the same time.

It's a little known feature that a lot of people don't really use a lot, but I think it's really useful. Especially if you're creating really complex shapes and you need to apply color along the way. It's going to get you there that much faster, saving you the time from creating the shape and then going over and selecting the color. You can do it all simultaneously, and it's really going to speed up your work flow.

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This video is part of

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Creative Quick Tips

57 video lessons · 37741 viewers

Justin Seeley

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  1. 1m 45s
    1. Welcome to the series
    2. How to send feedback
  2. 9m 1s
    1. How to create line shadows in Illustrator
      5m 30s
    2. Using custom keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop
      3m 31s
  3. 11m 50s
    1. How to create layers from Photoshop Layer Styles
      3m 14s
    2. How to turn Illustrator artwork into Shape Layers
      3m 15s
    3. How to combine vector shapes in Photoshop
      2m 49s
    4. How to use text wrapping in Illustrator
      2m 32s
  4. 15m 41s
    1. How to effectively rotate objects in Illustrator
      2m 39s
    2. How to create interlocking shapes in Illustrator
      3m 29s
    3. How to speed up Photoshop's performance
      3m 25s
    4. How to use tool shortcuts in Photoshop
      2m 52s
    5. How to use springloaded shortcuts in Photoshop
      3m 16s
  5. 9m 27s
    1. How to create a better Twitter avatar
      3m 59s
    2. How to embed videos in WordPress without a plugin
      1m 45s
    3. How to embed real tweets into any WordPress post
      2m 15s
    4. Create your own Photoshop shortcut cheat sheet
      1m 28s
  6. 17m 53s
    1. How to create better Facebook cover photos
      4m 31s
    2. How to use keyboard shortcuts in WordPress
      2m 47s
    3. How to add Apple touch icons to your website
      5m 27s
    4. How to use Font Awesome in design applications
      5m 8s
  7. 8m 50s
    1. How to create your own pixel grids
      4m 25s
    2. How to sample colors from anywhere
      2m 5s
    3. How to create diagonal guides in Illustrator
      2m 20s
  8. 13m 48s
    1. How to round individual corners on Illustrator shapes
      3m 21s
    2. How to use Camera Raw as a Smart Filter
      4m 8s
    3. How to use the Shape Builder Tool to recolor artwork
      3m 34s
    4. How to use "Align to Key Object" in Illustrator
      2m 45s
  9. 8m 26s
    1. Exploring the Kuler Panel in Illustrator CC
      1m 50s
    2. How to draw awesome shapes with the tilde key
      2m 12s
    3. How to reset your bounding box in Illustrator
      2m 6s
    4. How to change your artboard color in Illustrator
      2m 18s
  10. 23m 19s
    1. How to use Photoshop and Illustrator to write CSS
      4m 1s
    2. How to create scalable rounded rectangles in Illustrator
      4m 16s
    3. How to use the fill commands in Photoshop
      3m 52s
    4. How to accurately space objects in Illustrator
      2m 5s
    5. Ten WordPress plugins that you should know
      9m 5s
  11. 9m 41s
    1. Unlocking background layers in Photoshop
      1m 8s
    2. Using opacity shortcuts in Photoshop
      1m 50s
    3. Using Illustrator's Glyphs Panel for icon fonts
      3m 15s
    4. Creating flexible buttons in Illustrator
      3m 28s
  12. 6m 31s
    1. Locking artwork in Illustrator
      2m 5s
    2. Five free fonts for your next project
      2m 0s
    3. Improving the SEO of your Muse website
      2m 26s
  13. 17m 7s
    1. Fitting content into your InDesign frames
      2m 37s
    2. Setting up your own Autocorrect in InDesign
      2m 33s
    3. Drawing complex shapes in Illustrator
      3m 14s
    4. Using the snapshots feature in Photoshop
      4m 40s
    5. Creating awesome product shots with Placeit
      4m 3s
  14. 18m 10s
    1. How to find free stock photos online
      1m 55s
    2. Using the transform command in Illustrator
      4m 14s
    3. Five tools for wireframing & mockups
      7m 36s
    4. How to convert videos into GIFs using Photoshop
      4m 25s
  15. 16m 10s
    1. Using PNG Hat to export Photoshop assets
      4m 56s
    2. How to setup two-step authentication in WordPress
      3m 50s
    3. Analyzing the speed of your website
      2m 19s
    4. How to create beveled text in Illustrator
      5m 5s

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