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In Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, author and industry expert Deke McClelland teaches how to take advantage of the wide array of dynamic features in Illustrator CS5. This course demonstrates how to apply these features to paths, groups, and editable text to create professional-quality artwork. The course covers Live Trace, Live Paint, and Live Color, as well as symbols, gradients, exporting, and integration with Photoshop. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this exercise I am going to introduce you to the Color Guide panel which is a really awesome feature inside of Illustrator, quite useful indeed, we haven't seen it so far. It's the tip of a group of features that used to be known as Life Color inside of Illustrator, now Adobe, in sense, abandon that term. However, it's useful to think of these features, whatever you call them, as being linked together, as working together because they most certainly do even though they're strewn all over the place. So we got the Color Guide panel, we've got Color Groups inside the Swatches panel, we've got the Edit Color dialog box, we've got the Recolor Artwork command.
We'll be seeing all of those over the course of this chapter and once you come to terms with them they are very useful indeed for coming up with color schemes for your illustrations. For example, here I am working in that Two-up tees.ai file, found inside the 19_advanced_color folder, and I have already establish the colors that I want to work with inside of the T-shirt, so let's say this light color is the fabric color of the T-shirt and the this dark color is trim, and I have setup some various objects in the background that will complement things.
However, this color scheme that I have in work right here is not the color scheme I'm going to go with, it's not going to work out at all. I only have all these grays set up because I want to be able to tell the various objects apart from each other, other than that they bear no resemblance to the final colors I want to use. Now, having said that I have gone ahead and constructed this graphic to keep it as straightforward as possible, even though we've got all these complicated path outlines going on structurally the graphics is fairly straightforward. I'll go over to the layers panel and twirl open a background layer and unlock it so we can work on it.
Then notice that we've got two sets of repeating objects, one group of four objects and a background that is over here in the left have art board, the same group repeated over on the right hand art board for comparative purposes. And so all of my black path are grouped together, I've got this dark gray rectangle in back of it, I've got all of my lighter gray objects grouped together and then my lightest gray objects grouped together. But kind of so what, what do I do at this point? Even though it's going to be easy to select these four groups of objects now I am going to you have to define the colors of those objects and I am going to have to pick and choose and what? I guess dial in my colors here inside the Color panel so maybe I want a kind of shade of brown or something for what it were formerly those light gray objects.
Then maybe I want to switch the background object to some other color that I would dial here inside the Color panel or I can go over to the Swatches and say, maybe, this shade of orange or something like that, I want this ghastly, or I can get some help from Illustrator. I can ask Illustrator to give me some guidance in the form of the Color Guide panel and what the Color Guide panel does is it generates these little micro swatch groups on the fly based on some harmony criteria that I can set up.
So I am going to start things up by selecting a key color and so you specify a key color by selecting an object that contains that color. So I want to come up with some form of colors that are going to complement the blue of the T-shirt so I'll go ahead and select that T-shirt, I'll make sure that my Fill is active, here inside the Color panel, and then I'll switch over to Color Guide which you can also get to by going to the Window menu and choosing the Color Guide command or you can press that keyboard shortcut of Shift+F3 and that's going to switch you to this Color Guide panel.
Now notice, by default you're going to see a group of five colors that may or may not be the five colors you see on my screen and they really so far have nothing to do with the color that I've selected but I can see my base color right there, there is that color that's in work inside of the T-shirt. In order to wake up this little group of colors here and base it on my selected color I need to click on it and that goes ahead and tells Illustrator to recalculate those colors. Now that may seem like an unnecessary step, after all you should just be able to select the object that contains the color and the Color Guide panel automatically works from it.
Well, actually not so. If you think about it you're going to be selecting a bunch of different objects whose colors you want to change and if every time you click on one of these objects, for example now if this little color right there is orange if every time the Color Guide panel kept updating then you wouldn't have any uniformity across these various object. So anyway, at this point I have now established as I say this little group of colors that I can select from this, little group of Swatches that goes beyond anything I might have inside the Swatches panel.
Now if you want to vary the kinds of colors that you're seeing here, the arrangement of colors, then you can select a different Harmony Rule by clicking this down pointing arrow head right there and then you got this huge list of Harmony Rules. Now a lot of people immediately see this and go oh no! No way am I going to somehow sift through this ridiculous list, especially, because of the naming conventions and everything else that are going on. And what on the world does harmony even mean! Well, there are color patterns, is essentially what's going on and I don't want you thinking that somehow they've been invented by a team of color scientist who have figured out that these are the colors that go together and you need to use these colors and nothing else but how would you know which group of these colors to choose.
These are just color patterns that some engineers have come up with, that basically subscribe to some interesting but ultimately very flexible rules, for example Tetrad 2 which is selected by default. What Tetrad means is that the colors are going off in four different directions inside the big color wheel and we'll see what that looks like an upcoming exercise but for now just know Tetrad means 4. Doesn't necessarily mean 4 colors, the first Tetrad is actually four colors long, the second one is five colors long because two of the colors are resembling each other, they're going off in the same direction inside the hue wheel.
Triad is colors that are going off in three direction so the first Triad is just three colors after that there are five colors because pairs of colors are going off in the same direction and then if we go up the list, all the way up, we'll see Complimentary, that's pretty straightforward. So, you are going to start with the blue and then you are going to off in the opposite direction for your other colors, you are going into the orange area which is a color complement for blue. Left Complement is going to warm things up; in this case Right Complement is going to cool things down. Then we have got an Analogous that are colors that are going more or less at the same direction.
Monochromatic are all going in the same direction and doesn't become a little more clear what I mean by direction we see these colors represented inside the Edit Color dialog box as I say that's coming up. The Compound Harmonies are a kind of combination of Complementary and Analogous working together. High Contrast don't really have anything to do with each other, they're high contrast versions of some of the other patterns that we've seen so far and then Pentagram goes off in five directions just so as you know. Now, what I want you to do is just select the one you like.
Select the one that seems to have a bunch of colors that you think you want to work from, go ahead and choose that. For example, let's start with Tetrad 2 since that's the default and then you'll see in addition to these five colors up here in this Color Bar these same five colors appeared right down the middle of the panel underneath this arrow and then we see lighter tans over on the right hand side and darker shades over here on the left hand side, once again by default. The shades by the way are going to loose saturation.
So you are going to get more and more drab colors as you get darker and there's two reasons for that, Illustrator is trying to mimic the same color as it gives you a shade and secondly it's giving you more black but it's taking color way from cyan, magenta and yellow but also it can't make the color too dark because then you would violate the total ink limit and your inks would and smear and so on. So, let's just try applying one of these colors for starters to anything, inside this background, totally up to you, you don't have to get the same results I'm getting.
I am going to try out this burgundy shade right there just by clicking on it and that goes ahead and applies that color to the selected objects in then I might try this background and I might think, oh gosh! You know light green might work out pretty well. Now let's try those paths that are filled with a darker gray, this time around I'll try kind of a drab brown for those guys and then finally I might select my black objects there is like one of the very dark colors, let's say in the dark blues, in order to get this color scheme here.
Now I may or may not like what I've come up with but the brilliant thing about it is it happened that quickly. And with total no-brainer, I'm just able to sort of swim around inside this Color Guide panel, make some quick decisions, decide if I like it, if I don't like it, if I do I'm done, if I don't I can play around some more. And I'll show you a few ways to play around in the next exercise.
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