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Modifying color with the Recolor Artwork feature

From: Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics

Video: Modifying color with the Recolor Artwork feature

As a designer, having to change colors constantly is simply part of the job, and that can be also a very difficult process in complex illustrations, especially when there are many different colors used in a variety of places. Things like gradient stops inside of symbols or patterns. Having to go in and select those areas or those objects, even those parts of different swatches or colors can be very, very difficult. Now, we've already discussed the different types of swatches that you can have inside of Illustrator. And we know that using things like global process swatches do help us make changes to a document more easily than with regular process swatches.

Modifying color with the Recolor Artwork feature

As a designer, having to change colors constantly is simply part of the job, and that can be also a very difficult process in complex illustrations, especially when there are many different colors used in a variety of places. Things like gradient stops inside of symbols or patterns. Having to go in and select those areas or those objects, even those parts of different swatches or colors can be very, very difficult. Now, we've already discussed the different types of swatches that you can have inside of Illustrator. And we know that using things like global process swatches do help us make changes to a document more easily than with regular process swatches.

But designers are often called upon make to complex edits. For example, on a document like this called floral_design _2, I may have a variety of different colors that are being used, and I may need to convert that entire piece of artwork through using just one color. So it's not just changing a blue to a purple, or something like that, sometimes modifying color can include working with tints and shades of color as well. So that's where this feature called Recolor Artwork comes into play. No matter how colors apply to your document itself, the Recolor Artwork feature allows you to modify those colors, even if you don't even have any swatches defined for those colors.

So, let's take a look at that feature. First I'm actually going to open up here my panel, and I want to show you that in my Swatches panel I already have several groups of colors that I have defined. I have actually pull all of these from the Preset Libraries that Illustrator ships with. If I go down over here to Nature and to Flowers, so you'll notice that I have things like Poppy, Iris, Birds of paradise, so on and so forth. So I have these swatches that already exist inside of groups. And this is actually important to note. When I'm working with the Recolor Artwork feature inside of Illustrator, colors that appear within groups are more easily accessible as we are soon going to see.

Now the first important thing to note about the Recolor Artwork feature is that it works on selected artwork. So that means that you actually have to make a selection. The good thing about this is that it allows you to make targeted changes to certain areas of your document. For example, if you want to change some colors on a foreground but not on a background, you can lock those background layers and then go ahead and choose the artwork that you want to change. The downside of course to this is that you do have to unlock your objects and select them if you want to work with them. Now many times we may have a document that has whole bunch of different locked layers, or locked objects. You would have to unlock them in order to use this feature. But I'll show you, by the way, that you don't have to worry about the selection process at all.

When you choose to select all your artwork later on we'll be able to define exactly which colors will change and which will not. So I have nothing to lock in my document right now, and I'm simply going to press Command+A or Ctrl+A to select all of my artwork. Now there are two basic ways to launch the Recolor Artwork feature. I can either go to the control panel, and then click on this icon right over here called Recolor Artwork, or I can go to the Edit menu, then I could choose Edit Colors, and then I could choose here Recolor Artwork. This opens up the Recolor Artwork dialog box, and in fact we'll just take a quick look at exactly what this dialog box offers and we'll see how to use it.

Now at first glance you'll also notice that there are two buttons at the top, one called the Assign, one called Edit. We've actually seen this Edit functionality before when working with editing the colors inside of a color group. We have the HSB color wheel, and we see that we have the ability to actually move these colors around if we want to. Now in reality, the Edit tab and the Assign tab are showing us the exact same information, but in two very different ways. Think about right now the Recolor Artwork button is simply showing to me the colors that I currently have in my active selection. If we go to the Edit tab first, I basically see my colors that are put on to a visual map. Think about Google Maps, I have those little pushpins that basically identify different areas on a map. So these circles are identifying the colors that exist in my selection right now. When I go to the Assign tab, I'm basically seeing things as if I were reading a phone book. I see a list of all my colors.

Now it's interesting to note that Illustrator list the colors in the order of their Hue. So for example, if I go back to the Edit tab here I can see that I have this color right here, then if I start to move around in this counter-clockwise direction, I can see that the colors over here are assigned very much in that same way. Now in reality when most people take a look at this Recolor Artwork feature, they jump to the Edit tab, they click on this little button over here to lock the relationship between the colors, and then if they want to go ahead and generate a variety of different ways of working with these colors, they could simply go ahead and create different variations of those colors in their document.

Another way that you can change the colors in your document is simply by choosing another color group. By clicking on any color group here on the right side of the dialog box, I can replace the colors that currently exist in my document with the ones that exists in a group. So for example, if I click on this one, Hydrangea, all my color is now changed to those colors. I click on these for example and others. So if I've created these groups of colors, again this is one of the benefits of working with groups, I could easily swap one group for another. Now there is one important thing to note about the Recolor Artwork dialog box. There is the no Undue button. So once I go ahead and apply some kind of change, I can't simply press Command+Z or Ctrl+ Z to undo that rest action. So if I go here for example and I change to this Hydrangea group, I have no way to press Undo to go back to the Iris group as I did before.

The one saving grace in the Recolor Artwork dialog box is this button right here. It basically resamples the artwork f rom your original artwork that you have selected and reloads those colors back on to the color wheel. So it's almost like a Reset button. So it's not an Undo, you can't go back one step backwards or a two step backwards, but you could definitely start refreshing in by clicking on this button. And now that basically returns my artwork to the original state that it was and maps those colors back on to the color wheel. Now we'll discuss this specific functionality of both the Edit and the Assign tabs in a different movie, but for now you want to close with one important aspect about the Recolor Artwork dialog box, and that's this checkbox here on the bottom called Recolor Art.

Now you'll notice as you go ahead and you'll spin the wheel over here for example to change or modify these colors, or if you change between different groups for example, you can see that the artwork on my artboard is now being changed. That's because the Recolor Art button is now checked. A lot of people just think that the Recolor Art button is like a Preview button, it's not. It's actually telling Illustrator that you want to recolor that artwork. Why is that important? Well, that's because you can use the colors mapped on to your wheel to actually generate new color groups without changing the artwork itself. For example, I come here and I'll reset the colors again, and maybe what I want to do is I want to click on this Lock button here, and I want to generate some new interesting colors using that kind of harmony.

But I want to come here and I want to save that as a new group, but if I were to click OK right now, I would now be overriding those colors and changing the colors of my selection. I may just want to start over those colors and then create a new group of modified colors. By unchecking the Recolor Art button, I'm leaving the colors of my document alone but using them to generate new color groups. Now that we understand some of the basic functionality of the Recolor Artwork dialog box, we can begin to learn about all the power that it bring to us as designers through both the Edit and the Assign tabs.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics
Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics

137 video lessons · 29061 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
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  1. 2m 4s
    1. Welcome
      1m 41s
    2. Using the exercise files
      23s
  2. 33m 20s
    1. Introducing Live Paint
      38s
    2. Drawing in Illustrator
      4m 21s
    3. Creating a Live Paint group
      2m 54s
    4. Using the Live Paint Bucket tool
      3m 17s
    5. Using Live Paint with open paths
      2m 29s
    6. Detecting gaps in Live Paint groups
      4m 17s
    7. Adding paths to a Live Paint group
      3m 41s
    8. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      5m 44s
    9. Releasing and expanding Live Paint groups
      2m 55s
    10. Understanding how Live Paint groups work
      3m 4s
  3. 49m 36s
    1. Introducing the trace options
      39s
    2. Setting expectations: Live Trace
      2m 26s
    3. Using the Live Trace feature
      1m 51s
    4. Understanding how Live Trace works
      5m 41s
    5. Making raster-based adjustments
      5m 52s
    6. Tracing with fills, strokes, or both
      2m 55s
    7. Making vector-based adjustments
      6m 12s
    8. Adjusting colors in Live Trace
      4m 39s
    9. Using Photoshop with Live Trace
      5m 22s
    10. Releasing and expanding Live Trace artwork
      2m 58s
    11. Saving and exporting Live Trace presets
      2m 36s
    12. Tracing in Batch mode with Adobe Bridge
      1m 35s
    13. Turning an image into mosaic tiles
      2m 28s
    14. Tracing an image manually
      4m 22s
  4. 1h 24m
    1. Introducing 3D
      33s
    2. Setting expectations: 3D in Illustrator
      2m 53s
    3. How fills and strokes affect 3D artwork
      4m 43s
    4. Applying the 3D Extrude & Bevel effect
      6m 25s
    5. Applying a bevel
      5m 40s
    6. Showing the hidden faces of a 3D object
      4m 49s
    7. Applying the 3D Revolve effect
      5m 22s
    8. Visualizing the revolve axis
      3m 5s
    9. Applying the 3D Rotate effect
      1m 35s
    10. Adjusting surface settings
      9m 33s
    11. Understanding the importance of 3D and groups
      3m 24s
    12. Preparing art for mapping
      10m 19s
    13. Mapping artwork to a 3D surface
      14m 21s
    14. Hiding geometry with 3D artwork mapping
      4m 0s
    15. Extending the use of 3D in Illustrator
      8m 7s
  5. 44m 37s
    1. Introducing transformations and effects
      32s
    2. Using the Transform panel
      12m 37s
    3. Repeating transformations
      5m 23s
    4. Using the Transform Each function
      3m 48s
    5. Using the Convert to Shape effects
      5m 49s
    6. Using the Distort & Transform effects
      5m 12s
    7. Using the Path effects
      6m 58s
    8. Using the Pathfinder effects
      4m 18s
  6. 28m 23s
    1. Introducing graphic styles
      33s
    2. Applying graphic styles
      10m 8s
    3. Defining graphic styles
      8m 46s
    4. Previewing graphic styles
      2m 10s
    5. Modifying graphic styles
      3m 30s
    6. Understanding graphic styles for text
      3m 16s
  7. 22m 49s
    1. Introducing advanced masking techniques
      32s
    2. Understanding clipping masks
      7m 15s
    3. Using layer clipping masks
      6m 30s
    4. Creating opacity masks
      8m 32s
  8. 1h 6m
    1. Introducing color
      40s
    2. Considering three types of color swatches
      7m 7s
    3. Managing color groups
      2m 58s
    4. Understanding the HSB color wheel
      3m 57s
    5. Understanding color harmonies
      2m 57s
    6. Using the color guide
      3m 54s
    7. Limiting the color guide
      3m 17s
    8. Modifying color with the Recolor Artwork feature
      6m 25s
    9. Using the Edit tab to adjust color
      5m 44s
    10. Using the Assign tab to replace colors
      8m 37s
    11. Making global color adjustments
      2m 17s
    12. Using Recolor options
      7m 3s
    13. Converting artwork to grayscale
      3m 23s
    14. Simulating artwork on different devices
      3m 18s
    15. Accessing Kuler directly from Illustrator
      2m 7s
    16. Ensuring high contrast for color-blind people
      2m 42s
  9. 53m 19s
    1. Introducing transparency
      40s
    2. Understanding transparency flattening
      2m 31s
    3. Exercising the two rules of transparency flattening
      10m 53s
    4. Understanding complex regions in transparency flattening
      4m 50s
    5. Exploring the transparency flattener settings
      8m 37s
    6. Using transparency flattening and object stacking order
      6m 39s
    7. Using the Flattener Preview panel
      6m 31s
    8. Creating and sharing Transparency Flattener presets
      2m 25s
    9. Working within an EPS workflow
      5m 3s
    10. Understanding the Illustrator and InDesign workflow
      5m 10s
  10. 50m 1s
    1. Introducing prepress and output
      23s
    2. Understanding resolutions
      8m 27s
    3. Discovering RGB and CMYK "gotchas"
      5m 42s
    4. Using Overprints and Overprint Preview
      7m 43s
    5. Understanding "book color" and proofing spot colors
      8m 1s
    6. Collecting vital information with Document Info
      2m 28s
    7. Previewing color separations onscreen
      1m 12s
    8. Making 3D artwork look good
      2m 16s
    9. Seeing white lines and knowing what to do about them
      2m 41s
    10. Creating "bulletproof" press-ready PDF files
      3m 45s
    11. Protecting content with secure PDFs
      2m 48s
    12. Using PDF presets
      2m 47s
    13. Moving forward: The Adobe PDF Print Engine
      1m 48s
  11. 35m 43s
    1. Introducing distortions
      27s
    2. Using the Warp effect
      4m 20s
    3. The Warp effect vs. envelope distortion
      3m 48s
    4. Applying the Make with Warp envelope distortion
      2m 45s
    5. Applying the Make with Mesh envelope distortion
      2m 41s
    6. Applying the Make with Top Object envelope distortion
      3m 45s
    7. Editing envelopes
      5m 0s
    8. Adjusting envelope settings
      4m 2s
    9. Releasing and expanding envelope distortions
      1m 44s
    10. Applying envelope distortions to text
      1m 27s
    11. Using the liquify distortion tools
      3m 5s
    12. Customizing the liquify tools
      2m 39s
  12. 28m 56s
    1. Introducing blends
      32s
    2. Blending two objects
      6m 18s
    3. Adjusting blend options
      5m 47s
    4. Blending anchor points
      5m 36s
    5. Blending three or more objects
      2m 9s
    6. Replacing the spine of a blend
      4m 32s
    7. Reversing the direction of a blend
      2m 15s
    8. Releasing and expanding a blend
      1m 47s
  13. 46m 54s
    1. Introducing charts and graphs
      35s
    2. Setting expectations: Graphs in Illustrator
      3m 19s
    3. Creating a chart
      8m 2s
    4. Importing data
      3m 34s
    5. Formatting data
      5m 1s
    6. Customizing a chart
      10m 21s
    7. Combining chart types
      2m 40s
    8. Creating graph designs
      6m 0s
    9. Styling and updating graphs
      5m 33s
    10. Ungrouping graphs
      1m 49s
  14. 26m 36s
    1. Introducing Gradient Mesh
      23s
    2. Understanding the Gradient Mesh feature
      9m 34s
    3. Using Gradient Mesh to add contoured shading
      6m 14s
    4. Using Gradient Mesh to create photorealistic effects
      10m 25s
  15. 8m 18s
    1. Introducing flare effects
      25s
    2. Drawing a lens flare
      3m 28s
    3. Modifying a lens flare
      1m 27s
    4. Using a mask with lens flares
      2m 58s
  16. 29s
    1. Goodbye
      29s

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