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Animated Character Design with Illustrator
Illustration by John Hersey

Recoloring artwork with Kuler


From:

Animated Character Design with Illustrator

with Angie Taylor

Video: Recoloring artwork with Kuler

There's a great feature in Illustrator that allows you to recolor your artwork. I call it Kuler because that was what it was called when it was first introduced into Illustrator. It's a fantastic feature and I really want to share it with you now. So, if you want to follow along, you can open Kuler.ai and you'll find that in the Coloring Artwork folder. Now, here I have a piece of art that desperately needs recoloring. Sometimes you want to recolor a whole piece of artwork, but you don't want to go through manually selecting everything. Even with Live Paint it can be quite tedious to paint all the different sections.

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Animated Character Design with Illustrator
2h 33m Intermediate Jan 14, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

This workshop from author and animator Angie Taylor teaches how to use Illustrator's tools and features to prepare 2D files for animation in Adobe After Effects. Discover how to make the most of Illustrator's drawing tools and Autotrace feature, and to how use Live Paint and Kuler to recolor artwork. Plus, get a ton of tips and tricks for giving artwork a hand-drawn look and find out how to set up layers, aspect ratios, and transparency options for importing into After Effects. The lessons are focused and solution-oriented, and all the project files are included.

Topics include:
  • Setting up the work area
  • Bringing artwork into Illustrator
  • Tracing artwork manually
  • Creating complex shapes
  • Working with paths
  • Using Live Trace
  • Coloring artwork
  • Applying 3D effects
  • Exporting artboards
  • Options for saving files
Subjects:
3D + Animation Design Illustration Character Animation video2brain
Software:
Illustrator
Author:
Angie Taylor

Recoloring artwork with Kuler

There's a great feature in Illustrator that allows you to recolor your artwork. I call it Kuler because that was what it was called when it was first introduced into Illustrator. It's a fantastic feature and I really want to share it with you now. So, if you want to follow along, you can open Kuler.ai and you'll find that in the Coloring Artwork folder. Now, here I have a piece of art that desperately needs recoloring. Sometimes you want to recolor a whole piece of artwork, but you don't want to go through manually selecting everything. Even with Live Paint it can be quite tedious to paint all the different sections.

So, Kuler allows you to take a piece of artwork and color it using the most fantastic controls. Let me show you at, so if I select all of my artwork. There are two ways of accessing Kuler. You can access it up here, Recolor Artwork, in the Control panel. Or you can access it here in the Color Guide. Now, it does something very different here to what it does here. If I select it here, it doesn't actually change my artwork but it gives me access to new color schemes that I can apply to my artwork.

But it doesn't actually apply them until I click on Okay. Whereas, if you choose it here, so if I choose say, a complementary color scheme like this, and I click on Kuler here, it actually applies that color scheme when I enter the dialog box. So just be careful with that one. If you get a color scheme you really like, by all means use it. But I tend to click on this, because it doesn't actually change it until I click okay. Okay, so as I said, you can change the color scheme of the whole set of colors.

So, you can choose things like, complementary color schemes, left complementary color schemes, monochrome color schemes. If we go down here we can choose a monochrome color scheme. So there's all sorts of ways of choosing color schemes. By using the v color artwork dialog box. But it's not just for that. If I come out of here, and go back in again. And this time, I decide I just want to darken down all the colors, for example. I can just come down here to my Color mode menu, and choose Global Adjust.

To just reduce the saturation and maybe reduce the brightness of all the colors in my artwork. So if I just want to create a desaturated look for the artwork, or maybe warm it up or cool it down, then I can use the Global Controls just to control things like luminosity, temperature, saturation and brightness. So, that's one thing I can do. I can also go to the Edit mode, where I can actually manually take colors and change them individually. So, I could brighten up the tie again and maybe bring the brightness down of the tie.

If I go back out of Global Adjust and into my HSB settings, Hue, Saturation, and Brightness, I can just darker down the tie. I could maybe choose the yellow of the shirt and just brighten that up a little bit. So, you can see that I can manually adjust colors individually or as a group by using the Recolor Artwork dialog box. Now, I'm going to cancel that and I'm going to show you another way of using Kuler that I like to work with. So, I tend to like to work with layers.

So, rather than select the whole piece of artwork and try and change everything in a runner, I tend to choose individual layers and as you can see this is all split into layers ready for me to animate in After Effects. So, it's very easy for me to just select the arms and the jacket, and then go into Kuler, and just edit those colors. So, if I go into my edit mode now, you'll see I've got far fewer colors to edit than I had before. And another thing that I quite like is, if I just want to change the color of the jacket and the tie and everything, maybe to more blues and greens rather than oranges and reds. And what I can do is, I can group the colors together and just drag them around the color wheel selecting different color combinations til I get the one that I want.

And I think something like that I quite like, quite like the blues maybe a little bit more desaturated. So, we've got some nice desaturated blues there. And you notice it's changing gradients as well as solid colors, but maintaining the balance between the gradients. Okay, so say I like that but I'm not too keen on this purple color of the shirt. What I can then do is ungroup the colors and just choose a new color for the shirt, maybe a slightly more pink color for the shirt. So, you see by selecting this and making global changes, you can start to recolor your artwork.

If I wanted the whole thing to be slightly more desaturated, I could just go back onto the global adjust again and bring down the saturation so that I've got a slightly paler jacket and shirt than I had before. And again, if I want to individually brighten up a color, say the pink, I can just pull that out. So, it's a very intuitive way of working. And of course, once I've done the jacket, I can click okay and maybe select the legs and go back into Kuler. And for legs, I'm going to go to Edit Colors again and I want to leave the socks really.

It's just the grays in the middle that I really want to change. So, I'm going to drag them towards blues and start to change the color of the trousers as well. Sometimes it takes a minute or 2 just to figure out which one you should be changing. So, you'll see there that I have the correct one now. Okay. And just bring the saturation down a bit so it matches the jacket a little bit better. And there we have it. So there you go. Using Kuler, you can very easily re-color your artwork very quickly without having to go through the painful process of editing individual layers, groups, objects, gradients and color swatches.

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