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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.
So we know that the Color Guide panel provides suggestions of colors that I can use based on a base color, meaning a color that I choose. In addition, it makes these suggestions of colors based on the harmony rule that I've selected. So, for example, when I click on different colors here inside of my Swatches panel, I'll see different variations of color that I might want to use in my design, but here is really where the problem kind of starts. Where is the Color Guide getting all these colors from? I mean it's making suggestions of different shades of colors, it's using the harmonies that I've chosen in order to come up with those colors, but those colors are all being fed from the HSV color wheel that exists inside of Illustrator, meaning Color Guide is accessing this whole world of visible color and it's making suggestions based on colors that it finds in that big world of color.
But let's stop for a moment and think about how we as designers use color on a day-to-day basis. We're not always free to choose any color that we dream up; we usually work within some kind of constraints or some kind of set area of color. For example, a web designer may want to choose colors that are always going to be web safe. So they want to choose colors from within that palette of 216 web safe colors. If you're an apparel designer, you may have to choose colors that have already been approved by your company, or that have been chosen by the fashion designers in Paris of that year.
If you work at a corporation, you may have a set palette of colors that have been approved by your corporation. So, more often than not as designers, we can't just choose colors from anywhere; what would be really great is if the Color Guide can actually provide colors to us from a list of approved colors. If I am working in a spot color job and I know that I want to work with the Pantone color, it would really be nice if the Color Guide would suggest Pantone colors that I might want to work with. So I find that many designers at first glance of the Color Guide panel quickly dismiss it, because it's offering colors that they know that they can't use.
However, I want to let you on a little bit of a secret here. In fact, what I'm about to show you is probably the most important thing to know about how color works inside of Illustrator in this new realm of these automated tools. Yes, I know that I can create these groups of colors which help me describes Illustrator how I want to use these colors, but what I can also do is I can set limits inside of Illustrator to force Illustrator to work within a very specific range of color. The way that you do that is by focusing on this little icon here that appears at the bottom left-hand corner of the Color Guide panel.
This button here allows you to limit the color group to colors within a certain swatch library. In other words, limiting the Color Guide panel allows you to control the colors that it can use. Now if I click on this button, it looks quite familiar. I see things, for example, like my Color Book libraries. If I scroll down here to the bottom, I've actually defined my own HANSEL_CORPORATE Library colors. So, these are simply libraries of colors that I was seeing when I actually went to the Swatches panel here at the bottom and pull down my own custom palettes from here.
The difference is that within the Color Guide by choosing a panel here or by choosing to actually load a swatch library, I am a feeding the Color Guide those specific colors that already exist in that library, and by doing so, I am limiting the Color Guide to only choose colors that are already within that library of color. The reason why I say this is so important is because as we're going to find out, as we continue to go through this course, this particular setting is available on other areas inside of Illustrator as well.
And it gives us tremendous amount of power to have Illustrator assist us in working with color so that Illustrator already knows which colors I am approved to use. Let's see how that works here inside the Color Guide. I'm actually going to start by changing my Harmony to a basic one like Complementary. Now I'm just going to have two colors to work with plus variations of those two colors. Next, I'll come down to this icon here, and I'll click on it and let's start with something basic. For example, let's say I'm a web designer and I want to work within Web safe colors.
I'm going to scroll down this list here to the bottom, and I've here my Web swatch library and when I choose that, notice that the word Web appears right here. This means that right now the Color Guide panel is limited in only being able to choose colors that already exist inside of the Web Safe color palette. So now when I choose on different colors, even if these colors are not necessarily Web safe colors, the colors that I see appearing now inside the Color Guide are all Web safe colors because I've limited the Color Guide to work within that palette, so those are the only colors that can be suggested to me.
Another way to think about this is that if I click, for example, on yellow right over here, you may not have completely understood why I see my base color here, but I also see my base color right here as well. The answer is that, this is my base color, meaning the color that I've chosen in my Swatches panel, but the color that I see right here is its closest match based on the colors that now exist inside of my Color Guide. To better understand that concept, let's limit the Color Guide to a different palette of color. I'm going to go to this button right over here, and now let's go to Color Books and choose PANTONE solid coated.
What I'm doing now is I'm actually feeding the entire library of PANTONE solid coated colors into the Color Guide; meaning that now the Color Guide is only allowed to suggest colors that are within this library of color. So I'll click on this option right here and notice now that as I choose a color, for example, this is my base color, but this right now is the closest match to my base color that falls within the colors that the Color Guide is allowed to use, which in this case, are PANTONE colors.
So if I've ever wanted to identify a closest match to the color that I'm working within my document, this is a great way to do it. First, limit my Color Guide to a specific library of color and then click on a color and I will see that the first color that appears is my color's closest match in that library. I can now take this color, remember the first color that appears here is the first color that appears directly here underneath this arrow in the center and I can take that swatch and drag it into my Swatches panel, and now Pantone 362 is the closest match to this swatch right here.
You'll also notice that every color that's being suggested by the Color Guide are all Pantone spot colors. That's because I've limited the Color Guide to work within that range of color. Let's go a step further now. We've already defined our own custom library earlier on inside of this video title. So if I click on this button right over here and I scroll down to the bottom, where I've User Defined libraries, I can load my Hansel & Petal corporate colors directly into the Color Guide. Now whenever I click on any color here, the only colors that are being suggested are colors that exist inside the Hansel & Petal corporate library.
Now the Color Guide suddenly makes a lot of sense to me as a designer. It's not just recommending any arbitrary color from the entire visible color spectrum; no, not at all. What I've done now is I've limited the Color Guide to now only use colors that I'm approved to use. So if I am a fashion designer, I may load, for example, my Spring 2013 library into the Color Guide. Now when I choose any color, the nearest match and any other colors that work well with that color will now appear inside of the Color Guide, and any color that it suggests are actually colors that I'm approved to use.
So we can readily see how powerful this one little button can be inside of Color Guide. In fact, it suddenly makes Color Guide relevant not just to certain types of designers, but to any kind of designer out there that has to use anything within the world of color, because you can now control it to work within your world of color. As I said before, this little feature is available in other areas of Illustrator as well. As we continue to learn more about how color works inside of Illustrator, we'll find that not only will Illustrator make life easy for us by making automatic changes for us in the area of color, by forcing it to work within a realm of color that we are approved to use, that feature will become even more important to us.
Now point out one really important thing to note about this specific feature. Notice that when I go to the Swatches panel, I can click on this button and I can choose to load some of the color palettes that come with Illustrator, or I can actually choose my own in this User Defined area, but if I have another palette that exists somewhere on my hard drive or on a server somewhere, I can choose Other Library and navigate to that file, and load those colors into Illustrator. However, when dealing with the Color Guide, I can click on this button, I can scroll down to the bottom here where it says, User Defined, but I have no way to choose Other Library, meaning, if there's a library of color that exists on a server somewhere, I have no way to actually load that library of color into the Color Guide.
The only way for me to do so is to actually keep it stored inside of the same folder where this HANSEL_CORPORATE Library is. So you may want to go back to Chapter 3, Color Organization and revisit the movie called, Creating and managing your own color libraries to learn more about making sure that your libraries are inside of the right folder. If they are, you'll be able to load them into the Color Guide. There is one other way around that; meaning if you have some kind of a custom library, but that file itself is not located inside of your user folder, so that it shows up into this area or this folder called User Defined, what you can do is you can simply go to the Swatches panel, choose Other Library and load that library into Illustrator and then manually drag all those colors into your Swatches panel.
You probably would want to delete all of your existing colors first. But now since all of your colors live inside of your Swatches panel what you could do is go to this little button here and choose to limit the Color Guide to only work within colors that are found inside of the swatches that exist in this document. By choosing this option, you are limiting the Color Guide to only work with colors that are available inside of the documents of Swatches panel. So keeping that in mind, you may want to revisit and go back and actually create custom libraries for the colors that you might want to use.
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