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Using the Assign tab to replace colors

From: Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics

Video: Using the Assign tab to replace colors

Without a doubt, one of the most powerful aspects of the Recolor Artwork feature inside of Illustrator is its ability to make precise color replacement. This function is actually done through the Assign tab found in the Recolor Artwork dialog box. But before I open that dialog box, I'm first going to add a color or two to our Swatches panel, and again it's important to realize that when you are working with Recolor Artwork, it's always best to prepare your colors that you want to use in advance. Once you're actually inside of the Recolor Artwork dialog box, it's too late to start messing around and trying to find and create your color. So one of the exercises that I want to explore in this particular movie is converting this beautiful full color artwork into like a one color or a two color spot color job, so maybe only using two different Pantone colors.

Using the Assign tab to replace colors

Without a doubt, one of the most powerful aspects of the Recolor Artwork feature inside of Illustrator is its ability to make precise color replacement. This function is actually done through the Assign tab found in the Recolor Artwork dialog box. But before I open that dialog box, I'm first going to add a color or two to our Swatches panel, and again it's important to realize that when you are working with Recolor Artwork, it's always best to prepare your colors that you want to use in advance. Once you're actually inside of the Recolor Artwork dialog box, it's too late to start messing around and trying to find and create your color. So one of the exercises that I want to explore in this particular movie is converting this beautiful full color artwork into like a one color or a two color spot color job, so maybe only using two different Pantone colors.

So I'll go to my Swatches panel, and I'll click on this button over here called Swatch Libraries menu. I'll go to Color Books, Pantone Solid Coated, and let's just add a few colors arbitrarily. I know I'm just going to take some regular plain colors here. Let's do Reflex Blue, and let's choose like a Red color here as my Pantone Red 032. So we have those two colors. Right now, I'm going to close this panel and one important thing that I'm going to point out here is that, I did not put these into a color group, I left these basically floating free inside of the Swatches panel and as we see we'll work now inside of the Recolor Artwork dialog box.

I'll see why generally it's best to put this into a group. But I just want to be able to contrast and show you what difference is between colors that live in groups and colors that do not. Now I'm going to hit Command+A or Ctrl+ A to actually select all the objects in this particular document that's called floral_design_2. And I want to change all its colors. I want to convert them by either using one or two different spot colors to explore each of those specific options. So with my artwork selected, I'm going to go over here to the Recolor Artwork button and I'll now open up the Recolor Artwork dialog box, and right away Illustrator brings me here to the Assign tab. I'll move it here just to the right side over here, so that we can see on the left side all the artwork that we are looking at.

Now the first thing to notice, remember that we created those new two Pantone colors, but they were not added to any group. As far as ease of accessibility goes, I really can't see those Pantone colors at all unless they were inside of a group. So in order to find those Pantone colors, we just have to go digging a little bit deeper, but we'll get to that in a moment. The first thing to notice that right now inside of our documents we currently have seven colors, and Illustrator provides each of those colors here in a list. Well, these are each of the colors that appear in the document, each of these areas here. For example, these distinct rows that exist here are referred to as color rows. In fact, what these color rows will actually represent is a formula.

Illustrator is letting me know that right now this color exists in my document. The arrow that appears here means that that color will change, and then the color here is kind of the end of equation. That color will change into this new color. So as we can see here we have Current Colors and then we have New Colors. And again, each row basically tells me that this color here will change into this color. Now by default, the first time that I launch the dialog box and I move to the Assign tab here, Illustrator automatically remaps each color to itself. So in that way, no color changes here in my artboard. But you can actually drag these colors around. For example, say I wanted all objects that were currently filled with this yellow color, we fill with this purple color. Well, I can click on this color right here and drag it up over here, and now what I specify is that all objects that had this color, now get changed into this color.

Now remember there is no Undo here inside of the Recolor Artwork dialog box. I'm just going to click on this button right over here to basically re-bring the colors back inside of the dialog again. So as I discussed in the beginning, my goal here is to actually turn all these particular colors in this document to just one color. I want, let's say, to create just a one-color job. Maybe we'll use that Pantone Reflex Blue. Now obviously, if I simply just choose Pantone Reflex Blue for all this artwork, I'm just going to get one solid block of blue. Instead what I would like to do is I would like to have Illustrator look at each of these objects and convert them to different values or tints of that Pantone color.

So what I can do is come over here where it says Colors, and right now it's set to Auto. That means that Illustrator is automatically giving us the exact number of colors that appear inside of our document. But I'm going to change that to one. In doing so, you could see that Illustrator collapsed and took all the colors of my document. Right now there are seven colors, I see a black and white and then I see the other five colors here, and Illustrator now is converting all of these colors to one new color. Now, if I want that one new color to be the Pantone Reflex Blue, I'll double-click on this icon to bring up the Color Picker. Then again I'll click on Color Swatches, as I want to see all the swatches in my document. I'll move this particular arrow up towards the top over here, where I have my Pantone Reflex Blue. I'll click OK, and now I've successfully told Illustrator to remap all my color to Reflex Blue.

However, you may note before that it says over here Current Colors (7), but I now only see five colors here, and then I see black and white here. In fact, this really won't separate as a true one-color job. That's because I now have black ink here. So the reason why this happens is because, by default, Illustrator has the ability to protect certain colors. The default setting inside of Illustrator is to always protect black and white. That's because usually you want those colors to stay. For example, let's see you have lots of text in your file, and that text is all colored black. When you want to go ahead and change colors you may want to leave that text to be Black, or if you have illustrations that use ink lines or outlines and those are colored black, you may want to leave those inking lines black, while changing all the colors inside of them. But we can actually change that by just turning on the arrow for that color.

Now see where it says two colors, I'm actually going to change that now back to one, and I'll see that the black was now incorporated in that and now the job is completely remapped to a new color. I'm going to reload the original colors again because I want to show you now an alternative method of doing that. In fact, let's say right now I want to reduce my document to only use two spot colors. So the first task that I'm going to have is first identifying where those particular colors exist in my document. Now this is a fairly simple document, but you may have a document that may have lots of different colors inside of it. So to easily identify where a color is used in your document, you can use this icon here on the bottom, this magnifying glass, which allows you to identify where a color is used. For example, I'm just going to click on this color right over here. Notice that right now it's highlighted, it has a gray background.

I'm going to click on this magnifying glass, and you'll see that right now Illustrator grays out everything except for that color background. This magnifying glass is really kind of like a toggle. So once I turn it on, it stays on until I turn it off. But I can now click on other colors to see where those colors exist. Each time I click on a color row it identifies where those colors are inside of the artwork. Now I'll click on the magnifying glass again to turn that off. And now let's say I want to leave the particular background the same, but I want to change all the colors of the flowers to something else. So rather than specify a value here in the Color field, I can simply go over here and click-and-drag to combine these colors manually. For example, I'll click on this color here and bring this one up. I'm now telling Illustrator, "take these three colors in my document and convert them to one new color." Now I want this color to be on its own. So I'm now going to take this color and bring that into this one as well. I'll even bring the black into this one as well.

So now I'm obviously working with one set of colors here and one set of colors here. Now here is one of the reasons why working with groups is so important inside of Illustrator. If I want to now specify those Pantone Colors as well, I'm going to actually double-click on this one, click on Color Swatches, go up to the list, choose let's say the Reflex Blue for this one, then double-click on this one right here, again click on Color Swatches, roll up again, click on the Red 032 and now apply that one. And now it has basically applied my blue and my red colors to my document. However, it would have been much easier if I would have created a color group inside of Illustrator that just contained those two colors inside of it.

Because then I can simply just click once on that group and it would automatically map those two colors to the objects. In fact, to show you what I mean, I'm actually going to click on this button over here to reload the colors again. I'm now working with seven colors. Let's say I want to remap them to a different color group. For example, this Poppy group, this Poppy group only has four colors. So by clicking once over here, Illustrator will automatically find colors and kind of combine them together and allow me to reduce my document to only use the colors found in this particular color group. So it just saves a lot of manual work and a lot of extra clicking when you use color groups in Illustrator.

Now, in reality, you can see how Illustrator remapped all these colors here. It probably would have made a lot more sense to remap this color to this color right here. Now Illustrator unfortunately has no way to analyze the colors in that kind of way. So there is the button here on the bottom that allows you to randomly change the color order. In doing so, you can start to experiment with different ways of how those colors get replaced throughout your document. So at the end of the day, the Recolor Artwork dialog box, specifically here in the Assign tab really allows you to be very precise about how you want to swap or change your colors, once you understand what these icons represents. In other words, these are the colors that currently exist in your document, this is indicating that those colors will actually change and this indicates the color that those colors will change into.

So gone are the days of digging into your document to try and select different objects, ingredients and patterns, the Recolor Artwork dialog box does all that for you in just a few simple clicks.

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This video is part of

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

137 video lessons · 29038 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  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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