Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
When using the Recolor Artwork feature inside of Illustrator to modify the colors in your document there are whole bunch of these little different buttons that exist in that dialog box and sometimes a little button can make a whole big of a difference with what your output is going to be. So with that in mind, I want to show you some of the hidden features that you might find in a Recolor Artwork dialog box. Now, I have this document here called floral_design_3 and if you look at my Swatches panel, you will see that I have a group here that I have created has one Pantone color inside of it, its Pantone Purple C and my goal here is going to be to actually convert this entire document with all of its colors to print as a one color job on that purple spot color.
So, I'll close the Swatches panel, I'll hit Command+A or Ctrl+A on Windows to actually select all my artwork and I'll click on the Recolor Artwork button to open up the Recolor Artwork dialog box. Now, there is a button here that right now is called Color Reduction Options, now I obviously want to take all of these seven colors and reduce them to only use the one Pantone color. So before we actually perform the reduction, I'm going to go over here and click on this button to open up this Recolor Options dialog box. Now, there are some Presets here Color library, 1 color job, 2 color job, if I were you I would just ignore those particular settings because we want to define exactly what a 1 color or 2 color job means by some of the settings that we are going to discuss right now. For example, if I want a one-color job, I can just go over here and choose, just type in 1 value for that particular color. This value right here by the way, it's the same as this value that exists over here. But when we think about the colors here and the number that we actually choose, we also have to pay attention to this area here called Preserve.
Now, the default setting in Illustrator is actually to Preserve both Black and also White. So if I move this even further over here to the left, you can see exactly what's happening here. Both Black and White will remain existing in my document and they won't change at all. There are no arrows here. Since that's a default setting by choosing one color over here, I'm really still ending up with a two-color job because black still exists in my document. In fact if you were printing to workflows that also print white as a color, for example, maybe packaging or screen printing. I would really be ending up here with the three-color job; I have these colors plus white and black.
Now, most likely I want my white to be protected. If there are areas that are knocking out, I want those areas to remain knocked out. So when I'm thinking about reducing the number of my colors in a document to just be one color, I'll probably want to come here and uncheck the Preserve Black option. So as such you can now see that all my colors are now being reduced to a single color. Now, in this process when Illustrator is defining what that new color will be, I have the ability to limit that color to a particular library. Now in this case, I'm reducing all my colors to one color which I'm going specify so I don't need this option, but there may be times when I have, let's say, 300 colors in my document then I'll reduce them to 20 colors that all are within a certain particular library. This particular feature could come in handy. But I'll go ahead and I'll leave this set to None right now. And again if I was working with more than just one color, this setting might also come into play, the Sort option. By default Illustrator uses something called Hue - forward.
As we know when Illustrator assigns new colors to a document it doesn't really look at the colors themselves and tries to match with the best fit. It simply takes all the colors that exist inside of your group or the colors that you are using as replacement and puts that in order of their Hue, either forward or backward or you could also sort them by Lightness, either dark to light or light to dark. But again in this case here we only have one color that we are dealing with one Pantone color, so we don't have to worry about sorting colors. It's just one color. But by far one of the most important settings in this particular area right here is something called the Colorize Method and as we see here, we have different options, we have Exact, Preserve Tints, Scale Tints, Tints and Shades and Hue Shift. The default setting for Illustrator is Scale Tints. We are actually going to see what this setting does when I get here inside of the dialog box because I'll show that I can access this from a different area.
So really I usually come to this particularly dialog box for only one reason and that's to choose which colors I want to preserve. Again in this case here I want to make sure that I'm only preserving white but not black or grays, I'll click OK. And now you can see that all of my colors have now been remapped to a single color. Because I haven't specified a new color yet Illustrator just choose one of the colors that already existed in my document. But I can easily change that just by coming over here and clicking on this group. Again, this is one of the benefits of creating groups of color. Instead of me having to double click on this icon and then basically dive deeper and deeper into other dialog boxes, one click of a button will automatically remap all my colors to that color that exists in that group.
Again, I can see the exact Pantone number by clicking on this particular triangle to reveal the colors that appear inside that group. In fact because these settings here are sticky, meaning that, this value over here where the black colors are now not preserved, I don't even need to go that far at all. I'm going to click Cancel and start over again. I'm not going to simply choose with all my artwork selected to recolor my artwork and with one click of a button here, it automatically remaps all of my colors to that one color. So I don't need to go here, I don't need to specify the number of colors, one click because my group is already set, my group has one color. I'm basically telling Illustrator take my group right over here which only has one color and remap all colors including black to that one color.
However, you will notice that in the process, Illustrator took all the objects that existed in my file which were colored different color before and converted them to be different shades of that Pantone color. Notice that these are different lighter tints of that same Pantone Purple and even the gradient itself goes from a dark version of that purple to a lighter version of it. Again, if I would have remapped all those colors manually to a single Pantone color they would all be solid purple. So, what really makes the Recolor Artwork feature work is something called the colorization method. Now, we saw that here in this particular dialog box right over here the Colorize Method. I'm going to click on the Cancel button; I want to show you another place to access that. If I come to the far right side of the color row, a little icon appears, if I click on that a little pop-up shows that I now have five different Colorize Methods to choose from. Something called Exact, Preserve Tints, Scale Tints, Tints and Shades and Hue Shift.
Now, just to the left over here I actually see a preview of what that's going to mean. For example, if I choose the Exact option, right now Illustrator is going to convert all of these colors exactly to solid purple. So if now go ahead and accept that you can see what the difference is now inside of my document, doesn't look that great. But there may be times when you want to turn a whole bunch of different colors into one new solid color. In such cases, the Exact color method might be the right choice. But I'm going to go back up here to the Colorize Method and choose the Scale Tints option, which happens to be the default setting inside of Illustrator.
That's what makes this feature sing each time that you use it. Now, as far as some of the other options here, Preserve Tints will basically take objects that currently have a tint value inside of them and preserve those tint values. The final two options here Tints and Shades and Hue Shift are not available when I want to preserve to spot colors, but if I uncheck that option, I could choose to go through a Hue Shift or basically adjust the tints and shades at the same time in my document making certain things darker and certain things lighter. I can also choose to apply these to all color rows or just to the color row that I'm working in. Let me turn this setting back on again and I'll accept that value.
So when you are working inside of Illustrator and you want to work with Recolor Artwork, by default the Scale Tints option is selected and that allows you to automatically see various different versions of tints of your artwork when you recolor them. However, depending on the needs for each particular project you may want to adjust those colorization methods as needed.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
117 Video lessons · 42162 Viewers
119 Video lessons · 53656 Viewers
65 Video lessons · 14072 Viewers
113 Video lessons · 82712 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.