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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.
At this point you should be familiar already with what you can do with the Recolor Artwork dialog box. However, what I want to do now is kind of bring everything that we've learned up until this point, altogether. Let's bring things full circle and really understand the benefits now of everything that we've done. For example, we spoke about how important it is to organize your colors into color groups. If we take a look at this document here, it's called artwork.ai, I have my Swatches panel open, and you can see that I already have several different color groups that exist inside of this document.
Some of them have just regular plain process colors inside of them and some of them actually have some pantone colors or spark colors. Now I have some artwork on my page and I want to able to make some changes to that artwork. And I want to show you now how easy it is to combine this concept of working with groups and this concept of recoloring artwork. Until this point we have been recoloring things one color at a time. We have either been swapping out one color for another, or we have been reducing colors by taking maybe five or even ten colors and turning them into one new color.
However, one of the real benefits of working with Illustrator is your ability to actually change multiple colors all at the same time. The only way to do that is through the use of groups, as we have set up here inside of this document. So let me give you an example. I am going to zoom-in, and adjust this rectangle over here, which is filled with a pattern. We'll move it over here to the side of my document and click on it right now is select it and if I choose to recolor artwork right now, by clicking on the color chip wheel, I'll bring up the Recolor Artwork dialog box and I'll see that on the right side of this dialog, I now have a list of all of the groups that appear inside of my Swatches panel.
We really haven't focused too much on this area here yet in the training, but in this video we are going to see its full value. You see, this really isn't so much as just simply a list of my color groups; it's a way for me to automatically tell Illustrator to take all of the colors that appear within a certain group and instantly recolor my existing artwork with all those colors. So again, let's review what we have here. I have my Current Colors in my document, and I have what colors those are now going to become. And remember that by default, Illustrator always remaps each color back to itself, because it doesn't know yet what colors I want to change it to.
I also know that I can double-click on this New icon here to change the color for just that one color row. However, watch what happens here. I am going to go over here to where it says Color Groups, and I will come down to over here where it says Watermelon, and I'll click on it. Take a look at what just happened. Illustrator took the four colors that appear inside of this Watermelon group, and put those colors all at the same time into the New color section. That instantly recolored my pattern to now use the colors found inside the Watermelon color group, instead of the colors that already exist in that piece of artwork.
So what I have just did now is with one click, I haven't changed one color, I actually changed four colors all at once. Let me give you another example. If I click on the Lollipop 1 group right now, notice that the artwork is now going to update and change, because Illustrator took the four colors inside of this color group and put them over here for the new colors. So now, Illustrator is taking my existing colors and remapping them to the colors that belong to this group. Now if you are familiar with the concept of color ways, which is the way that many apparel designers work, you may have a print that uses four different colors inside of it, meaning, you may have a single color way with multiple colors in it and I now have the ability to switch between one color way and another color way, even though there are many colors inside of that color way.
So I could think of one group or one color way, as one item, even though there are many, many different colors inside of it. What happens though, in the case where I currently have four colors here? There are really five colors in this pattern but that's because it's, including white and right now white is protected. So I'm really dealing here with four colors. So I was working with Watermelon or Lollipop 1, which each have four colors inside of it. But let's say I want to recolor my artwork using Lollipop 2. Well, Lollipop 2 only has three colors inside of it, so what's going to happen with that fourth color.
The answer is that Illustrator is going to automatically reduce the number of colors in my artwork to match the number of colors inside of my color group. So when I click on Lollipop 2, Illustrator is going to automatically combine two colors into one new color, so that now I am actually changing my artwork not only to a new color way or a new color group, but also reducing the colors automatically to fit to that color group. Now if I click back on Watermelon, Illustrator will return this back to four colors again, but as I click on each of these color groups, Illustrator will automatically make the adjustments for me.
Way back in this training when we first spoke about things like color groups, I discussed how useful it would be to even create color groups that contain a single color inside of it. Notice over here I have two color groups, one called Red 032, and one called Violet. Well, these color groups only contain a single color inside of that. So what's the use of putting them into a group? The answer is that because they are in a group, they appear in this list over here and if I actually want to turn this pattern to be just a one colored job, I can actually just click on this group and now my pattern is simply going to be a one color pattern.
Notice over here that all four colors that are currently using that pattern, are now going to be reduced to one pantone color. Because my colorization method is set to Scale Tints, I am seeing different shades of that one pantone color, but of course, I could also choose to go to Exact, and now I get one solid color. Let me click Cancel here, and let's take a look at another example. I am going to come over to this piece of artwork here where we are using this for packaging. It currently has several different colors inside of it. I am just going to zoom-out just a bit here and move it over to this side and I will select it, and I'll choose to open up the Recolor Artwork dialog box.
Now in this example, if I scroll down here to the bottom, I will see that blacks and grays and white are not protected. Well, I can choose over here to click on this, and choose to protect blacks and grays as well. And now when I click on any of these, for example, Red 032, I am now reducing this to, well, effectively be a two color job. It would have blacks and shades of grays and they will also now have red. I may decide I wanted to be completely just a two color job with two pantone colors. In that case, I could go back to this setting here and choose not to preserve anything, except for white.
Now I click OK and I choose, for example, 2 Color I've now recolored this artwork using two spark colors. And of course, I have the ability to swap the order of those colors at any time by just moving these colors up and down. Now I am going to click Cancel here one more time and I want to give you one other example of how useful this can be. Let's kind of move over here to this example, let me zoom out just a bit, and I will select this card over here, and I'll open up the Recolor Artwork dialog box. In this case here, I want to make sure that I'm only preserving white.
Now when I click OK, I can convert this to a one color job with one click of the mouse, but I can also use this as a way to experiment or try to become inspired by trying out different color combinations. So, for example, I am going to choose Watermelon here. Now by default, Illustrator applies the colors in the order in which they appear inside of the Color Group. However, once I have applied the Color Group here, I can come down to the Randomize button and basically randomize the order in which those colors appear in my design.
For example, I really may like this look right here. This is also one of the reasons why we have some buttons at the top over here, because I have the ability to take my existing colors right now that I'm seeing on my screen and create a new Color Group based on that. It's the same colors that are actually available inside of the Watermelon Color Group, but they just appear in a different order. Likewise, I can also choose Delete any Color Groups here as well by clicking on this icon. So just by loading a whole bunch of Color Groups into my document, I can open up Recolor Artwork and start to just clicking through some of these files, trying to get some inspiration; that looks pretty nice.
May be try a few variations of that; see what that looks like, and if I like what I'm seeing, I can simply click OK, or I can create a new Color Group and continue trying additional variations of colors. So if the concept of Color Groups was not really that interesting to you before, I think at this point you really see the value of what they add to working inside of Illustrator.
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