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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.
In the previous movie, we spoke about using the Color panel to create colors. Now I also shared with you that I really don't like to use the Color panel to create my colors, I prefer to use the Swatches panel so that I can actually create the swatches that are like saved colors. So let me take a moment to explain why I do that. Inside of Illustrator, if I wanted, for example, work with this document here and I wanted to add some color, so maybe I'll take let's say the inside part of this little flower here, this little circle here; I want to fill that with a color I'm not really sure yet which color, so I click to let's say on the slider over here, this little spectrum that I had down here, and maybe I'll choose let's say this color right here.
It happens to be that it has a value of 60% Cyan and 100% Yellow. So it looks really nice, I can now click on let's say this shape right over here, but notice that right now, I don't actually have that color here anymore. The reason why is because the Color panel will always show me or display the color that I currently have selected on my artboard. Right now, the fill for this object is white. So as soon as I click on any other object, Illustrator changes the focus of that fill here in the COLOR panel to represent the object that's currently selected.
So if I wanted to apply this same color to these other areas also, I don't have an easy way to do that. What I can do is employ the Eyedropper tool, so right now, with this shape selected; I can choose the Eyedropper tool. And the way the Eyedropper tool works is that I can actually sample or point to another shape and because this shape is currently selected, by clicking on this shape, I'm telling Illustrator take the attributes whenever I click over here and apply it to my selections. So right now I want this shape to be filled with this color, so now that gets filled green. Then I can hold down my Command key, which returns me to the last used Selection tool inside of Illustrator.
I'm going to click on this shape here and then eye-drop on that one. And I can do the same thing for these also, let's say this one, and then click on the Eyedropper tool here as well. Great! So I now have applied the color to these shapes, so let's deselect them. The problem though is that right now if I go ahead now and I click on another shape, let's say something else for that matter, these colors right now don't really exist in any way inside of my Swatches panel, so I have no easy way to reference them. Many times when you're mixing colors, I may let, for example, click on one of these, and I may come kind of just make an adjustment here, maybe you change it like 55% Cyan.
Just on this one; my eye can't really pick up any visual difference between this object and this object that appears as if they had the same color, but they really don't. This one has a value of 55% Cyan and this one is a value of 60% Cyan. If I were a person who is now responsible for taking a look at this file right now and making sure that I printed correctly and the color was fine, I would actually now have inconsistent color. I'd have some objects that really are supposed to be filled with the same color, but they had different values inside of them. More importantly, if I want to perform tasks, like, for example, I want to change all of my colors, there's a command inside of Illustrator that's called Select same Fill Color.
So I can click this object, for example, to select it, and then go over here to this little Arrow, this icon here in my Control panel, and I could say, Select same Fill Color. And when I do that, notice that this object, this object, this one, and this one all become selected, but this one here in the middle is not selected. I may wonder why; the answer is, because some of the values are different, it's not the exact same fill color. In other words, I happen to have right now inside my documents these colors that exist, but I have no easy way to reference that color. More importantly, I have no way to manage that color as well.
In fact, I like to refer to these colors as Phantom colors, meaning they don't really exist anywhere inside of your file, they happen to be applied to artwork. But you have no way to track or control those colors through the SWATCHES panel or really through any other means inside of Illustrator. So while the COLOR panel maybe a really easy way for you to actually define some color and get it on to your artboard very quickly, but you don't really have any way to control that color afterwards. Now what we're going to learn throughout this entire title is that we do have ways to work with these phantom colors.
In fact, that's one of the most beautiful things about working with this new color engine that Adobe added in CS3. However, I do think it's a bad habit to continuously work with adding this phantom colors inside of Illustrator, because you may run yourself into problems little bit later on. Let's take a step back for a moment here and kind of understand why are there these phantom colors inside of Illustrator at all? Why does Illustrator allow us to create these phantom colors that can eventually cause problems later on in our workflow? The answer is, when you're working inside of Illustrator and you're experimenting with color, you're choosing which colors I want to use, there really is nothing that's better than working with the COLOR panel.
It allows you to quickly just adjust sliders and kind of dream up colors as you're working. It's a very easy way for you as you're working to quickly generate or experiment with color. However, once you know the color that you want to use, it's obviously going to be better to create and define a swatch for that color. So if you want to take this overall approach to color workflow inside of Illustrator, it's okay to generate these phantom colors as you're experimenting. But once you actually start to apply those colors in a meaningful way to artwork, that's the time to actually take these phantom colors and convert them into swatches.
In fact, for the remainder of this chapter, we're going to focus specifically on how to define swatches and understand the different kinds of swatches that Illustrator offers.
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