Join Mordy Golding for an in-depth discussion in this video Applying color to artwork, part of Illustrator CS5 Essential Training.
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The two most common types of attributes that you apply to an object inside of Illustrator are things called Fills and Strokes. Using these Fills and Strokes, we can begin to apply color to our artwork. Now, as you can see here inside of the Swatches panel, there are plenty of swatches that come with Illustrator that are here when you start creating a new document. However, there are two things that you need to do first before you can apply a color to Illustrator. First of all, you need to make a selection. Right now, I don't have any artwork selected, so clicking a color won't do me any good.
Second of all, I need to tell Illustrator whether or not I want that color to be applied to the Fill or the Stroke of my object. Let's take a look at the Tools panel down over here. Right here at the bottom part of it is something which we call the Fill and Stroke Indicator. This big square here refers to the Fill, while this other square here, which looks like kind of a box with a box inside of it, is the Stroke Indicator. At anytime, I could look at this Indicator here to know what my current Fill and Stroke settings are.
In other words, right now, if I were to start drawing a new object, that new object would take on an attribute of a Fill of none and a Stroke of black. This Fill and Stroke Indicator can also be seen here inside of the Color panel. The way that it works is if I want to now apply a color to the Fill of an object, I would click on the Fill Indicator to make sure it's currently in the front. That means that right now the Fill is targeted. If I now choose a color, that color would be applied to the Fill.
However, if I click on the Stroke Indicator, notice that right now the Stroke Indicator comes to the front, letting me know that right now it's active, or it's in focus. With the Stroke Indicator in focus, whenever I choose a color, that color gets applied to the Stroke. It's best to memorize the keyboard shortcut X on your keyboard, which when you hit it, toggles the focus between the Fill and the Stroke. Notice that each time I hit the X key on my keyboard, I'm now bringing the Fill into focus.
Tapping it again brings the Stroke into focus. Well, for now, I'm going to make sure that I hit the X key to bring the Fill into focus. Next, I'm going to click on this middle flower here to select it. Note that since the object right now is filled with none, I can't click on the inner part of the region here, because there's no Fill selected. So I need to click on the path, in this case, in order to select the object. If I wanted to fill it with a color, say a light blue, for example, I can come here to the Swatches panel and click on this swatch right here to fill it with that color.
If I wanted to change the Stroke Color to be something like red, for example, I would hit the X key on my keyboard to bring the Stroke now into focus. And now I would choose the red swatch. So now, I've been able to apply a red stroke and a blue fill to my artwork. As a little tip, I always make sure that I keep the Fill in focus, because nine times out of ten, I'm applying a different color to my Fill of an object. I don't change the color of Strokes nearly as frequently as I do Fills.
So it just saves me a few steps from doing it later. Another keyboard shortcut to memorize is the D key. So right now this middle flower is selected. If I press D on my keyboard, it will reset this object back to its default settings, which is a white Fill and a black 1-point Stroke. Now, there are two other really convenient ways to apply colors to objects inside of Illustrator. If I go ahead now and I select this flower right here, I can go directly here to the Control panel at the top of my screen.
And I see two indicators here. The one on the left refers to the Fill, the one on the right refers to the Stroke. What's really great about these two indicators is that I don't need to worry about my Fill or Stroke being in focus. Because there are separate indicators for each one, I can apply a Fill and a Stroke color independently at any time. Let me demonstrate what I mean. You can see that right now, the Fill is currently in focus. But if I wanted to change the Stroke of the color right now of this object to be red, I can click on the Stroke Indicator right here and choose red.
Even though my Fill is still in focus, I was able to successfully change the black here to red. I was able to do that because this indicator refers specifically only to the Stroke. If I want to change now the Fill to blue, I can click on the Fill Indicator right here, click on the blue button, and now I've been able to apply that change. One thing to note about these two indicators right here is that if I just click right now, it brings up the Swatches panel. Notice over here it appears the same as it does over here.
But if I also click and I hold down the Shift key while doing so, it brings up the Color panel, which is similar to what I see right here. In other words, if you really want to save space, you don't necessarily need to have these panels open all the time. They're always immediately available directly here from the Control panel. Another place to get these two indicators is through the Appearance panel. So I have the Appearance panel here. I'm just going to click and drag it out on the top of the screen, so it's easier to see. Where it says Stroke and Fill, notice there is a little square that indicates what the colors are for those attributes.
But I can also click on them to turn them into a widget, which I can click on to bring up either the Swatches panel, or Shift+Click on it to bring up the Color panel. So, now we know how to apply color to objects inside of Illustrator. We apply colors not really to the objects, but to the Fills and Strokes of those objects. Now, until now, we've been applying colors to objects, and those colors already existed inside of Illustrator. What about if you want to create your own colors? Well, we're going to cover that in the next movie.
- Setting up a new document based on the output destination
- Using rules, guides, and grids
- Making detailed selections
- Drawing and editing paths with the Pen and Pencil tools
- Creating compound vector shapes
- Understanding the difference between point and area text
- Applying live effects
- Creating color swatches
- Transforming artwork with Rotation, Scale, and Transform effects
- Placing images
- Working with masks
- Printing, saving, and exporting artwork