Join Justin Seeley for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating custom swatches, part of Illustrator for Web Design (2012).
As you continue to work with clients in your web design business, chances are they are going to be throwing assets at you left and right, especially when it comes to color. Inevitably, you will get something sent to you by a client that was clipped out of a magazine or scanned into their computer, or even like me, someone once sent me the patch off of a hat that I had to sample colors from in order to create a logo. It was crazy. So as you start to get these assets into Illustrator, we need to learn how to sample those colors, and turn them into usable swatches which we can then share with other designers and other applications to use a consistent color palette across the board.
In this movie, I'll be exploring how to create those custom swatches and also how to save them out as an .ase file, or Adobe Swatch Exchange file, for use in other applications. So I've got this file open here, and let's say that this color strip was sent to me by a client. They copied it out of the magazine. They just put some things on paper, scanned it in, and sent it to me. So here it is! And so what I need to do is get these swatches into my Swatches panel and then I need to be able to save those out in order to use them in other applications and share them with other people in my workgroup. So the first thing I'm going to do is start sampling the colors with the Eyedropper tool.
So I'm just going to hit the letter I on my keyboard, and that's instantly going to give me the Eyedropper tool. Then I'm simply going to move right here and click, and that's going to automatically set my fill color to the color that I click on. So, once I have that done, I can come over here into my Swatches panel--and I'll actually drag it out so you can see it--and I'm going to click on the New Swatch icon, just like so. And once I do that, I'm just going to name this Client Dark Purple. Hit OK. There it saves it right there. If I hover over that color, it says Client Dark Purple.
Sample this, create a new swatch, Client Blue Green. Hit OK. It adds that in. I always hover over these, just to make sure that it's getting them correct. Sample the next, Client Light Yellow, hit OK; sample this one, Client Burnt Orange, hit OK. And then finally, this one is just white, but I'm going to sample it anyway, just in case there's any values that I don't see in there. Client White.
And each time I'm creating this new swatch, I'm careful to make sure that my Color Type is set to Process and that my Color mode is always on RGB, because when we are working with the web, we want to work in RGB color. So I hit OK. So once I do that, it's going to add it up there. I can always move it. I just click and drag it down to these right here. If I want these in their own color group, that's easy to do. I'll just come here, create a new color group, and I'll call this Client Swatches, and I'm going to hit OK. Now it threw a color in there for me already. What I'm going to do now is just remove that.
Then I'll come here and select each one of these by Shift+Clicking, and then I'll drag them down and I'll just put them right next to the group. And I'll undo that so you can see exactly how I did this again. I'm going to select, hold down Shift, and then I'm going to drag these down, and watch the little blue line that appears right next to the folder. It's hard to see with my mouse in the way, but once I see that little blue line appear, I let it go, and there we go. Now, I can select the group, and it selects all of them just by clicking the folder, and then I can save this out as an Adobe Swatch Exchange file. So in order to do that, what I'm going to do is get rid of all the colors that I'm not using currently.
So I'm just going to come here, hold down Shift, and go all the way to the top, like this, and click to get rid of all these colors. I'll just trash them out, just like so. So now I've got only my color group left. And I'll go to the right-hand side of the Panel menu, and I'm going to go down to Save Swatch Library as ASE, Adobe Swatch Exchange. I'll put this on to my desktop, and I'm just going to call this Swatches.ase and hit Save. It's going to warn me that swatches containing gradients or patterns are not currently exchangeable, and that's okay.
These are all solid colors, so you have nothing to worry about here. I'll hit OK to that. And so now, I can close up this document because I've saved it out. I don't need it anymore. I can hit Don't Save. And I'll create a brand document. Let's say that I wanted to create a brand-new document for this client. You'll notice when I start this new document that none of those swatches I just created are available to me. I have to go down to this little library icon, go down to Other Library, navigate to my desktop, and you'll see swatches.ase down here at the bottom. I'll hit Open and instantly come in all of my swatches that I had before: Client Dark Purple, Blue Green, Light Yellow, Burnt Orange, and Client White.
So all of those are now available to me anytime I need them in any application that supports ASE files, whether that be Photoshop, Indesign, Illustrator, whatever. So the next time a client sends you some sort of wacky color combination, now you should be able to sample those colors, turn them into swatches, and then export them out for use in other applications or to distribute across your workgroup.
- Customizing a web workspace
- Decoding the mysteries behind screen size and resolution
- Working with Pixel Preview and anti-aliasing
- Coloring web graphics
- Renaming and grouping layers
- Working with shapes and symbols
- Creating wireframes on a grid
- Styling text
- Creating image sprites
- Simulating web pages with artboards
- Optimizing and exporting your work
Skill Level Intermediate
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