Remapping colors in an illustration

show more Remapping colors in an illustration provides you with in-depth training on Design. Taught by Mordy Golding as part of the Illustrator Insider Training: Coloring Artwork show less
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Remapping colors in an illustration

One of the great things about the Recolor Artwork feature inside of Illustrator is that it allows you to easily make color changes throughout your design process. Say, right now I am looking at this far right here, it's called and I am working on some packaging. Maybe I just got word from my client that we have some more money for budget and they want to do something special. They want these packages to kind of fly off the shelves. Why not, right? So one idea that I had is may be adding some custom colors, so in addition to printing four-color process, maybe also adding two additional Pantone colors and using Pantone metallic colors.

Those are special metallic inks that have little chips of metal that actually appear inside of them to give it a nice sheen, especially, if the material that this is going to be printed on is going to be a glossy stock it really might make things pop. So maybe I am going to change let's say this color here behind the word Seeds and this color over here probably here behind the flower to be some kind of metallic color. The first thing I am going to do is I am actually going to add those Pantone colors to my document. You know sitting in front of me right now I have my trusted little Pantone color book, but if you don't have one, maybe you've gotten the colors already sent to you by either another designer or maybe the client or the printer has requested specific Pantone numbers.

Otherwise, of course, you can simply just scroll through all of different colors that appear within a library. I am going to start here by going to my Swatches panel and I'll come down here to the bottom and I'll load where it says Color Books, my PANTONE metallic coated library. Now I already know which colors I want to use, so I am going to go to the little flyout menu here and choose Show Find Field, so that now I can now type in a number, and the first value I want to use is PANTONE 8203. Now once I add that number in here I can simply click on this swatch and it adds it now to my document.

Now I am going to type in another value here, that's the color I am going to use to say for the color behind the word Seeds. But now I want kind of a metallic green, let's go with Pantone 8343. And you notice at the swatch right now is highlighted here in the corner and I'll just again click on it to now add that to my document. So now I can close the PANTONE library, I don't need anymore Pantone colors and the two colors that I want to use right now appear inside of my Swatches panel PANTONE 8343 and PANTONE 8203. Another thing here is I want to make changes to just one of these pieces of artwork in my document and I either want to do that to show my client two different design concepts or maybe I just don't want to lose my original in case we decide later on to go back to the version that does not use PANTONE colors, or maybe I am actually creating artwork for two different print runs.

Whatever reason is, I right now only want to select just the top piece of artwork, because the changes I'm going to make are going to be just to this piece of artwork not to anything else. Next, I'll open up the recolor artwork dialog box, I'll click on the little color chip here inside of my Control panel and I now see a list of all the colors that appear inside of this Artwork. There are actually 18 colors here at play. Now I am not really exactly sure which of these shades of green or different shades of color here are used in the position that I want to change in the artwork.

So what I might start doing is clicking on the magnifying glass here to put myself into this color preview mode, and now I'll start clicking on the different colors to see which color I actually want change. I don't want to change that one, we click on this here and note that's used in the leaves, it's actually used in one of the gradient stops of that leaf. We click on this one here, oh! That's the color right there. I want to make it change to this one color. I want this color to change to that Pantone 8343. So a quick way for me to do that is just as simply double-click on the new color for that color row, click on Color Swatches and scroll down to that Pantone value, which is right here, PANTONE 8343.

I am going to choose OK and now Illustrator is now going to change wherever this color appears in my selected artwork to that Pantone color. Let's change to color now that appears behind word seeds. I am going to scroll down further here in this list and again, I'm not exactly sure which of these shades is being used for that, so I am just going to click on these and I see the first one that I clicked on right here. If I click on these, I can see that that color is being used in other areas of my design. But for now I am going to click on this one right here.

I am going to double-click on the new color for that color row, choose Color Swatches, once again scroll through all the swatches that appear inside of my document until I see PANTONE 8203. I am going to click OK and now I've successfully remapped that color as well. I am actually going to uncheck the magnifying glass and you can see actually right now on my screen what those new colors are going to look like. This was the older version; this now is the new version with metallic Pantone colors replaced. Now that I click OK, I've been able to make my changes now in a very easy way.

I just made the changes just the two boxes. You might have said, well, why don't you just select this one box, double-click to isolate, double-click again, select this box and then just manually change the color? Well, I could do that. This happens to be a very simple example. But if I have a very complex piece of artwork and maybe that color that I want to change to a metallic color also appears inside of a pattern or inside of a gradient. Or it appears in like 20 different places in my artwork. I don't want to have now select each of those places and if I were to use the command over here to choose Select Same Fill Color, meaning, I would just use my white arrow here to just select one object right now and then choose to select all other objects with the same fill color.

Then I would get object selected over here for elements that I don't want to change. So I'd have to go through this whole process of like locking certain artwork or hiding it or putting it on lock layers and then go through this entire process of just making a selection in order to make a color change. And again, one final note, that color may also appear not only as fill attributes, but also a stroke attributes. So that would mean I need to select all the objects that use that color as a fill, make the color change. Then select all objects that have that as a stroke color and make a color change.

Whereas here, I could do it all in one fell swoop using the Recolor Artwork dialog.

Remapping colors in an illustration
Video duration: 6m 13s 4h 44m Intermediate


Remapping colors in an illustration provides you with in-depth training on Design. Taught by Mordy Golding as part of the Illustrator Insider Training: Coloring Artwork

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