Join Mordy Golding for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the Live Paint Bucket tool, part of Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics.
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Let's take a close look at how the Live Paint Bucket tool works inside of Illustrator. So to keep things simple again I'm just going to draw two regular rectangles on my artboard. They overlap each other. I'm going to select both of these rectangles and I'm going to create a Live Paint group. I'll tap the K key on my keyboard, it's the keyboard shortcut for the Live Paint Bucket tool and then I'll simple mouse over the selected artwork and I'll click once to turn this into a Live Paint group. Now as I move my cursor around, I can identify the regions that are paintable. So what I first need to do is I need to pick up a color that I want to use with the Paint Bucket tool. So I go over to the Swatches panel. Let's say I want to work with Green. I click on the Green color and then I come back and then I click once to fill that region. Well, in reality when I'm painting a lot of objects, moving back and forth between what I'm seeing on my artboard and the Swatches panel can be somewhat tedious.
So take a look at the three colored boxes that appear now above my Live Paint Bucket tool cursor. You can see that I have a big green square, then I have a yellow square to the left of it and a blue square to the right of it. Well, if you take a look at my Swatches panel, you will see that I also have a green square here. To the left of it I have yellow and to the right of it I have blue. In fact these three squares that I see on top of my cursor right now represent the Swatch that I currently have selected and the Swatch that appears immediately both to the left and to the right of it. I can actually move or change the fill Color by simple tapping the arrow keys on my keyboard. For example I'll tap the right arrow once right now, I now have the light-blue color selected and you can see that it automatically moved over that, now the one to the right is a dark-blue Swatch. In fact as I type the left and the right keys on my keyboard notice how the Swatch actually moves inside the Swatches panel. In this way I can apply color to my objects without having to go directly to the Swatches panel. To illustrate that when we move over here to this middle region. Say I want to fill this with the light-blue color. I can simply the tap the left key on my keyboard a few times and then click to fill that with a light blue.
If I want to make this region yellow, again I'll tap the left arrow key twice and the simply click once to apply the yellow color. Now you will notice as I moved this cursor around, I'm only able to fill these areas. But what about stroke attributes. How can you modify the stroke color of these objects, these in the Live Paint Bucket tool? Well, to do so simply hold the Shift key on your keyboard. Notice that now when I mouse over the edges over here, the edges become highlighted which will allow me to apply a stroke color to these particular areas. If I let it go with the Shift key, I go back to working with filled areas. Now I can actually change the behavior of the Live Paint Bucket tool by simply going to the toolbar and double- clicking on the Live Paint Bucket tool.
Let's take a look at the options here. Notice that by default the Live Paint Bucket tool paints fills only. Now we are using the Shift key to move to paint with stokes but that's the same thing as me un-checking this options and turning this option on. However, it is possible to have both options checked. In doing so, I'll OK to show you, as I move my cursor over the edge I can paint the stroke, I move over to the fill I can apply a color to the fill. Let me go back to the Live Paint Bucket tool options and you will there is also an option here for the Cursor Swatch Preview. Those are the three boxes that appear above my cursor. If I find that somewhat annoying, I could simply un-check that option and those three boxes will disappear.
The Highlight option simply identifies how Illustrator will let me know what area is a paintable region by highlighting it in Red. If I wanted to highlight the areas in something else, I can simply choose that from this list. I can also choose how thick that border should be. So play around a bit with the Live Paint Bucket tool, see what options work best for you because the Live Paint Bucket tool is at the center of the Live Paint feature.
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