Join Jim Krause for an in-depth discussion in this video Using digital aids to choose and refine colors, part of Color for Design and Art.
- I want to introduce you to two of my favorite digital, color-based tools. Illustrator's Color Guide and the Color Picker that shows up in both Illustrator and Photoshop. Both of these tools help me do my color work faster and better. This applies when I'm choosing individual colors, and when I'm assembling entire palettes, and also when I'm making modifications to color schemes. Let's start with Illustrator's Color Guide. I'll begin by adding a bright orange straight from the Swatches panel to my graphic.
Next, I'll head up to the Window menu and open the Color Guide which comes up with the orange already loaded at top left. Then I'll use the Color Guide's pull-down menu and ask the Color Guide to open the monochromatic two relatives of the orange. Our current color is now at the center of the top row. Darker, lighter, and more muted versions are on either side. A bunch of darker, lighter, brighter and duller versions of the color are elsewhere on the grid. While I still have the orange element of my graphic selected, I'll go ahead and lighten it slightly by clicking the next lighter version of the color in the top row of the grid.
Next, I'll click on other gray elements within my illustration, and then ask Illustrator to select all pieces with the same gray by using the Select, Same, Fill Color and Select, Same, Stroke Color commands. Then I'll color these elements by choosing various oranges from the Color Guide, oranges that are similar in value to the grays that I'm replacing. I'm going to repeat this process over and over with several grays as I begin adding colors to my image.
You'll notice that I'm going with dull oranges and browns as I work here. That's because I've decided that I want the first orange that I used to remain the brightest color in my overall palette. There, that's good for the oranges. Now I'm going to add a green from the Swatches panel. You'll notice how the Color Guide has repopulated itself with versions of that green. Now I'll continue working just as I was before, by selecting the remaining gray areas of the illustration and converting them to colors that I borrow from the Color Guide.
There, done. I could go on and on about the Color Guide, but I encourage you to thoroughly check out the rest of this amazing panels, drop-down menus and options. Trust me, you're going to love this thing. Let's take a look at the Color Picker panel. First, let me replace our backdrop color with a teal that I've added to the Swatches panel. It's not the exact shade that I want, but that's where the Color Picker is going to come in handy. I'll open the Color Picker by double-clicking on the teal at the top of the Swatches panel.
We'll focus here on the panel's large area of gradated color. And also on the multicolored slider in the middle. Look close and you'll see a little black circle within the gradated area; that's our current color. Click elsewhere in this space, and the color changes. See the upper rectangle to the right of the color bar? That's our new color; below it is the color we started with. If you move toward the left in the gradated area, you'll get muted versions.
Move right, the color gets more intense. Go up, lighter; down, darker. Let's go with this muted version. By the way, I could have completely changed the teal to another color by moving this color bar slider up or down. How about a light, plum-violet? Sure, that looks good. But I think I'm going to go back to the teal in this case. See why I like these two digital color tools so much? They're easy and they're powerful and I strongly encourage you to open them up in Illustrator and give them a good tryout.
You're going to learn a bunch of things that will come in handy for an upcoming layout or an illustration of your own.
Primarily aimed at designers and illustrators, the course leans heavily toward digital tools such as Photoshop and Illustrator, but concludes with some challenges using real-world media (inks and paints!), so members can get a solid understanding of mixing colors and what tools and combinations work best.
- Navigating the color wheel and color vocabulary
- Why a color's value is so important
- RGB vs. CMYK vs. spot
- Finding the perfect color
- Working with grays and browns
- Building a color palette
- Borrowing hues for palettes
- Establishing color hierarchies
- Fixing color problems
- Altering color in photos and illustrations
- Using texture with color
- Painting for learning and fun