Adobe Illustrator CC Classroom in a Book 2015 release (2016)

7. Using Color to Enhance Signage

Lesson overview

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to do the following:

• Understand color modes and the main color controls.

• Create, edit, and paint with colors using a variety of methods.

• Name and save colors, and build a color palette.

• Work with color groups.

• Use the Color Guide panel.

• Explore the Edit Colors/Recolor Artwork features.

• Copy and paint appearance attributes from one object to another.

• Work with Live Paint.

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This lesson takes approximately 90 minutes to complete.

Download the project files for this lesson from the Lesson & Update Files tab on your Account page at www.peachpit.com and store them on your computer in a convenient location, as described in the “Getting Started” section of this book.

Your Account page is also where you’ll find any updates to the chapters or to the lesson files. Look on the Lesson & Update Files tab to access the most current content.

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Spice up your illustrations with colors by taking advantage of color controls in Adobe Illustrator CC. In this information-packed lesson, you’ll discover how to create and paint fills and strokes, use the Color Guide panel for inspiration, work with color groups, recolor artwork, and more.

Getting started

In this lesson, you will learn about the fundamentals of color and create and edit colors for a park sign and logo, using the Color panel, Swatches panel, and more.

1. To ensure that the tools and panels function exactly as described in this lesson, delete or deactivate (by renaming) the Adobe Illustrator CC preferences file. See “Restoring default preferences” in the “Getting Started” section at the beginning of the book.

2. Start Adobe Illustrator CC.


Image Note

If you have not already downloaded the project files for this lesson to your computer from your Account page, make sure to do so now. See the “Getting Started” section at the beginning of the book.


3. Choose File > Open, and open the L7_end.ai file in the Lesson07 folder, located in the Lessons folder, to view a final version of the park sign you will paint.

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4. Choose View > Fit All In Window.

Leave the file open for reference.

5. Choose File > Open. If a panel appears, click Open in the panel. You could also choose File > Open again. In the Open dialog box, navigate to the Lessons > Lesson07 folder and select the L7_start.ai file on your hard disk. Click Open to open the file. This file has all of the pieces already in it; they just need to be painted.

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6. Choose View > Fit All In Window.

7. Choose File > Save As. In the Save As dialog box, navigate to the Lesson07 folder, and name it ParkSign.ai. Leave the Format option set to Adobe Illustrator (ai) (Mac OS) or the Save As Type option set to Adobe Illustrator (*.AI) (Windows), and click Save. In the Illustrator Options dialog box, leave the options at their default settings, and then click OK.

8. Choose Window > Workspace > Reset Essentials.


Image Note

If you don’t see Reset Essentials in the menu, choose Window > Workspace > Essentials before choosing Window > Workspace > Reset Essentials.


Exploring color modes

There are many ways to experiment with and apply color to your artwork in Adobe Illustrator CC. As you work with color, it’s important to keep in mind the medium in which the artwork will be published, such as a print piece or a website. The colors you create need to be described in the correct way for the medium. This usually requires that you use the correct color mode and color definitions for your colors. The first part, color modes, will be described next.

Before starting a new illustration, you should decide which color mode the artwork should use, CMYK or RGB.

• CMYK—Cyan, magenta, yellow, and black are the colors used in four-color process printing. These four colors are combined and overlapped in a screen pattern to create a multitude of other colors. Select this mode for printing (in the New Document dialog box or the File > Document Color Mode menu).

• RGB—Red, green, and blue light are added together in various ways to create an array of colors. Select this mode if you are using images for onscreen presentations or the Internet.

When creating a new document by choosing File > New, each profile has a specific color mode. For instance, the Print profile uses the CMYK color mode. You can change the color mode by clicking the arrow to the left of Advanced and making a selection in the Color Mode menu.

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Image Tip

To learn more about color and graphics, search for “About color” in Illustrator Help (Help > Illustrator Help).


When a color mode is selected, the applicable panels open, displaying colors in the selected color mode. You can change the color mode of a document, after a file is created, by choosing File > Document Color Mode and then selecting either CMYK Color or RGB Color in the menu.

Working with color

In this lesson, you’ll learn about the traditional methods of coloring (also called painting) objects in Illustrator using a combination of panels and tools, such as the Control panel, Color panel, Swatches panel, Color Guide panel, Color Picker, and the paint options in the Tools panel.


Image Note

The Tools panel you see may be a single column, and that just depends on the resolution of your screen.


Before you jump into color, though, let’s discuss stroke and fill. In previous lessons, you learned that objects in Illustrator can have a fill, a stroke, or both. At the bottom of the Tools panel, notice the Fill and Stroke boxes. The Fill box is white (in this case), and the Stroke box is Black. If you click those boxes one at a time, you’ll see that whichever you click is brought in front of the other and is selected. When a color is then chosen, it is applied to the fill or stroke, whichever is selected. As you explore more of Illustrator, you’ll see these fill and stroke boxes in lots of other places like the Color panel, Swatches panel, and more.

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As you will see in this section, Illustrator provides a lot of ways to arrive at the color you need. You’ll start by applying an existing color to a shape and then work your way through the most widely used methods for creating and applying color.

Applying an existing color

As was mentioned previously, every new document in Illustrator has a series of default colors available for you to use in your artwork in the form of swatches in the Swatches panel. The first method of working with color you will explore is to paint a shape with an existing color.


Image Note

Throughout this lesson, you’ll be working on a document with a color mode that was set to CMYK when the document was created, which means that the majority of colors you create will, by default, be composed of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.


1. Click the ParkSign.ai document tab at the top of the Document window, if you did not close the L7_end.ai document.

2. Choose 1 from the Artboard Navigation menu in the lower-left corner of the Document window (if it’s not chosen already), and then choose View > Fit Artboard In Window.

3. Choose Window > Workspace > Reset Essentials.

4. With the Selection tool (Image), click to select the large red shape.

5. Click the Fill color in the Control panel (Image), and the Swatches panel appears. Position the pointer over swatches in the list to reveal a tooltip with the swatch name. Click to apply the swatch named “Sign Bg.” Press the Escape key to hide the Swatches panel.

By choosing the Fill color in the Control panel, you are telling Illustrator you want to change the color of the fill for the selected artwork.

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6. Choose Select > Deselect to ensure that nothing is selected.

Creating a custom color using the Color panel

There are a lot of ways to create your own custom color in Illustrator. Using the Color panel (Window > Color), you can apply color to an object’s fill and stroke and also edit and mix colors using different color models (CMYK, for example). The Color panel displays the current fill and stroke of the selected content, and you can either visually select a color from the color spectrum bar at the bottom of the panel or mix your own colors, changing the color values in various ways.

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Next, you’ll create a custom color using the Color panel.

1. With the Selection tool (Image), click to select the white bar above the green bar on the sign, in the middle of the artboard.

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2. Choose Window > Color to open the Color panel. Click the Color panel menu icon (Image) and choose CMYK from the menu (if it’s not already selected), and then choose Show Options from the same menu.

3. In the Color panel, click the white Fill box (if it’s not selected). An arrow is pointing to it in the following figure. Click in the light green part of the color spectrum to sample a light green color and apply it to the fill.

Since the spectrum bar is so small, you most likely won’t achieve the same color as I did. That’s okay, because you’ll edit it shortly to match.

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Image Tip

You can drag the bottom of the Color panel down to reveal more of the color spectrum bar.


If artwork is selected when you create a color in the Color panel, the color is automatically applied.

4. In the Color panel, type the following values in the CMYK text fields: C=42, M=0, Y=62, K=0. This ensures that we are all using the same color.

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Image Tip

Each CMYK value is a percentage of 100.


Colors created in the Color panel are not saved anywhere except for in the fill or stroke of the selected artwork. If you wanted to easily reuse the color you just created elsewhere in this document, you can save it as a swatch in the Swatches panel. All documents start with a set number of swatches, as mentioned earlier, but any colors in the Swatches panel are available to the current document only (by default), since each document has its own defined swatches.

Saving a color as a swatch

You can name and save different types of colors, gradients, and patterns in the Swatches panel as swatches so that you can apply and edit them later. Swatches are listed in the Swatches panel in the order in which they were created, but you can reorder or organize the swatches into groups to suit your needs.

Next, you’ll save the green color you just created in the Color panel as a swatch.

1. Choose Window > Swatches to open the Swatches panel. Making sure that the green Fill box is selected (an arrow is pointing to it in the figure), click the New Swatch button (Image) at the bottom of the panel to create a swatch from the fill color of the selected artwork.

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2. In the New Swatch dialog box, change the following options:

• Swatch Name: Light Green

• Add To My Library: Deselected (In Lesson 13 you’ll learn all about libraries.)

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Image Tip

Naming colors can be an art form. You can name them according to their value (C=45, ...), appearance (Light Green), or a descriptive name like “text header,” among other attributes.


3. Click OK.

Notice that the new Light Green swatch is highlighted in the Swatches panel (it has a white border around it). That’s because it is applied to the selected shape automatically. You may need to scroll in the Swatches panel to see it.

4. With the Selection tool (Image), select the third white tree from the left, on the top of the sign.

5. In the Swatches panel on the right, drag the bottom of the panel down to see more swatches. Ensure that the Fill box at the top of the panel is selected to paint the fill of the shape, and select the swatch named “Light Green” to apply it.

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When applying a swatch from the Swatches panel, it’s always important to select the stroke or the fill first so that it paints the right part.

6. Click the Stroke box at the top of the Swatches panel to paint the stroke of the selected shape (an arrow is pointing to it in the figure). Select the None swatch (Image) in the Swatches panel to remove the stroke.

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7. Choose Select > Deselect.

Creating a copy of a swatch

Next, you will create another swatch by copying and editing the Light Green swatch.

1. Click the green Fill box at the top of the Swatches panel.

2. Click the New Swatch button (Image) at the bottom of the Swatches panel.

Clicking the New Swatch button creates a swatch from the fill or stroke color (whichever is active or up front at the top of the Swatches panel). If the None swatch is applied, you won’t be able to click the New Swatch button (it’ll be dimmed).

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Image Tip

In the New Swatch dialog box, the Color Mode menu lets you change the color mode of a specific color to RGB, CMYK, Grayscale, or another mode, when you create it.


3. In the New Swatch dialog box, change the name to Orange, change the values to C=15, M=45, Y=70, K=0, and make sure that Add To My Library is deselected. Click OK.


Image Note

If the tree shape had still been selected, it would be filled with the new orange color.


4. With the Selection tool (Image), click the white bar above the Light Green–filled bar to select it. Click the Fill color in the Control panel, and click to select the color named “Orange.”

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Editing a swatch

After a color is created and saved in the Swatches panel, you can later edit that color if you need to. Next, you’ll edit the Sign Bg swatch.

1. With the Selection tool (Image) selected, click to select the large brown sign shape you first applied a fill color to.

2. Make sure that the Fill box is selected in the Swatches panel, and then double-click the swatch named “Sign Bg” in the Swatches panel. In the Swatch Options dialog box, change the K value to 0, select Preview to see the change, and then click OK.

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When you edit a swatch, artwork with the swatch color applied to the fill or stroke will not be updated unless the artwork is selected or the swatch is a global color (more about global colors in the next section). Editing a swatch will not update the colored objects by default.

Creating and editing a global swatch

Next, you will create a color and make it a global color. When you edit a global color, all artwork with that swatch applied, regardless of whether it’s selected, is updated.

1. With the Selection tool (Image), click to select the white bar above the orange bar.

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2. In the Swatches panel, click the New Swatch button (Image) at the bottom of the panel. In the New Swatch dialog box, change the following options:

• Swatch Name: Forest Green

• Global: Selected

• Change the CMYK values to C=91, M=49, Y=49, K=0

• Add To My Library: Deselected

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3. Click OK.

In the Swatches panel, notice that the new swatch is in the top row of colors, to the right of the white swatch. When you selected the shape, it was filled with white, so the white swatch was selected in the panel. When you click the New Swatch button to make a new color, it duplicates the selected swatch and puts the new swatch next to the original.

4. Click and drag the Forest Green swatch to the right of the Orange swatch to keep them together.

As you interact with the Forest Green swatch, notice the little white triangle in the lower-right corner. This indicates that it’s a global swatch.

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5. With the Selection tool, click the second white tree from the left (see the following figure). Make sure the Fill box is selected (active) in the Swatches panel, and apply the new “Forest Green” swatch to the fill.

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6. Change the Stroke weight in the Control panel to 0 by either typing in the value or clicking the down arrow to remove it.

7. Choose Select > Deselect.

Now you’ll see the power of a global swatch.

8. In the Swatches panel, double-click the Forest Green swatch. In the Swatch Options dialog box, change the K value to 24, select Preview to see the changes (you may need to click in another field to see the change), and then click OK.

All of the shapes with the global swatch applied are updated, even though they weren’t selected.

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Image Note

You can change an existing swatch into a global swatch, but it requires a bit more effort. You either need to select all of the shapes with that swatch applied before you edit the swatch and make it global, or you edit the swatch to make it global and then reapply the swatch to the content.


Using the Color Picker to create color

Another method for creating color is to use the Color Picker. The Color Picker lets you select color in a color field and in a spectrum either by defining colors numerically or by clicking a swatch, and it is found in other Adobe applications like InDesign and Photoshop. Next, you will create a color using the Color Picker and then save that color as a swatch in the Swatches panel.

1. With the Selection tool (Image), click the bottom white bar on the sign.

2. Double-click the Fill box at the top of the Swatches panel to open the Color Picker.

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Image Tip

You can also double-click the Fill box (or Stroke box) in the Color panel or at the bottom of the Tools panel to access the Color Picker.


In the Color Picker dialog box, the larger color field shows saturation (horizontally) and brightness (vertically) and is labeled “A” in the next figure. The color spectrum bar (labeled “B” in the figure) shows the hue.

3. In the Color Picker dialog box, click and drag up and down in the color spectrum bar to change the color range. Make sure that you wind up with the triangles in an orange/brown hue (it doesn’t have to be exact).

4. Click and drag in the color field. As you drag right and left, you adjust the saturation, and as you drag up and down, you adjust the brightness. The color you create when you click OK (don’t yet) appears in the New color rectangle, labeled “C” in the figure. Don’t worry about matching the color in the figure yet.


Image Tip

You can also change the color spectrum you see by selecting H, S, B, R, G, or B.


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5. In the CMYK fields, change the values to C=40, M=65, Y=90, and K=33.

6. Click OK, and you should see that the brown is applied to the fill of the shape.


Image Note

The Color Swatches button in the Color Picker shows you the swatches in the Swatches panel and the default color books (the sets of swatches that come with Illustrator), and it lets you select a color from one. You can return to the color spectrum by clicking the Color Models button and then editing the swatch color values, if necessary.


7. In the Swatches panel, click the New Swatch button (Image) at the bottom of the panel, and name the color Dark Brown in the New Swatch dialog box. Select Global, make sure that Add To My Library is deselected, and then click OK to see the color appear as a swatch in the Swatches panel.

8. Choose Select > Deselect, and then choose File > Save.

Using Illustrator swatch libraries

Swatch libraries are collections of preset colors, such as Pantone and TOYO, and thematic libraries, such as Earthtone and Ice Cream. Illustrator has default swatch libraries that appear as separate panels when you open them, and these cannot be edited. When you apply color from a library to artwork, the color in the library becomes a swatch that is saved in that document only and appears in the Swatches panel. Libraries are a great starting point for creating colors.

Next, you will create a spot color, which prints using a spot ink, using a Pantone Plus library. You will then apply that color to a logo. When color is defined in Illustrator and later printed, the appearance of the color could vary. This is why most printers and designers rely on a color-matching system, like the PANTONE system, to help maintain color consistency and, in some cases, to give a wider range of colors.


Image Note

Sometimes it’s practical to use process (typically CMYK) and spot inks (PANTONE, for instance) in the same job. For example, you might use one spot ink to print the exact color of a company logo on the same pages of an annual report where photographs are reproduced using process color. You can also use a spot-color printing plate to apply a varnish over areas of a process color job. In both cases, your print job would use a total of five inks—four process inks and one spot ink or varnish.


Adding a spot color

In this section, you will see how to load a color library, such as the PANTONE color system, and how to add a PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM (PMS) color to the Swatches panel.

1. In the Swatches panel, click the Swatch Libraries Menu button (Image) at the bottom of the panel. Choose Color Books > PANTONE+ Solid Coated.

The PANTONE+ Solid Coated library appears in its own panel.


Image Tip

You could also choose Window > Swatch Libraries > Color Books > PANTONE+ Solid Coated.


2. Type 755 in the Find field. As you type, the list is filtered, showing a smaller and smaller range of swatches. Type another 5 so that 7555 appears in the search field.

3. Click the swatch beneath the search field to add it to the Swatches panel. Click the X to the right of the search field to stop the filtering.

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4. Close the PANTONE+ Solid Coated panel.


Image Note

If you exit Illustrator with the PANTONE library panel still open and then relaunch Illustrator, the panel does not reopen. To automatically open the panel whenever Illustrator opens, choose Persistent from the PANTONE+ Solid Coated panel menu (Image).


5. Choose 2 Artboard 2 from the Artboard Navigation menu in the lower-left corner of the Document window.

6. With the Selection tool (Image), click the first white-filled tree shape on the left. Make sure the Fill box is selected (active) in the Swatches panel, and select the PANTONE 7555 C swatch to fill the shape.

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Image Tip

Now that you know a number of ways to apply a fill and stroke (the Swatches panel and Control panel), you can use either of those methods to apply color swatches going forward.


7. Change the Stroke weight to 0 in the Control panel.

8. Choose Select > Deselect, and then choose File > Save.


PANTONE swatches vs. other swatches in the Swatches panel

In the Swatches panel, you can identify spot-color swatches by the spot-color icon (Image) when the panel is in List view or by the dot in the lower corner (Image) when the panel is in Thumbnail view. Process colors do not have a spot-color icon or a dot. To learn more about color libraries and spot colors, search for “About color” in Illustrator Help (Help > Illustrator Help).


Creating and saving a tint of a color

tint is a mixture of a color with white to make the color lighter. You can create a tint from a global process color, like CMYK, or from a spot color.

Next, you will create a tint of the Pantone swatch.

1. With the Selection tool (Image), click the white tree shape just to the right of the tree shape filled with the Pantone color (the tree second from the left).

2. In the Swatches panel, apply the new Pantone color to the fill of the shape.


Image Note

Don’t forget, you need to make sure that the Fill box is selected in the Swatches panel to apply the color to the fill! Also, the Fill and Stroke boxes in the Tools panel, Color panel, and Swatches panel are linked together. When you change one, they all change.


3. Click the Color panel icon (Image) to expand the Color panel. Make sure that the Fill box is selected in the Color panel, and then drag the tint slider to the left to change the tint value to 70%.


Image Note

You may need to choose Show Options from the Color panel menu to see the slider.


4. Click the Swatches panel icon (Image) on the right side of the workspace. Click the New Swatch button (Image) at the bottom of the panel to save the tint. Notice the new tint swatch in the Swatches panel. Position the pointer over the swatch icon to see its name, PANTONE 7555 C 70%.

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5. Change the Stroke weight to 0 in the Control panel for the selected tree shape.

6. For the remaining three tree shapes, apply the PANTONE 7555 C swatch, the tint swatch (PANTONE 7555 C 70%), and then the PANTONE 7555 C swatch to their fills, in that order.

7. Change the Stroke weight to 0 in the Control panel for each of the tree shapes.

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8. Choose Select > Deselect, and then choose File > Save.

Adjusting colors

When working with colors, Illustrator offers an Edit Colors menu option (Edit > Edit Colors) that allows you to convert colors between color modes, blend colors, invert colors, and much more, for selected artwork. Next, you’ll change the trees logo with the PANTONE 7555 C color applied to use CMYK colors instead of Pantone.

1. While still on Artboard 2, choose Select > All On Active Artboard to select all of the shapes with the Pantone color and tint applied.

2. Choose Edit > Edit Colors > Convert To CMYK.

The colors in the selected shapes are now composed of CMYK. Using this method for converting to CMYK does not affect the Pantone color swatches in the Swatches panel. It simply converts the selected artwork colors to CMYK. The swatches in the Swatches panel are no longer applied to the artwork.


Image Note

Currently, Convert to RGB in the Edit Color menu is dimmed (you cannot select it). That’s because the Document Color Mode is CMYK. To convert selected content color to RGB using this method, first choose File > Document Color Mode > RGB Color.


Copying appearance attributes

At times you may want to simply copy appearance attributes, such as character formatting, paragraph formatting, fill, and stroke, from one object to another. This can be done with the Eyedropper tool (Image) and can really speed up your creative process.

1. Choose 1 from the Artboard Navigation menu in the lower-left corner of the Document window to return to the artboard with the sign on it.

2. Using the Selection tool (Image), select the first white tree (on the left) at the top of the sign (the one with the black stroke applied).

3. Select the Eyedropper tool (Image) in the Tools panel. Click the green bar just above the bottom brown bar (see the figure).

Image

The tree has the attributes from the painted bar applied, including a cream-colored stroke.


Image Tip

You can double-click the Eyedropper tool in the Tools panel, before sampling, to change the attributes that the Eyedropper picks up and applies.


4. Click the Stroke color in the Control panel, and change the color to None (Image).

5. Choose Select > Deselect.

Creating a color group

In Illustrator, you can save colors in color groups, which consist of related color swatches in the Swatches panel. Organizing colors by their use, such as grouping all colors for a logo, can be helpful for organization and more, as you’ll soon see. Color groups cannot contain patterns, gradients, the None color, or Registration color.

Next, you will create a color group of some of the swatches you’ve created for the logo to keep them organized.

1. Select the Selection tool (Image) in the Tools panel.

2. In the Swatches panel, click the swatch named “Aqua” to select it, if necessary. Holding down the Shift key, click the swatch named “Forest Green” to the right to select five color swatches.

3. Command-click (Mac OS) or Ctrl-click (Windows) the orange swatch to remove it from the selection.

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4. Click the New Color Group button (Image) at the bottom of the Swatches panel. Change the Name to Tree Logo in the New Color Group dialog box, and click OK to save the group.


Image Note

If objects are selected when you click the New Color Group button, an expanded New Color Group dialog box appears. In this dialog box, you can create a color group from the colors in the artwork and convert the colors to global colors.


5. With the Selection tool (Image) selected, click a blank area of the Swatches panel to deselect the color group you just created.

Each swatch in a color group can still be edited independently by double-clicking a swatch in the group and editing the values in the Swatch Options dialog box.

For the next step, you may want to drag the bottom of the Swatches panel down so that you can see all of the swatches in the panel.

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6. Click the white swatch in the top row of the Swatches panel, and drag it to the right of the Forest Green swatch in the tree logo color group.

When dragging a color into a color group, make sure that you see a line appear on the right edge of the Forest Green swatch. Otherwise, you may drag the white swatch to the wrong place. You can always choose Edit > Undo Move Swatches and try again. Aside from dragging colors in or out of a color group, you can rename a color group, reorder the colors in the group, and more.

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Creative inspiration with the Color Guide panel

The Color Guide panel can provide you with color inspiration as you create your artwork. You can use it to pick color tints, analogous colors, and much more, and then apply them directly to artwork, edit them using several methods, or save them as a group in the Swatches panel.

Next, you will use the Color Guide panel to select different colors for a version of a tree logo, and then you’ll save those colors as a color group in the Swatches panel.

1. Choose 3 Artboard 3 from the Artboard Navigation menu in the lower-left corner of the Document window.

2. With the Selection tool (Image), click the first tree on the left (with the aqua color fill). Make sure that the Fill box is selected in the Tools panel or Swatches panel.

3. Choose Window > Color Guide to open the panel. Click the Set Base Color To The Current Color button (Image) (see the following figure).

This allows the Color Guide panel to suggest colors based on the color showing in the Set Base Color To The Current Color button. The colors you see in the Color Guide panel may differ from what you see in the figure. That’s okay.

Next, you’ll experiment with colors using Harmony Rules.

4. Choose Analogous from the Harmony Rules menu (circled in the figure) in the Color Guide panel.

A base group of colors is created to the right of the base color (aqua), and a series of tints and shades of those colors appears in the body of the panel. There are lots of harmony rules to choose from, each instantly generating a color scheme based on any color you want. The base color you set (aqua) is the basis for generating the colors in the color scheme.


Image Tip

You can also choose a different color variation (different from the default Tints/Shades), such as Show Warm/Cool, by clicking the Color Guide panel menu icon (Image) and choosing one.


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5. Click the Save Color Group To Swatch Panel button (Image) at the bottom of the Color Guide panel to save the base colors (the five colors at the top) in the Swatches panel as a group.

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6. Click the Swatches panel icon (Image). Scroll down to see the new group added.

Next, you’ll experiment with the colors in the color group that you just created to create an alternate group of colors.

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7. Choose Select > Deselect.

8. Click the Color Guide panel icon (Image) to open the Color Guide panel.

9. In the list of swatches in the Color Guide panel, select the fifth color from the left in the third row (see the figure). If the tree were still selected, it would now be filled with the blue.

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Image Note

If you choose a different color variation than the one suggested, your color will differ from those in the rest of this section.


10. Click the Set Base Color To The Current Color button (Image) (circled in the following figure) to ensure that all colors that the panel creates are based on that same blue.

11. Choose Complementary 2 from the Harmony Rules menu.

12. Click the Save Color Group To Swatch Panel button (Image) to save the colors as a group in the Swatches panel.

13. Choose File > Save.

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Working with Adobe Color Themes

The Color Themes panel (Window > Color Themes) displays color themes you have created and synced with your account on the Adobe Color website (http://color.adobe.com). The Adobe ID used in Illustrator CC is automatically used to sign in to the Adobe Color CC website, and the Color Themes panel is refreshed with your Adobe Color themes. For more information about working with the Color Themes panel, search for “Color themes” in Illustrator Help (Help > Illustrator Help).

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Editing a color group in the Edit Colors dialog box

When you create color groups in the Swatches panel or in the Color Guide panel, you can edit the swatches in the group either individually from the Swatches panel, or together. In this section, you will learn how to edit the colors of a color group in the Swatches panel using the Edit Color dialog box. Later, you will apply those colors to a version of the logo.

1. Choose Select > Deselect (if it’s available), and then click the Swatches panel icon (Image) to show the panel.

Deselecting right now is important! If artwork is selected when you edit the color group, the edits can apply to the selected artwork.

2. Click the Color Group icon (Image) to the left of the colors in the bottom color group (the one you just saved) to select the group. It’s circled in the following figure.


Image Tip

With no artwork selected, you could also double-click the Color Group icon (the folder) to open the Edit Colors dialog box.


3. Click the Edit Color Group button (Image) at the bottom of the Swatches panel to open the Edit Colors dialog box.

The Edit Color Group button appears in multiple locations, like the Swatches and Color Guide panels. The Edit Colors dialog box allows you to edit a group of colors in various ways or even to create new color groups. On the right side of the Edit Colors dialog box, under the Color Groups section, all of the existing color groups in the Swatches panel are listed.

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4. Select the name “Color Group 2” in the field above the Color Groups section if not already selected, (circled in the figure), and rename the group Logo 2. This is one way you can rename a color group.

Next, you will make a few changes to the colors in the Logo 2 group. On the left side of the Edit Colors dialog box, you can edit the colors of each color group, either individually or together, and edit them visually or precisely using specific color values. In the color wheel, you’ll see markers (circles) that represent each color in the selected group.

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5. In the color wheel on the left side of the dialog box, drag the largest blue circle, called a marker, in the lower-left section of the color wheel, down and to the right just a little bit. The largest marker is the base color of the color group that you set in the Color Guide panel initially.

Moving the color markers away from the center of the color wheel increases saturation, and moving them toward the center decreases saturation. Moving a color marker around the color wheel (clockwise or counterclockwise) edits the hue.

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Image Tip

You’ll notice that all of the colors in the group move and change together. This is because they are linked together by default.


6. Drag the Adjust Brightness slider below the color wheel to the right to brighten all the colors at once.

Next, you will edit the colors in the group independently and then save the colors as a new named group.

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Image Note

You can match the H, S, B (hue, saturation, brightness) values below the color wheel in the Edit Colors dialog box to mimic what you see in the figure, if you want to match exactly the color I achieved.


7. Click the Unlink Harmony Colors button (Image) in the Edit Colors dialog box to edit the colors independently.

The lines between the color markers (circles) and the center of the color wheel become dotted, indicating that you can edit the colors independently.

Next, you will edit just one of the colors, since they are now unlinked. You will edit that color by using specific color values rather than by dragging the color in the color wheel.

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8. Click the Color Mode icon (Image) to the right of the H, S, B values below the color wheel, and choose CMYK from the menu, if the CMYK sliders are not already visible.

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9. Click to select the lightest orange marker in the color wheel, as shown in the figure. Change the CMYK values to C=10, M=50, Y=100, and K=0. Notice that the marker has moved in the color wheel, and it’s the only one that moved. Leave the dialog box open.

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Image Note

It’s okay if the color markers in your Edit Colors dialog box are different from those shown in the figure.


10. Click the Save Changes To Color Group button (Image) in the upper-right corner of the Edit Colors dialog box to save the changes to the color group.

If you decide to make changes to colors in another color group, you can select the color group you want to edit on the right side of the Edit Colors dialog box and edit the colors on the left side. You can then save the changes to the group by clicking the Save Changes To Color Group button (Image) in the upper-right corner of the dialog box.

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11. Click OK to close the Edit Colors dialog box.

The subtle changes to the colors in the group should show in the Swatches panel.


Image Note

If a dialog box appears after clicking OK, click Yes to save the changes to the color group in the Swatches panel.


12. Choose File > Save.

Editing colors in artwork

You can also edit the colors in selected artwork using the Recolor Artwork command. It’s really useful when global swatches weren’t used in the artwork. Without using global colors in your artwork, updating a series of colors in selected artwork may take a lot of time. Next, you will edit the colors for one of the logos that was created with colors that were not saved in the Swatches panel.

1. Choose 4 Artboard 4 from the Artboard Navigation menu in the lower-left corner of the Document window.

2. Choose Select > All On Active Artboard to select all of the artwork.

3. Click the Recolor Artwork button (Image) in the Control panel to open the Recolor Artwork dialog box.

The Recolor Artwork dialog box options allow you to edit, reassign, or reduce the colors in your selected artwork and to create and edit color groups. You’ll probably notice that it looks an awful lot like the Edit Colors dialog box. The big difference is that instead of editing color and creating color groups to apply later, you are dynamically editing colors in the selected artwork.


Image Tip

You can also access the Recolor Artwork dialog box by selecting the artwork and then choosing Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork.


4. In the Recolor Artwork dialog box, click the Hide Color Group Storage icon (Image) on the right side of the dialog box (circled in the following figure).

Like in the Edit Colors dialog box, all of the color groups in the Swatches panel appear on the right side of the Recolor Artwork dialog box (in the Color Groups storage area). In the Recolor Artwork dialog box, you can apply colors from these color groups to the selected artwork.

5. Click the Get Colors From Selected Art icon (Image) to make sure that the colors from the selected artwork are showing in the Recolor Artwork dialog box.

6. Click the Edit tab to edit the colors in the artwork using the color wheel.

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7. Make sure that the Link Harmony Colors icon (Image) is disabled so that you can edit all of the colors independently.

The lines between the color markers (circles) and the center of the color wheel should be dotted. If it looks like this (Image), click it to unlink.

When you created a color group, you worked with the color wheel and the CMYK sliders to edit color. This time, you will adjust color using a different method.

8. Click the Display Color Bars button (Image) to show the colors in the selected artwork as bars. Click the cream color bar in the middle to select it.

9. At the bottom of the dialog box, change the CMYK values to C=5, M=10, Y=40, K=0. If the Recolor Artwork dialog box isn’t in the way, you should see the artwork changing.


Image Tip

If you want to return to the original logo colors, click the Get Colors From Selected Art button (Image).


10. Click the green color bar to select it instead of the cream color bar. With the pointer over the green color bar, right-click and choose Select Shade from the menu that appears. Click in the shade menu, and drag to change the color of the color bar.

Editing the colors as bars is just another way to view and edit the colors, and there are so many options for editing. To learn more about these options, search for “Color groups (harmonies)” in Illustrator Help (Help > Illustrator Help).

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Image Tip

You can save the edited colors as a color group by clicking the Show Color Group Storage icon (Image) on the right side of the dialog box and then clicking the New Color Group button (Image).


11. Click OK in the Recolor Artwork dialog box.

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12. Choose Select > Deselect, and then choose File > Save.

Assigning colors to your artwork

As you’ve seen, clicking the Recolor Artwork button (Image) with artwork selected opens the Recolor Artwork dialog box. In the Recolor Artwork dialog box, you can edit colors in existing artwork, as you’ve seen, but you can also “assign” colors from an existing color group to your artwork. Next, you will assign a color group to create a version of the logo.

1. Choose 3 Artboard 3 from the Artboard Navigation menu in the lower-left corner of the Document window.

2. Choose Select > All On Active Artboard to select the logo trees.

3. Click the Recolor Artwork button (Image) in the Control panel.

4. Click the Show Color Group Storage icon (Image) on the right side of the dialog box to show the color groups, if they aren’t already showing. Make sure that, in the top left of the dialog box, the Assign button is selected.

On the left side of the Recolor Artwork dialog box, notice that the five colors of the selected logo are listed in the Current Colors column, in what is called hue-forward sorting. That means they are arranged, from top to bottom, in the ordering of the color wheel: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

5. Under Color Groups in the Recolor Artwork dialog box, select the Logo 2 color group you created earlier. The selected artwork on the artboard should change in color.

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Image Note

If the colors of the logo do not change, make sure that Recolor Art is selected in the lower-left corner of the Recolor Artwork dialog box.


On the left side of the Recolor Artwork dialog box, notice that the colors of the Logo 2 color group are assigned to the colors in the logo. The Current Colors column shows what the color was in the logo, and an arrow to the right of each of those colors points to the New column, which contains what the color has become (or has been reassigned to). Notice that the white color has not been modified and that there is no arrow pointing to a color in the New column. That’s because white, black, and grays are typically preserved, or unchanged.

6. Click the Hide Color Group Storage icon (Image) to hide the color groups. Drag the dialog box by the title bar at the top so that you can see the artwork.

7. Click the small arrow to the right of the dark green bar in the Current Colors column (see the figure).

This tells Illustrator not to change that specific green color in the logo. You can see that reflected in the logo on the artboard.

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Now suppose that you wanted to change the white color in the Logo 2 color group. That’s what you’ll do next.

8. Click the line to the right of the white color in the Current Colors column, and the line will change into an arrow that looks dimmed.

The arrow indicates to Illustrator that you want the white color to be different, but there currently is no color in the New column to change it to.

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9. Click the Show Color Group Storage icon (Image) to show the color groups.

10. Click another color group in the Color Groups area on the right side of the panel, and then click to select the Logo 2 color group again.

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This is one of the easiest ways to reapply the color group colors, and it will fill in the missing color to the right of the white in the Current Colors column. You might not like how it assigned the colors to your artwork, and that’s what you’ll edit next.

11. In the New column of the Recolor Artwork dialog box, drag the top blue color box in the column down on top of the brown color and release the mouse button.

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This is one way that you can reassign the Logo 2 group colors to the colors in the logo. The colors in the New column show what you see in the artwork. If you click one of the colors in the New column, notice that the CMYK sliders at the bottom of the dialog box let you edit that one color.

12. Double-click the brown color box at the top of the New column. In the Color Picker dialog box, click the Color Swatches button (on the right side) and select the color named “Light Green.” You may need to scroll in the list of color swatches. Click OK to return to the Recolor Artwork dialog box.

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13. In the Recolor Artwork dialog box, click the Save Changes To Color Group button (Image) to save the changes to the color group without closing the dialog box. Click OK. The color changes that you made to the color group are saved in the Swatches panel.

14. Choose Select > Deselect, and then choose File > Save.

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Image Note

To learn more, search for “Working with color groups” in Illustrator Help.


There are many kinds of color edits that can be made to selected artwork in the Recolor Artwork dialog box, including reducing the number of colors, applying other colors (like Pantone colors), and much more.

Working with Live Paint

Live Paint lets you paint vector graphics intuitively, by automatically detecting and correcting gaps that might otherwise affect the application of fills and strokes. Paths divide the drawing surface into areas that can be colored, whether the area is bounded by a single path or by segments of multiple paths. Painting objects with Live Paint is like coloring in a coloring book or using watercolors to paint a sketch, and the underlying shapes are not edited.


Image Note

To learn more about Live Paint and all that it can do, search for “Live Paint groups” in Illustrator Help (Help > Illustrator Help).


Creating a Live Paint group

Next, you will paint a simpler version of the logo using the Live Paint Bucket tool.

1. Choose 5 Artboard 5 from the Artboard Navigation menu in the lower-left corner of the Document window.

2. With the Selection tool (Image) selected, choose Select > All On Active Artboard.

3. Choose View > Zoom Out, several times, until you see the tree shape off the right edge of the artboard.

That shape is not selected, but you will add it to the rest of the shapes soon.

4. Select the Live Paint Bucket tool (Image) from the Shape Builder tool (Image) group in the Tools panel.

5. Click the Swatches panel icon (Image) to show the panel. Select the first (dark) blue swatch in the Logo 2 color group in the Swatches panel.

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Image Note

Positioning the pointer over a color group will show you the name of the color group in a tooltip.


6. Position the pointer over the first tree shape (on the left), and click to convert the selected shapes to a Live Paint group.

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You can click any of the shapes to convert it to a Live Paint group, but the shape you click is filled with the dark blue color. Clicking selected shapes with the Live Paint Bucket tool creates a Live Paint group that you can paint with that same tool. Once a Live Paint group is created, the paths are fully editable, but they are treated like a group. Colors are automatically reapplied to new regions created when you move or adjust a path’s shape.

Painting with the Live Paint Bucket tool

After objects are converted to a Live Paint group, you can paint them using several methods, which is what you’ll do next.

1. Position the pointer over the second tree from the left in the Live Paint group (not where the trees overlap).

A red highlight appears around the shape that will be painted, and three color swatches appear above the pointer. The selected color (dark blue) is in the middle, and the two adjacent colors in the Swatches panel are on either side.

2. Press the left arrow key once to select the lighter-green swatch (shown in the three swatches above the pointer).

As you press the arrow key to change colors, notice, in the Swatches panel, that the color is highlighted. You can press the up or down arrow key, along with right or left arrow keys to select a new swatch to paint with. Click to apply the lighter-green color to the tree shape.

3. In the Swatches panel, click to select the swatch named “Dark Brown.” Click to fill the overlapping (white) shape between the trees.

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4. Double-click the Live Paint Bucket tool (Image) in the Tools panel. This opens the Live Paint Bucket Options dialog box. Select the Paint Strokes option, and then click OK.

Next, you’ll remove the inner gray stroke from the shapes and retain the outer strokes.

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Image Note

To learn more about the Live Paint Bucket Options dialog box, including working with Gap Options, search for “Paint with the Live Paint Bucket tool” in Illustrator Help (Help > Illustrator Help).


5. Select None (Image) from the Stroke color in the Control panel. Press the Escape key to hide the Swatches panel.

6. Position the tip (Image) of the pointer directly over the gray stroke, between the two tree shapes, as shown in the figure. When the pointer changes to a paintbrush (Image), click the stroke to remove the stroke color (by applying the None swatch).

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Image Note

I exaggerated the red line in the figure so you could more easily see it.


7. Choose Select > Deselect, and then choose File > Save.

Modifying a Live Paint group

When you make a Live Paint group, each path remains editable. When you move or adjust a path, the colors that were previously applied don’t just stay where they were, like they do in natural media paintings or with image-editing software. Instead, the colors are automatically reapplied to the new regions that are formed by the intersecting paths. Next, you will edit the paths by adding another shape.

1. Select the Selection tool (Image), and click to select the white tree shape off the right edge of the artboard. Drag it so that it overlaps the rightmost tree shape.

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2. With the Selection tool, Shift-click the Live Paint group to select both objects.

3. Click the Merge Live Paint button in the Control panel to add the new white shape to the Live Paint group.

4. Select the Live Paint Bucket tool (Image) in the Tools panel. In the Swatches panel (Image), click to select one of the brown colors in the Logo 2 group. Click to paint the part of the new tree that is not overlapping the other tree.

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5. Select another swatch (I chose white), and click to paint the part of the circle that overlaps the light green tree.

6. Select None (Image) from the Stroke color in the Control panel. Press the Escape key to hide the panel. Position the pointer directly over the stroke, between the tree shapes. When the paintbrush (Image) appears, click the stroke to remove it.


Image Note

If you find that the stroke is not going away, try selecting the None swatch again for the Stroke color, positioning the pointer over the stroke, and clicking again when you see the paintbrush icon.


7. Select the Selection tool, and with the Live Paint object selected, you will see the words “Live Paint” on the left end of the Control panel. Double-click the Live Paint object (the trees) to enter Isolation mode.

8. Drag the rightmost tree shape to the left to reposition it.

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Image Tip

You could also edit the anchor points of the selected artwork using the Direct Selection tool (Image), for instance. The paths are still editable, and the colors are reapplied to the new regions that are formed by edited paths.


Notice how the color fill and stroke changes every time you release the mouse button.

9. Choose Select > Deselect, and then press the Escape key to exit Isolation mode.

10. Choose View > Fit All In Window.

11. Choose File > Save, and then choose File > Close.

Review questions

1. Describe what a global color is.

2. How can you save a color?

3. Describe what a tint is.

4. How can you choose color harmonies for color inspiration?

5. Name two things that the Recolor Artwork dialog box allows you to do.

6. Explain what Live Paint allows you to do.

Review answers

1. A global color is a color swatch that, when you edit it, automatically updates all artwork to which it is applied. All spot colors are global; however, process colors can be either global or local.

2. You can save a color for painting other objects in your artwork by adding it to the Swatches panel by doing one of the following:

• Drag the color from a Fill box, and drop it over the Swatches panel.

• Click the New Swatch button (Image) at the bottom of the Swatches panel.

• Choose New Swatch from the Swatches panel menu (Image).

• Choose Create New Swatch from the Color panel menu (Image).

3. A tint is a mixture of a color with white to make the color lighter. You can create a tint from a global process color, like CMYK, or from a spot color.

4. You can choose color harmonies from the Color Guide panel. Color harmonies are used to generate a color scheme based on a single color.

5. You use the Recolor Artwork dialog box to change the colors used in selected artwork, create and edit color groups, or reassign or reduce the colors in your artwork, among other functions.

6. Live Paint lets you paint vector graphics intuitively, by automatically detecting and correcting gaps that might otherwise affect the application of fills and strokes. Paths divide the drawing surface into areas, any of which can be colored, regardless of whether the area is bounded by a single path or by segments of multiple paths.