Skip to main content

A Complete Guide to Color in Adobe Illustrator

Lesson 3 of 15

Swatches Panel

 

A Complete Guide to Color in Adobe Illustrator

Lesson 3 of 15

Swatches Panel

 

Lesson Info

Swatches Panel

to begin working with color in illustrator. Once you've created your new document and you've chosen your color space, we want to be able to draw some shapes like I've done here and be able to apply color to the fill of the object or the stroke around the object here. The outline, the border, whatever you wanna call it. So what we're gonna need is we're gonna need our swatch panel. So I've got my SWATCH panel here and you can call that up by going under the window menu down to swatches. Right here. Bring that up. I also have my control bar up here as well. You may not have the control bar and Illustrator 2021. The default preferences do not show the control bar not a problem. Go into the window menu and at the very top here. Just make sure control is checked. When control is not checked here, you can see the control bar will disappear. I like to have the control bar up here because when we're working with this, there's a lot of useful items here, including the drop down menu for our swa...

tches for fill in our stroke. Let's talk about the swatches panel. I'm going to tear this off over here so we can see what we've got in terms of the swatches panel. This is the default list of swatches that comes up in Illustrator. They're all small thumbnail views. And you can change that view by clicking on the little lines here, which is gonna be my list view or the thumbnail of you. Either way, whatever you feel comfortable with clicking on the drop down menu, which I call the cheese grater, you see, you can have a small thumbnail view, which is currently the default, a medium thumbnail view that makes those swatches larger a large thumbnail view, which makes them even larger. And then we can have a list view a small list, which is going to give you small previews, small names and then large list, which is going to give you much larger. Swatch is same size names. I prefer the medium thumbnail view because it's just about the right size to quickly go and select those colors. But you set up whatever preference you like in terms off the size and also whether it's going to be a thumbnail list or a small list view as well. Now I can select any object that I have created here. Go in, draw shape, draw line and I can apply these colors to my object in my swatches panel, you'll see we have two boxes here. I have my fill and I have my stroke. When I hover over these, it'll tell me what they are, and it will tell me also. Ah, quick way to get to the fill portion of my object or the stroke If you bring the stroke forward when you apply a color by clicking on it here in your swatches panel, it will apply a stroke color to your object. If you want your fill color to be active, then you have to click on this and bring the fill color forward, and then you can go ahead and apply that color to the your fill on your object. This is the reason why I like to have my stroke or my control panel up here. When I select an object here, my Swatch panel, which is identical to my floating Swatch panel, comes up and I can select my fill Swatch panel or I can select my stroke Swatch panel. These watch panels are identical. It's just nice to be able to go in and not have to switch back and forth between the stroke and the Phil here. I could just simply target the fill Swatch panel and select that, or I can then go into the stroke Swatch panel and Aiken target that which allows me to put a stroke on there and then bump up the stroke. Wait right here. I don't have to remember to bring the stroke to the front and then accidentally apply something that I wanted to apply to the Phil and remember to bring that forward. So that's one of the things I like having is the control bar right here something that I've been used to having. Now you'll notice when you hover over your swatch panel here and you see your fill in your stroke, it says you can click XTO activate and by clicking the X, just type in X on your keyboard. Here you'll notice that it will bring your fill to the front or your stroke to the front, so that's a nice little caveat right there. So if you're working quickly and you notice that your Phil is in the background and your stroke is now in front on your active object. If you just simply type X that will now bring your stroke, Send your stroke to the back, bring your field to the front, and now when you apply a color, it will automatically apply to the one that you want to have Phil or, in this case, the stroke. And now I can use either one of those. I've always liked this method here because this gives me the drop down menus of either one. When you are working with these watch panels, you can click on a little cheese grater here with these drop downs, and you can also set small, medium or large thumbnails, and you can also resize thes to the size that you feel comfortable with so you can make thes narrower. You can make these wider, and so every time you call up either the Swatch panel for your fill or the Swatch panel for your stroke. You can see what you have in terms of colors, default colors and patterns right here. So this is just literally a duplicate of your swatch panel over here. Anything that we do to this watch panel weaken due to the swatch panel that's active right under here as well. Now, illustrator has a default list of swatches here, and you can see all this watch is that Aaron here, including some Grady INTs and some patterns. They also have a whole list of grays and some primary colors here, put into sets is well, not a problem. Now we can create new color swatches here very easily. But what I want to show you now is I want to show you how we can go in. And you can also use other methods in order to go ahead and pick color. And a very common thing that people do well, they'll go down to their bottom of their toolbar here and click on either there, Phil or their stroke. And when you click on your fellow your stroke, your little color panel will pop up here. We're gonna get to the color panel in a bit. So I'm just going to close this again. I'm just going to click on my fill or my stroke here with my object active, and I'm gonna double click on my fil or my stroke and this is going to call up the color picker and in the color picker here I can choose a color based on my RGB values or my HSB hue, saturation and brightness. Brightness is usually the one that people like, because then you can simply click and you can move your cursor all around the screen to go ahead and pick the hue. And then you can choose your saturation or your lightness here by sliding these little pointers up and down the little midsection right here and choose a color. Now, when you choose a color by using the color picker method and in clicking okay, it will apply that color to your selected object. It will not put it into your swatches panel. So if you go in and you choose a color and this is the color that you'd like to have and you click OK, that color is now in your object here, but it does not appear in your swatches panel. If you then click on another color and you begin working with other colors and you want to get this color back right here, you can't just click on your object and go into your swatch panel and have that color because we didn't put it into our swatch panel. So this is great for on the fly color picking. Select your object. Double click on your fill or your stroke in order to go ahead and choose the color for either your fellow your stroke. Pick that color by using your brightness radio button here to get your full spectrum of color and then click on the color hue. And then do you can do your saturation or your brightness here and click OK applies to your active color. Now, one thing that does happen quite a lot is people will go in and they'll forget to select a color. So what they do was the click on their fill or their stroke. They'll double click and call up their color picker. They'll pick a color, they'll set their human saturation. They'll click OK, and they realized now that they had for gotten to have something selected, not a problem. However, when they start drawing their next shape, they can't figure out why. This next shape now has this Phil and stroke color in it. Well, This is what happens when you go in and you have nothing selected, and you choose a color for your Fillon stroke. You have now just set the default for your fill and your stroke. How do you set it so that you have no color for your fill or no color for your stroke? Have nothing selected in your document. Go to your fill, and if you want to change the color, double click on it. Change the color using your color picker. If you want no color, you can go down and click on this slash, and you can see the shortcut is that slash which your keyboard shortcuts. They're going to be your slash there, which is shared with your question Marquis, and you can actually set this so there is no fill color. So when you do draw a shape from here on out, your default will not have a fill color in it. You could do the same thing with a stroke color as well. If you want no stroke color, have nothing active. Select a stroke color, change the color or set that to none so that when you currently draw, you will have no fill in no stroke. All of your shapes will have no color properties applied to them at all. So this is a very common thing to Dio. You can set your default by just simply going in choosing a color. And there's your new default. Everything you draw from here on out will be that color. We have no stroke color and therefore we get no stroke color on our object. So these are things that can be quite useful when you're going in and you're setting up color. Now I've started off my color here, and it's an RGB mode because I may be creating something for a website. But then I'm like, Oh my gosh, I need to set this up for print. Not a problem, because the RGB spectrum is going to give you much more color range than C. M y que. However, when you create colors and RGB, a lot of those colors will not be actual colors that you can print correctly with. So let's go over to our Swatch panel and we're gonna start creating some new colors. A very simple way to do this is to go to your cheese grater in your swatches panel and choose the very first item here. New Chris, watch up comes our new swatch in here because our color mode in our document is RGB week at our color type and our color mode is RGB. Maybe you want to create a color and see em like maybe you want to go ahead and create one using HSB. You can use any different color mode. It doesn't have to match the color mode here. Normally, people do match the color mode because if you're in this RGB mode and you're building something, you want to keep it in RGB so you can use your sliders to go back and forth to go ahead and create the color that you'd like when you click. OK, I'm not gonna add this to my library yet. We're gonna talk about libraries later on in this video. I'm going to go and I'm going to slide my sliders and I'm going to click OK, and it's going to add that color to buy Swatch panel right here. There it is. Great. I happened to have that object selected. So when I went in and I applied to color to it. There is my color. Great. Okay, So easy way to create new color swatches. Swatches, cheese grater, Drop down menu. Go in. Use my sliders to create the color. And good to go If I would like to create something in a different color mode So I want to do see em like I could do that as well. I could go in and I can change my sliders and I can pick a color and I can click. Ok, it adds that color to my swatch panelas. Well, I could then select my object, select the Phil or the stroke that I would like to apply that color to and apply that color to my object right there. Beautiful. Okay. How could I go ahead and create colors and put them into my swatch panel in a way that is not through my actual swatches here? Well, we could do that using the color picker, but we can also go in and we can choose colors by calling up our color panel. And this had popped up several times when we had gone in and we had chosen to color if we went into our color picker chosen to color here, and then our color panel pops up right here by default. The color panel is small. It's not showing all the options. If you click on the little drop down menu here, choose the show options and you're going to be able to see all of your options to be able to go in and create color. Now, the color panel is kind of a halfway point in between our color picker that we click on over here and are toolbar and our swatches panel. And why did I say that? Well, if I select an object here, I can actively change the color of the object by using by RGB sliders here putting in a hex color or using this RGB color spectrum that sits at the bottom of my color panel. I can increase the size of this RGB spectrum by clicking on the bottom here and pulling this open. So I get a much more expanded visible spectrum here and just simply hover over and I can click on any one of these here and actively change the color. Okay, just like I would with my color picker. But I don't have to go in and open up my color picker, do something and then click OK, and close it. Now, this will give me my out of gamut warning. So if I click on that, you'll notice that the color will change in this case drastically. And what happened here is that if I was going to use this for print, the color that I had chosen here is not sufficient for print. It won't reproduce in C m y que if I click on the out of gamut warning. This is the closest version of this color that I can get to that's going to print. If I'd like to go in and choose other color modes here, go to the color panel, drop down and I can do gray scale, which is going to give me all different shades of gray. I can choose my c n y que as well, which will give me my C n y que sliders. It will also give me my CM week spectrum as well that I can click on and any colors that I pick in the spectrum here. I don't have to worry about out of gamut because thes air colors that are going to be easily printable. So I have all different color modes that I can have access to. One thing that's a benefit of this color panel is that with a grayscale here, I can't get the grayscale very easily out of my color picker. Okay? But I can hear I can choose all of these items right there. Grayscale, rgb hue, saturation brightness, C M Y k or any web safe RGB if you do have to work in that mode now, once you choose the color by picking it through your color spectrum here you can Then click on the cheese grater and in orderto add this to your swatches panel, you can choose create new Swatch. And what this does is this goes in and this calls it up and allows you to call up the new Swatch panel. You just simply have to click, OK? And it's now gonna add that swatch to your panel right here, which is really nice. Okay, so a simple way to do that. I'm gonna close out of this color panel because we are going to come back and revisit it because something happened here when we added that color, you'll see our entire color panel closed are switched over. We're gonna explain that here, because that's very important. But I wanna continue on with different ways that we can get color into our document here because these air all the defaults watches here. We're not stuck with those defaults watches, and we're also not stuck with making our own by going in and either creating a new colors watch or doing our color picker or calling up our color panel like I showed you at the bottom, I can click on my basically my default color libraries that are built into illustrator. I have thousands of different color setups here I have, and these are all different sets of colors that have been pre installed in Illustrator, and it just gives you a whole bunch of beautiful sets of colors that you could go and choose based on whatever color theme you have. So so you're doing something for art history. They have Baroque and Impressionism, so let's try Impressionism. What it will do is it will bring up a floating window with all of the colors that Adobe has put together. That basically sums up Impressionism Great Okay, here they are. I can use them directly out of this window here from this library. If I'd like to include these in my swatches panel and close this, I can very easily click on the folder from this Impressionism window or any other window that I've called them from a color libraries and just simply drag that into and put that into the location in my swatch panel. And now all those are readily available to me from this library. We have thousands of different ones. Here's all my defaults. Watches here. Corporate color swatches, earth tones, food ingredients, metal nature, kids stuff, fun stuff. And we also have color books, process colors, spot colors, PMS. You may have heard them called. We're gonna talk about spot colors in another portion of this video coming up. But this is where if you did have a PMS color or Pantone matching system color and somebody gives you that color, you could go under your swatch libraries. Here, go under color books, call up your Pantone panel right here, and it's going to give you all of your Pantone colors here. You could do a quick search. Somebody says I'm going to use Pantone 3 56. You type in Pantone and you click on it right there, and it puts it into your swatch panel as usable panel. So these libraries air here for you lots and lots of other libraries that you can go ahead and use just by calling up that particular library. It opens in a panel here. You then grab that folder or multiple folders. If you want multiple folders, you can click on a folder and then hold down your shift key. Select multiple folders or, if you want, just one folder. Click on that folder, and when you click on it, it will bring it right in. Or you can drag them right in a swell if you want to do it that way either way, so lots of different ways that you can get color into your swatch panel, you can make it right there by creating a new color swatch. You can drag them in from your libraries as well. Now a few other little items here that we're going to cover, but I just wanna walk through the swatches panel here. This will open our color themes panel. We have a section on color themes. We're going to go ahead and we're gonna be able to pull swatches from an existing piece of artwork. We can show certain kinds of swatches. We can edit our colors. Here. We can create a new color group. If we would like to group our colors together, a little shortcut here to creating new color swatch. We can click on this plus, instead of going into the drop down menu and creating a new color swatch. And then we can also delete us. Watch that we don't want tohave or group of swatches here by selecting it or the entire group and clicking on the trash can Here, There you go. Now let's jump back up to the control bar here because you'll notice all the changes that I've been making to my swatch panel are readily available here in my stroke and my my fill and my stroke Swatch panel right here. So any changes that are made here or here are reflected in both those areas. One interesting thing about using the control bar Swatch panels here is you notice when I hover over this, a little tool hint comes up and says, Hold the shift key down to bring up a alternate color user interface. So if you hold down your shift key and you click on this, you'll notice that you can call up different interfaces here. I'm gonna select a different color here, And if I hold down my shift key, you can see that this is a C M Y K one. I can click on my fill or my stroke right here. I have got my stroke. So if I hold down shift and I select my fill, I can use different color modes, which can be changed right here. And basically what this is is This is the color panel, but this is like a quick little shortcut to get to the color panel by shift clicking on your fill or shift clicking on your stroke drop down here in your control bar. That's the only place that you can shift kick click to call up your alternate panel. Now, one last place that these colors air going to reside is in your properties panel in smaller situations where your laptop doesn't have as large of a screen here, the properties panel is gonna be very nice because it's going to take the place of your control bar. If I select a shape in here, you'll notice that my properties panel, my appearance panel will come up and I have my fill and I can click on my fill right here. And when I click on my fill, this is going to give me my Swatch panel and see how it's exactly the same. And I can have my entire list of swatches to scroll through. Or I have my color palette, my color mixer here that I can then go in and I can say, Okay, I'd like this color green. I can now go to my color mixer here, and I can change the C M Y K values. Or I can switch the color mode here, and I can edit these right here in my properties panel. Same thing with the stroke. I simply click on my object. Here I click on the stroke icon. I get my list of swatches. I get my color mixer so that I can then go in and I can add a stroke to this right now. There currently is no stroke color active. That's why the slash is there. So I could apply a stroke color if I want to. To this, and I can use my color mixer to change that stroke or my entire visible spectrum here to go and do that. If I decided that I would like to have a stroke around my object. If not, I could always go in and say I want no stroke, which is that little slash right there takes the stroke color off and removes the stroke from my object right there. Now a couple other nice useful tricks with going and applying color in many cases, if you don't have your control bar up here, it's very common when you're using your swatches panel or your color picker that you may end up applying a color to the wrong portion of your object. I meant to put it on the stroke. I accidentally had to fill active, so when I applied that color, it went thio to fill. Instead of remembering to click on the stroke, bring that forward and then apply that color to it. Not a problem here in my color, right where my color picker is at the bottom of my toolbar. You'll notice I have a little double ended arrow here. This will swap the stroke for the Phil and that shortcut right there. If you hover over that, that is Shift X. Because, remember, X is going thio. Bring the stroke to the front and make that active click X again, and that now brings might fill to the front and makes that active shift. X, however, will flop those two colors so it just simply sweeps basically swaps the stroke for the Phil Phil for the stroke. If you'd like to get back to the default colors of black and white down in the lower left, nested inside. Here is the default color, the default stroke and fill that illustrator starts, which, which is black and white, that can also be accessed just by clicking the letter D. You can see that that's the shortcut right there, so the letter D will get you back to that stroke and fill shift. X will swap the stroke for the fill. So now the Phyllis Black the stroke is white and do de again brings you back to the default of black and white. So a lot of interesting things that we can do with these particular items. I'm just gonna go to my control bar and I'm going to bump up the stroke a little bit more now. One interesting thing that I can dio is I can actually go and without having my object selected, I contract and drop and plunk this right onto an existing object. You see that? So we don't have any object selected. And if I would like to take this color and I'm just going to drag it right onto my object, you see, it applies to my object. That's pretty cool. I'm gonna go over here and I'm going to apply it to my object. And it's like, Why doesn't it do it to the stroke? Well, the reason why is when I come over here and I drop this on here, I can't really tell it. Okay, put it on the stroke or the Phil. However, if I bring my stroke to the front and I drop it on this object, you'll notice that it will then apply to the stroke. So, interestingly enough, whatever you have active, the stroke of the Phil doesn't even require you to have your object selected. It is simply a drag and drop method. However, make sure that you fill if you want your filled to be active, that that is brought to the front. If you want your stroke, make sure your stroke is brought to the front because whatever you drag and drop on there, it will apply it based on what you have chosen here in your swatches panel or in your color picker. Okay, make sure your stroke or your fill is active before you go and drag and drop that on there. So these were just very basic things to get. You started into creating color swatches here, the different places where you're going to see them in your control bar in your swatches panel in your properties panel on Lee when your object is selected, or being able to go ahead and choose colors from your color picker here by double clicking and calling up a color here and creating a color based on either your color spectrum or from here see like values right here by entering those values in and getting the color that way Pretty interesting. But that's just the very basic start That's how you get colors in here and you begin to use them. But there's a whole lot more to color because now what we're going to talk about is the color panel.

Class Description

AFTER THIS CLASS YOU’LL BE ABLE TO:

  • Understand color modes.
  • Create colors, save them to your library and export for use in other applications.
  • Explore color harmonies and color themes.
  • Use the recolor artwork feature to create alternate artwork colors.
  • Create tints, opacity and blending modes.

ABOUT JASON'S CLASS:

Intro to Color in Adobe illustrator is for those who are looking for a deeper and broader knowledge of color in illustrator. This class takes you from the very basics of creating swatches and picking colors by using the color picker, to being able to set up color modes for web, mobile or print projects. Using the Color Picker and Color panels, this class will explain different color modes such as RGB, CMYK and HSB as well as how to apply these color modes in your work.

The series expands to using the Adobe Color themes and Color Guide to search, edit and create new sets of color swatches to best suit your projects. Adobe color website and additional options for creating color swatches, as well as using images to inspire your color palette.

More advanced features of color include the Recolor artwork, mapping spot colors to existing colors as well as an overview of spot colors, blend modes and opacity. Color accessibility is explained to adjust artwork for color blindness. Blend modes and opacity as well as spot colors round out this course. A few tips and best practices are included for how to set up a color palette for specific projects and to share, save and export these color palettes for other projects.

WHO THIS CLASS IS FOR:

  • Beginners who are learning illustrator basics
  • Artists and creators who want to explore color harmonies and color themes
  • Advanced users who want to master color creating, editing and management

SOFTWARE USED:

Adobe Illustrator CC 2021

ABOUT YOUR INSTRUCTOR:

An Adobe® Certified Expert and Adobe® Certified Instructor, Jason Hoppe has accrued more than 17 years’ experience in high-end production training, photo retouching, color correction, and creative workflow management. In fact, Jason has been performing high-end electronic production since the industry’s inception. Also during this time, Jason has taught prepress and electronic design to hundreds of Seattle-based creative professionals and aspiring designers in a variety of settings, including one-on-one tutoring, classroom instruction, live webcasting, and large group training. He currently teaches the Adobe® Creative Suite at The School of Visual Concepts, Luminous Works and Seattle Central College and was the founding Instructor at CreativeLive.

Lessons

  1. Intro from Jason
  2. Intro to Color in Illustrator

    Overview of RGB and CMYK color modes. File setup and color mode options, converting color modes, RGB, CMYK, HSB, Hex colors.

  3. Swatches Panel

    Swatches panel overview, color modes, swatch creation, panel options, default colors, global colors and built-in libraries, remove and replace colors. Apply colors to fill and stroke, shortcuts and tricks

  4. Color Panel

    Explore color creation using the color panel, color picker, creating tints and shades, understanding out of gamut colors. Access RGB, CMYK, HSB, Lab and HEX colors for swatch creation.

  5. Eye Dropper Tool

    Sampling colors from artwork or images, add sampled color to the Swatches panel. Tips and tricks on how to sample colors and add them to the Swatches panel

  6. Color Themes Panel

    Create,, explore and edit color themes, add colors to the swatches panel, explore basic color harmony rules. Explore more options at color.adobe.com and sample colors from images and create gradients from artwork or images and add these colors to the Library Panel.

  7. Color Guide Panel

    Setting panel options, base colors, explore color harmonies. Set tints and shades, warm and cool colors and vivid and muted color ranges. Add selected colors to the Swatches panel.

  8. Gradients Panel

    Create and edit gradients, apply colors, change color stops. Explore linear, radial and freeform gradients. Apply gradients on strokes.

  9. Recolor Artwork

    Edit color and color sets, recolor artwork based on the color rules, change artwork colors based on applied swatches

  10. Color Blend Modes and Opacity

    Explore blend modes on how colors can be combined. Practical applications of blend modes and opacity.

  11. Spot Colors

    Understand what spot colors are and how and why they are used. Access the Pantone Matching System (PMS) color library in the Swatches panel to choose spot colors. Convert process colors to the matching spot color using the Recolor Artwork panel.

  12. CC Libraries Panel

    Creative Cloud Libraries panel overview to save colors, graphics or artwork for use in other Illustrator files or other Adobe Applications. Add content to the library and access the library in any Adobe Application or via the web at assets.adobe.com/libraries.

  13. Color Modes, Proofing Colors and Accessibility

    Set color modes; RGB or CMYK. Convert colors in a file to either color mode. Work on files that are to be used for both print and web and see how to proof colors on screen to see what the color result will be in the end use. Set up colors for Accessibility, specifically for color blindness.

  14. Import and Export Colors

    Best practices for creating a color palette, importing the colors used in the file into the Swatches Panel. Export colors as and Adobe Swatch Exchange file (.ASE) for use in other Illustrator files and other Adobe Applications.

  15. Outro from Jason

Reviews

Paula Ayers
 

Well taught and super useful. Will be looking at his other classes.