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Color Inspiration in Adobe Illustrator

Lesson 39 from: Adobe Illustrator Creative Cloud: Essentials for Creating Projects

Brian Wood

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Lesson Info

39. Color Inspiration in Adobe Illustrator


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


What is Adobe Illustrator?


Explore the Interface


Create and Save New Documents


Zoom and Navigate


Working with Artboards


Introduction to Layers


Rulers and Guides


Shapes and Drawing


Aligning and Combining Shapes


Pen Tool


Manipulating Stroke and Fill


Creating and Editing with Color


Painting with Gradients


Getting Started with Patterns


Adding Text To Your Document


Formatting Text


Strokes and Variable Strokes in Adobe Illustrator


Rotating Objects in Adobe Illustrator


Effects and the Appearance Panel in Adobe Illustrator


Adding Photo Images in Adobe Illustrator


Working with Linked Content in Adobe Illustrator


Packaging your Project for Handoff in Adobe Illustrator


Best Formats to Save Your Files


Select Like a Pro: Layers, Groups, & Other Unique Tools


Edit Paths Like a Pro in Adobe Illustrator


Editing Paths: Pen Tool in Adobe Illustrator


Creating & Applying Brushes to Artwork in Adobe Illustrator


Editing Paths: Knife & Scissor Tool in Adobe Illustrator


Editing Paths: Join Tool in Adobe Illustrator


Editing Paths: Isolation Mode in Adobe® Illustrator®


Pen Tool Shortcuts in Adobe Illustrator


Other Drawing Tools & Methods in Adobe Illustrator


Transforming Techniques in Adobe Illustrator


Shortcut to Reflecting Artwork in Adobe Illustrator


Get to Know Your Appearance Panel in Adobe Illustrator


Exploring Effects in Adobe Illustrator


Work Smarter with Graphic Styles in Adobe Illustrator


Color Inspiration in Adobe Illustrator


Type Effects in Adobe Illustrator


Masking Your Artwork in Adobe Illustrator


Using Creative® Cloud® Libraries in Adobe® Illustrator®


Capture Artwork with Creative Cloud Apps & Adobe Illustrator


Tracing Raster Images in Adobe Illustrator


Blending Artwork in Adobe Illustrator


Using Symbols in Adobe Illustrator


Using a Perspective Grid in Adobe Illustrator


Crash Recovery in Adobe Illustrator


GPU Performance in Adobe Illustrator


Curvature Tool in Adobe Illustrator


App Integration in Adobe Illustrator


Creative Cloud Libraries in Adobe Illustrator App


Shaper Tool in Adobe Illustrator


Smart Guides in Adobe Illustrator


Text Enhancements in Adobe Illustrator


SVG Export in Adobe Illustrator


Lesson Info

Color Inspiration in Adobe Illustrator

Now what we're gonna do is we're gonna do a little bit of color inspiration. I wanna show you how to work just a bit more with color, because this is super important. I want you to select everything out here. Go ahead and select. I'm gonna drag across and select everything that we have. What if I were to ask you right now to go out there and pretend I'm your boss and I say I don't like the green in the back, I don't like the green border, I want the black border to be red, I want you to change all of it up? What we're gonna wind up doing is going to each individual shape and doing that, right? Well I wanna show you a little different way to do this. Instead of us going to all those shapes, which we still could, that's fine, it's a way to work, if I select all these objects, if you look over here in the appearance panel, wherever you guys have it, I'll put it back over here, if you guys look in the appearance panel you're gonna see that right now it's actually telling us that we have a ...

series of what are called mixed objects and mixed appearances. You can't edit the individual shapes in here because tons of stuff is selected. So heres a way to do this. If you take a look up top in the control panel, you're gonna see this button. It's a little innocuous, just hanging out, it's called recolor artwork. Why don't you go ahead and click on that button, recolor artwork. I cannot even tell you how many times I've used this. This is a lifesaver. Because if you have a large project or if you've got a logo or something you're working on and you need to do something like I need to take three of the colors and change them, this is your option. This is what you can do. Now this thing, this dialog box that just opened, is a beast, it is an animal. I'm gonna tell you right now there is no undo. Meaning if you do a bunch of stuff in here and you suddenly realize oh I shouldn't I have done that thing three moves ago or three steps ago, just click cancel and start it again. (chuckles) There's no like oh I'll go back a couple things, you can't do that. So here's what it does. When you have artwork selected, it says oh look, here are all the colors from the artwork that we just found. They list them right here. To the right of that is the new column. The new column says oh okay, well what do you want that color right there on the left to be? So what we can do, this is pretty neat, you make sure that this recolor artwork option is selected down here in the corner. It should be. Come to let's say like the orange right here or maybe one of the greens for instance, come to the new column, click on the button to the right or actually you guys just click on the option, we don't wanna mess with that. Just click on the actual color box right there and you'll see it highlights. You can come down here now and you can start to use different methods to mix a color if you want. So we have what's called HSB, hue, saturation, brightness we can work with. If you wanna work with CMYK, you can come to this little menu and choose that, like CMYK for instance. I can then go in and say hey, let's make it a little more red. I'll go jam it over here and make it a little more red. Look at your artwork. Wherever that color is being used, it is gong to change, which is pretty cool. Now I tend to use this for logos that have like three to five or seven colors or so 'cause it gets a little confusing as to where the color's being used and how they're being used. One of my favorite things to do with this, I hope that makes sense what it's doing, what you're essentially doing is you're taking a color that's out there and you're mapping it to another color. One of my favorite things to do is to actually use what's called a color group and just let Illustrator go. Why don't you do this for me, just come over here. Does everybody see the grays color group on the right over here? Click on it and take a look at your artwork. This is one way to make it gray scale, sort of. If you will. Now it's gonna do some funky things. You're gonna look at it and go ah I don't like that color, it should be lighter, it should be this, it should be that. We can go in and affect them. So you can see we've got all the colors out here, we can start to change them if we want to. I can click on each one of these gray colors and say let's lighten that one up a little bit, let's click on this one. It was green and let's darken that one or lighten that one. You can see we can start to kinda affect things out here. It a little bit of a crapshoot, you're kinda going in saying well, I don't know if I know what color that is, but we can try it out. Hopefully that makes sense. It's interesting. This is something that I don't think gets a lot of play, let's just say that. You don't see it a lot. I use it all the time. The other thing you can do, I found a trick that if you start working, I told you I said well oh I don't want gray anymore I want it to go back where it was, there is a little trick you could pull in here. If you mess it up and you're like forget gray I want to go back to the colors, you can see right up here there is a get colors from selected artwork again. It lets you kinda start again. So if you click on that it's just gonna go sample again and put them back out there and you can kinda restart. To me I look at this and I have a very analytical brain and this mapping thing makes sense to me. I'm like that's killer. If you're more visual for instance this many not be as great. That's why they give us this. If you look right up here we have two ways to edit these colors, we have edit and we have a sign. Click on edit and you get a color wheel. This is definitely more visual. You can see all the colors represented out there. And what we can do now is if you go out and start dragging these things, you can edit them either independently or to me this is the best part. If you look right down here there's a little thing that you can link all the colors together and edit them together. So if I click on this link colors together, all those lines now are solid. If I grab one of these little circles with just the color and drag it around, look what it does. So it's gonna start to change the color overall. So we can shift the entire thing to a different color palette if we want to. It's just kinda neat. That's awesome. Same thing in here, if you wanna change the brightness or darkness in here there's a little slider at the bottom. You can kinda go darker or lighter overall, you can do that too. There's just so many ways to work in here. I just can't even tell ya. I don't wanna keep going with this 'cause we've got some other things that we need to do, but this is pretty awesome. If you are happy with what you have, leave it. I'm not personally if you look at my purple out there. So what I'm gonna do is I'm either gonna click cancel or I'm gonna go get colors from selected art. I can click cancel, that's fine. And we'll go back to where we were. Okay. All right, little bit of color inspiration. I mentioned this in a beginner class, but I do wanna mention it again. We have the color guide panel over on the right. If you wanna click on that you can and take a look at it. This is actually found under the window menu color guide. Find it right there. Color guide panel is pretty cool because it allows you to create color palettes based on a selected color. Why don't you click on the circle in the back, the fuzzy circle in the back there. I don't even know what that is, I don't know what to call it. And if you come up to color guide and take a look, it's a little wacky, they don't really tell you this, but what you wanna do is you wanna set the base color. Mine's already set, but this little square right here, go ahead and click on it. Just click on it. It may not change, but that sets what's called the base color that every color it's about to make is based on. You're gonna now see that it's just kinda picked a bunch of colors based on that one, based on I don't know what that is. But if you come to the arrow to the right here and click on that, you can now pick complimentary, split, analogous, shades of that. If I wanna pick shades of that color maybe, I love that one. So I can go shades. It's gonna allow me to create a series of colors based on that color. I can then save them and use them. It's not affecting my artwork out here, this is just used as a starting point to say grab the color from this. Now I like this because I can look and by the way if you do decide to save, which I'll show you in a second, only these colors in this box right here are gonna be saved. These colors down here are for you to select. If I'm looking at this color bunch and I'm like you know what I want them to be darker overall or something like that, I can come right down here and say you know what let's start with this color right here instead. It's gonna allow me to then set that as the base color. So I can say set that as the base color and it's gonna reconfigure it and start to work from there. So you can go down a little rabbit hole here and just kinda keep working, keep working, keep working. As you create color in here, you can save the colors. Why don't you all do this. There's a button right down here and if you look at the tool tip on it, it says save color group to swatch panel. There's no panel called the swatch panel, it's called the swatches panel, this is my analytical brain kicking in right here. Go ahead and click on that. And if you go look at the swatches panel right now, go click on the swatches panel over here on the right, you might need to scroll down in here but you will now see your color group living in there. So this is a way for us to make a whole bunch of colors we might wanna use in our artwork. The colors we create here are only saved with this document. There are ways to get it across and we're gonna talk about that in the next section. Hopefully that makes sense. A little bit of color inspiration, something we can do there that I absolutely love.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Project Files Part 1
Project Files Part 2

Ratings and Reviews


I am a pretty computer literate person but an Ai beginner i.e. I am completely new to the Creative Cloud/Adobe Illustrator. (This is also the first time I've used CreativeLive.) I think this course it is fantastic. The pace is good as is the content which progressed logically and covers all the basics you'd hope it would. The course is 2 full days' worth of material but it is broken down into segments so you can revisit or skip through as you need to. The presenter is really personable and easy to watch (even for me, a Londoner!). I would also say I think it is pretty good value for money -- I am currently enrolled on a part time course, basically doing the same sort of stuff, and I have to say this is better and a bit cheaper! I definitely recommend it to you!


A brilliantly designed course. it's almost magic. It's everything you hope for in a follow-along software class. Brian Wood has engineered it so that you start on a project that just needs basics, and then you move on to more & more complicated projects, and almost without realizing it you've learned Illustrator. This doesn't just happen -- Wood has clearly put a LOT of effort into creating this course. Here's one trivial example: he doesn't overload you with a lot of keyboard shortcuts right at the beginning -- you start with the actions themselves, using the (admittedly tedious but easy) pulldown menus, and then after you're comfortable with what you're doing, he'll throw in the shortcut. It may seem obvious, but so many instructors feel they have to give you an extensive foundation of definitions, shortcuts, interfaces, etc., before you ever do anything. Good stuff to know, but you'll never remember it. Wood has you up and working almost immediately. And he's a joy to listen to, at a perfect pace. Highly recommended.

Philippe LIENARD

Top course. Very well explained, clear, good examples, pleasant teacher. I like it and recommend it. One suggestion, it would be nice to have a detailed table of content of the course in the material. For instance, it took me quite a while to find back the part of the course where how to make a gear was explained.

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