Editing Colors and Color Groups


Working with Color Tools in Illustrator


Lesson Info

Editing Colors and Color Groups

Let's look at some of our other color groups that we have. So, when we're working with these colors, I can actually load this color up, and I want to go in the Color Guide, Let's go in the Color Guide, let's open that back up again. I closed out my floating panels. Let's come in here to the Color Guide and here's that group that I just had. So, when I click on it, it automatically loads that into the Color Guide. So, now I already have all those different variations of that particular color group, or that color theme, that I was working with. And I can use any of those to be sort of the launching off point for the next set of color themes, or color harmony rules that I want. So, for instance, I like this color but it doesn't need to be the first one. It can just be the green one. And then, I can say, from that green, come up with a whole nother set of rules. So, let's see what the pentagram for that looks like. It's pretty bright. Maybe I wanna play with, instead, the vivid and muted a...

nd just kinda go with a slightly muted color of that, of that red, or that green, or whatever. So again, we can use that as a launching off point. They don't, they're not stuck together. They just kind of travel together to get into Illustrator and we can jump off from there. Alright, let's go to this item that's here. So, one of the things that we can use is called the recolor artwork. And so basically, this is a tool that let's us take colors that are in our artwork and just sort of, I like to call it a playground. So, I just like to play with the colors that are there. We can do things, I'm gonna show a couple things like, swapping colors and just sort of changing colors overall across a document. In fact, I'm gonna open up... I've got this same item that's here but I've got it four up because sometimes you wanna change just one of the items that's here. And if I decided I wanted to change the frame in this one to yellow, if I change the green or the teal that's here, of course in the swatches, then in its global it's gonna change every where and I don't necessarily want to do that. I just want to make a change to this particular instance of it. So, what we can do is we can select certain items that are here, I'm gonna just, I'm gonna through all of this in just to start with, I'm selecting everything in this particular version of the bike. Now, keep in mind, just because some of these are colors, like it looks like a brown and another brown, this might actually be black or white with some transparency on it. So, sometimes the colors you think you're going to see might not necessarily be the solid colors that are there. Keep in mind that the way that this artwork is built, it's built with more than just solid colors. So, I'm gonna go back into either the color panel and click on the edit colors or I can click on the same button that's up here and that brings up the Recolor Artwork. And it basically looks like the edit color, which is what we had here right, that looks pretty much the same. Although a lot of colors on there. That's because I have all these colors selected. So, anything I have selected ends up here at the top. Now, that's a lot of colors to pick and I'm probably gonna go back and we're not gonna select all those, in a minute, we're gonna change that. But what I wanted to show is that you can bring that in but the Assign is where we're gonna jump to now. So, we get that extra tab, that tab wasn't there before when we just went to Edit Colors, we can only get to the Edit Colors tab. So, it's basically the same thing but now we have this whole other tab available to us. I'm actually gonna cancel out of that and I'm only gonna select a few colors. I'm gonna select the teal and I'm gonna select the red and let's select this orange as well. So, I only have those colors selected and because I only have those colors selected, those are the only ones that are gonna be affected when I make changes to this. So, I'm gonna click the Assign. So, now I have those three colors and right now what it's doing is it's basically mapping colors across the board which is basically what we want. We don't wanna change the colors. I can make sure that nothing's happening by this little Recolor Artwork button. So if I deselect that, it's kind of like a preview. I can see what happened before I recolored and after, once I start recoloring but unlike preview, this actually is doing something. If I don't have it selected, it won't make any changes to the selection. Sometimes you just wanna use the selection as the jumping off point and you don't wanna change the color here, you just wanna have that selected so that the next thing you do will automatically map. So, I'm gonna leave that there. For right now, I'm gonna show you a couple tricks that you can do with this Recolor Artwork. So, one of the things we can do is we can work with the Edit button like we did before, use that as a jumping off point. I had those three colors selected and I realized that out of those I like this orange and I want that to be the base color. I can click on it but I still have to click this to make it the base color. So, once I do that, that becomes the base color and depending on the rule that I'm using, and in this case, there was no rule, I just selected three random colors. So, there isn't a rule, this is just kind of where they live on the wheel and if you notice, they're dashed which means they're not connected in any way. They're not a rule. They're just the three colors that happen to be there. Now, I could make a rule based on that. If I link them, now they're linked. So, even though these were random colors I picked, I've now decided that where they live in saturation and hue and brightness and all they're other saturation and hue anyway, where they live on the color wheel are locked in. So, as I rotate it, they live together like that. So, again, I've sort of created my own color rule which may or may not make any sense but then again, I might end up with a really cool combination based on that, you know? And, because I hit Recolor Artwork, it's changing the color of the artwork that I actually had selected. I could tell it, again, don't recolor it, I just was using those colors as a way to create this new group and the nice thing is once I create a color that I like, or a color combination, I can go ahead and click over here and I can create a new color group based on that. Can I not do a new color group? Oh, there we go. Just click on the new color group that way and now I have those artwork colors. I can change the name of that if I want to. So, I have that ready to go. So I'm like, okay, I made that based on the colors I had selected without actually making changes to the artwork. But again, if I click Recolor Artwork, now it's actually changing it. So this is a great way if I had selected, maybe, both of the orange tires at least, I can move those colors around and just as I make changes I'm changing the actual individual colors of these items without changing the color in the panel, I mean swatches. So, I haven't made permanent changes to that yet but I do have this new set of colors. So, again, if I selected, say the frame and the seat, and I change that, I could save that as a set, I could do another one and save that as a set, and then I can apply that to each of the colors, each of the instances of the bicycle that's there. I'm gonna actually cancel out of that and, actually, before I do, I'm gonna tell you that this one dialogue box has no undue in it. So, if I decided I didn't like the way I moved this and I really liked the color combination I had the last time I stopped spinning the color wheel, I can't get back to that. So, kinda know that, it's not destructive or anything, it's just that once I stop, I can't just go back one step, one incremental step. The only thing I can do is come up here to the little Get Colors from the selection and it will reset it to what it was when I first entered this dialogue box. So just know that. The other thing I could've done is hit cancel and it would've done the same thing but sometimes I wanna stay in the dialogue box and just get rid of what I've done there.

Class Description

How much can there be to Adobe Illustrator’s color tools? A lot!

Adobe Certified Expert and Illustrator guru, Erica Gamet, will walk you through the basic features to help you understand how to pick colors from existing swatches.

In this class, Erica will cover:

  • How color gets introduced into a document
  • How to choose other colors (palettes)
  • Bringing in colors from other sources
  • How to combine shapes and color

This class is for beginning designers or basic InDesign/Photoshop users that dabble in Illustrator and never really explored color in the application.

Software Used: Adobe Illustrator CC 2018



A lot of useful information about work with colors. Solid colors, Gradients, Global Swatches, Color Groups, Object Mosaic for grabbing colors from images, Color Books, Libraries...and so much more! This is a class for those who want to know everything about color management and use of colors in Adobe Illustrator (some information is helpful even for Photoshop and InDesign users). Erica is a great teacher! She has a good articulation. It's important for those like me whose native language is not english. She speaks evenly (neither slowly nor quickly) and to the point. I definitely recommend this class!

Gemma Kelly

Erica is a really clear instructor. I found the class really useful and the pace was great. This will make my workflow much quicker and I cannot wait to put what I have learnt into practice.