Color Freedom – Using the Recolor Artwork Tool in Adobe Illustrator | Jessica Swift | Skillshare

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Color Freedom – Using the Recolor Artwork Tool in Adobe Illustrator

teacher avatar Jessica Swift, Surface Pattern Designer + Artist

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

13 Lessons (58m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Introduction to Color in Illustrator

    • 3. What Can Be Recolored in Illustrator?

    • 4. Choosing A Color Palette

    • 5. Saving Color Palettes and Color Groups

    • 6. Let's Talk About Pantones

    • 7. Recoloring Artwork

    • 8. Recoloring: Using Color Groups

    • 9. Recoloring: Using Pantones

    • 10. Locking Colors

    • 11. Saving Files

    • 12. Class Project

    • 13. Final Thoughts

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About This Class


Color is a fun, exciting, incredibly important, and sometimes intimidating part of illustrating and designing. Adobe Illustrator makes using, editing, and mastering color a fun, simple, empowering, and inspiring process.

Do you get stuck in a rut when you’re trying to choose color palettes or just not know which colors work well together and why? Is it super tedious changing one color at a time in Illustrator, or do you find yourself wishing there were a faster way to edit and experiment with colors in your artwork? Do you simply wish you had a fun and easy way to change colors that would give you a new sense of freedom and inspiration in your art-making process? If your answer to any of these questions is YES, then this class is for you!

In this class you’ll learn how to use my very favorite tool in Adobe Illustrator: The Recolor Artwork Tool. You will learn to quickly and easily change colors in your artwork and come up with new color combinations that you'd never considered before. Get ready for the doors to your color freedom to swing wide open!

Please note: this class assumes a basic working knowledge of Adobe Illustrator. My surface pattern design classes, Pattern Camp Level I and Pattern Camp Level II, will teach you the basics and beyond. Start there if you want to dive into the fantastic and versatile world of Adobe Illustrator from the beginning!

What You’ll Learn

  • What can and can’t be recolored with the Recolor Artwork Tool
  • How to choose a color palette
  • Creating and saving new color palettes and color groups
  • What Pantones are and how and when to use them
  • Converting colors and artwork to Pantones
  • Using the color randomizer within the Recolor Artwork Tool
  • Using color groups to test colorways within the Recolor Artwork Tool
  • Manually changing colors with the Recolor Artwork Tool
  • Locking colors
  • Using Global Adjustments
  • Saving different colorways

What You’ll Need

  • A computer
  • Adobe Illustrator (you can start a free trial right here)

Meet Your Teacher

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Jessica Swift

Surface Pattern Designer + Artist

Top Teacher


I'm Jessica Swift, a full-time artist and surface pattern designer in Portland, Oregon. I'm glad you're here!

I make art because it makes me feel happy, hopeful, and alive. Simple as that. I design products of my own, like oracle cards, art prints, and greeting cards, and I also collaborate with all kinds of companies to make cool products  like fabric, stationery, rugs, puzzles, and more.

But I also make art because I want happiness, hope, and aliveness for you, too. You matter. (Yes, YOU!) So much.

I'm passionate about teaching and sharing the skills I've learned along the way so I can hopefully help make your journey one filled with ease, inspiration, and clarity.

Everything I create is designed to make you feel GOOD. I want... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hey. I'm Jessica Swift and I'm a surface pattern designer in Portland, Oregon. I design repeating patterns for products like fabric, stationery, rugs, things like that, and I use Adobe Illustrator to design those patterns. My very favorite tool within Adobe Illustrator is something called the recolor artwork tool, which is what this class is all about. If you are somebody who gets stuck in a rut color wise, if you tend to use the same color palettes over and over, if you don't know how to put together a compelling color palette, if you just want a fun and easy way to play with color and see what new options and combinations you can come up with, this class is for you. You'll learn what kind of colors work together and why, and how to create an interesting, unique, and attractive color palette for your artwork, as well as how to easily and quickly change and edit and experiment with the colors within that palette right on your screen with a few simple clicks of your mouse. I'm excited to teach you how to use this amazing tool and to help you unlock the doors to incredible color freedom in your own world of designing fantastic color palettes and amazing color variations. 2. Introduction to Color in Illustrator: Let's start off class by talking a bit about how to use and work with color in Illustrator. Let's dive in. I've got a new document open here in Illustrator and the two pallets that we'll be working with or the two panels are the Swatches palette and this Color palette here. If either of those are not open already, when you open a new Illustrator document, you can find those here under the Window menu, so Swatches and Color, so make sure those are open. The first thing that I actually like to do is get rid of all of these default colors that show up in Illustrator when you open a new document, because I like to have a blank, fresh palette that I can use to create my own custom color palettes. So you can simply click on one and drag it to the trash can, doing it one at a time, or if you'd like to do a faster way, or if you'd like to delete them in a faster way, you can click on the first one here and then hold down the Shift key on your keyboard, click on the last color and that will select all of the squares and then you can click hold and drag down to that trash can and now you've got a blank palette to work with. The main place from where you'll be choosing colors is the color picker tool, which is right over here and I'm going to take away that black there just to make things easy. That's the stroke square and this is the fill square. If you double-click here on the fill square, you'll see the color picker shows up and you can simply drag your cursor around and you'll see the color changing depending on where you're dragging, in this rectangle over here. You can also drag these arrows around and that will change the color, change the hue and then once you get a color that you like, you can simply click Okay and that color will show up in the color picker here. To get it into your Swatches palette so you can use it again and again in your designing, you simply click, hold, and drag on that color and just drag it right over to your swatches palette, let go and now you've got that color in your Swatches palette to use again and again. You can do that as many times as you like, just double-clicking on that color picker, clicking Okay and then click, hold, and drag over, double-click, choose something different. Click, hold, and drag and provide some kind of green. Click, hold, and drag. Okay, that's the color picker tool. There are also a couple of other places where you can choose different colors and one of them is this color panel here. It may show up like this, with just this color bar here and to get to those other options, you can click on these little three lines and go to Show Options and that will open up these RGB sliders. So you can either move those around and you'll see that changes the color in the color picker and you may be able to get to a color that you like that way. You'll see if you have over this color bar, the eyedropper tool shows up and you can simply click around on that color bar and you'll get to different colors there as well. You can move those sliders around and get to something that you like. If it's close to something that you like but not quite right, and you just can't get there in that color panel, you can always double-click here and move it around again in the color picker, a variety of ways that you can get to some interesting colors and then click, hold, and drag that over to your Swatches panel. The last place that I want to show you about color or places that you can find different colors, is this little drop-down menu here, and it has a whole bunch of different color books in it. So if you scroll over these, you'll see there are different color books, different pantone colors, which we'll get to later in the class, when and why and how you should use pantone colors and if you even need to at all. If you click these open, you'll see different groups that Illustrator has already saved, these ones are called earth tone. Illustrator has created these pellets already, so you can simply drag that over if you want to use that whole pallet, going to edit, undo that. If you just click on these, one at a time, you'll see that's choosing that color right in the color picker and you can just drag that over if there's one color that you like. You may also like to see these larger, so again, if you click on these little three lines, this will fan out some different options in most of these menus and I always like to go to large thumbnail view because then I can see the colors a bit bigger, those little tiny squares are hard to see what's going on. That's another way. There are lots of different options here, I'll show you. Let's go to one of these pantone books, and again, I'll go to Large Thumbnail View and so you can see all of these different pantones. Again, when you click on the pantones, they automatically add into your swatches palette, so if that happens, you can always edit undo, like if there's a color that you added by mistake, that you don't want to keep in there. Or you can simply always drag one color at a time to the trash can to keep your palettes clean and how you want them looking. 3. What Can Be Recolored in Illustrator?: You may be asking yourself, what can I even recolor in Illustrator? How do I color something in Illustrator? Illustrator is a vector program, which means that every motif for every illustration or design that you will be working with in Illustrator, if you want to change and edit the colors, will need to be a vector. Let me show you how. I've got a JPEG black and white line drawing here. This is just a JPEG, this is not a vector, so you'll see it. I've got this selected and if I click over on these colors in my swatches palette here, nothing is happening because this image is not yet editable because it's not a vector. I'll show you a quick and easy way to turn this into a vector. I encourage you if you want more training about vectorizing artwork, I encourage you to go back to my Pattern Camp Level 1 class where I go into a lot more detail about how and why to do this. But for now I'll just show you a quick and dirty way. You'll see, if I select my image, there's a button up here called Image Trace, and you can simply click on that and it'll do the default trace. Or if you click on this arrow here, some different options show up and you can play around with those. I would encourage you to just test out all the different options to see what it does to your artwork. I've got one that I created the settings that I like for how to trace it, so I just clicked on that. I call it fave trace. Then the last step that you'll need to do to turn it into a vector is go to this Expand button, and now you'll see when that's selected, I can click on the colors in my palette and it changes the color of the artwork. You can also double-click again on the color picker tool, move that around and click "Okay," and that changes the color as well. Then maybe I want to save that color, so I'll move it over here, oops, there we go. That's going to be really important as we move closer to actually using the recolor artwork tool. Because all of your motifs and designs and illustrations will need to be vectors in order for you to use the recolor artwork tool on them. Next, let's talk about some more ways to start creating some custom color palettes. I'll see you in the next video. 4. Choosing A Color Palette: In the last video, we talked about how to use color in Illustrator. In this video, we'll talk about how to do that a bit more intentionally and start setting up custom color palettes to use in your designs. Going back to this file that we've been working on, I deleted the colors that are in the color palette so we can start fresh again. I'm going to show you how I create color palettes. This may or may not work for you, so please take whatever works and leave, whatever doesn't behind. I've just developed this way of working with palettes through my years of designing, so this may or may not work for you. I like to be able to see my colors that I'm working with off to the side of my working document. The way that I typically do that is to make a series of squares here, and I just start with black just so everything is the same. I'll start with 10, and I'll copy and paste that in front. I've got 10 black squares. There are a few different ways that you can create color palettes. The easiest and simplest way really is to just click on one color at a time and go to your color picker just like we did before, and choose colors. This is just a fun and intuitive way of creating a color palette. I'm just selecting and clicking on each one. Choosing a color that I like, dragging them over just like we did before. There aren't really any rules for how many colors should or shouldn't be in a color palette, how many colors you should use in any particular design. It's really dependent on the design itself, on your color sense, on your aesthetic, on what your design is asking for, basically. I have noticed in my years of designing that I have a go-to color combination. I tend to combine some version of greens and pinks and oranges, that's my go-to. That's my [inaudible] that I get stuck in, and it's hard for me sometimes to branch out of that, which is where the recolor artwork tool can come in handy, and we'll get to that in the next few videos. But for now, I'm just choosing some random colors. One thing that's really important to keep in mind with color palettes is that you want to make sure that you have a variety of contrasting colors. That means some dark-darks, some light-lights, and everything in-between, some mid-range colors. I find that the more interesting color palettes are ones that use some version of black and white, but that's not straight up black and straight up white. You can see I've got a creamy white color here, and maybe I'll choose a slate, gluey, charcoal gray instead of a straight up black, and I've got a charcoal gray here. Those two are pretty similar, so I might end up changing some of those, but you get the idea. It just gives it a little bit more depth and just makes things a little bit more interesting perhaps than some of the more expected colors, I guess, like black and white, which anybody can use black and white super simple. You'll see that I forgot to bring some of my colors into the Swatches palette, so I'll go ahead and just move those over. I'm just selecting one, clicking, holding, and dragging it over to the Swatches palette, so I've got all my colors there, all my 10 colors. I've got lights, I've got darks, and I've got some mid-range colors. Then this may change as I work on a design. My color palettes tend to be fluid, and I start with something and then they tend to change as I'm working on my design. This is a good starting point. Let me move this off to the side. Another way that I like to create color palettes is from a photo. So I've got this photo of some notebooks that I hand printed a number of years ago. I'm going to take these color palette squares, we'll move that one off to the side, and I'm going to hold my Option key and click, hold, and drag, which allows me to copy those squares. Then if I have them all selected and double-click on my Color Picker tool, I can bring those all to black all at once. Click "Okay". Now, I can start fresh. So I'll click one. Then the way that you can pull colors from a photograph is to select a square, go to the Eyedropper tool, and then you can see this square that I have selected, if I click around with the Eyedropper tool on this photo, it pulls colors directly from the photo. This is a cool way, if you have a photo and you think, "Oh, I like this color palette," you can just pull the colors straight out of the photo, so it's a cool trick. Then you can just do the same thing over and over, just click around. Again, you'll want to keep in mind that you'll want some light-lights and some dark-darks. You can zoom in on the photo to get a better selection with your eye tool. Here's a quick trick. If you hold down your Command key, that'll take you back to the Direct Select tool or the Selection tool, this black arrow tool. I'm just pressing my Command key, and it goes between the Eyedropper and the Selection tool. I can click that then let go of my Command key, and it goes back to the Eyedropper, that's just the quick keyboard trick. It might save you some time as you're clicking around. Let's see. Let me get some lights here. There we go, that's nice light, bluish white. Some neutrals. Another thing to keep in mind is that it's often nice to have a range of types of colors. If you have all really bright intense colors, that can be a little bit too much. So mixing in some neutrals into your color palette, along with some really bright colors can be a nice way to create some contrast also. Let's get a light pink. If it's not feeling quite right and maybe I want a lighter green in there, you can always double-click on your Color Picker tool and create your own color to add into the palette as well. There we go. That is a color palette created from a photograph. We'll just line these up. There we go. Next, we're going to talk about the Blend tool, which is another fun and cool way to come up with some interesting color palettes. I'm going to choose two colors, we'll just use some that we already have here. I'll use this blue and this pink, and I'm going to hold down my Option key. Click, hold, and drag this over here. That's just a quick keyboard trick to copy and paste. For the Blend tool, basically, what we're going to do is create a series of colors that are in-between, that are basically transitioning from this bluish gray color to this pink color. To do that, we're going to select both of these color squares, double-click on the Blend tool, which is right over here, and you'll see a few different options pop-up. Smooth color, specified steps, and specified distance. We want specified steps because that's going to make it so we can pull out specific colors. You can choose however many steps you want in-between or how many different colors you want in-between these two color squares that we've chosen, so we'll stick with five. That sounds good. Click "Okay", and then you click on the first color, and the second color, and voila. You can't use this, this is just a blend right now, it's not color squares that you can use yet. To fix that, you'll select the blend and go to Object, Expand, and click "Okay". Now, you may have to ungroup it, ungroup, and then you can pull those colors out, and you've got seven different colors; the two originals and the five steps in between. That's a cool way to create an interesting blend of colors that you can use in your designs. You can also use this to go, let's take this dark color and copy it over there, and we'll move that to a really light color. This is a cool way to make a blend of different shades between a dark and a light color if you want to find some of those interesting mid-tones. We'll do the same thing, we'll select both of those. Double-click the Blend tool. Let's maybe make more steps this time. We'll go to eight. Click, click, and then we'll go to expand and ungroup. Now, if we go back to the Selection tool, you'll see we can pull all of those colors apart. That can be pretty useful in your color palette creation just to find some new colors. I might shrink that down a little bit, so it'll fit on this page here. There we go. You can always straighten these out. You can get as neat and tidy as you'd like with all of this stuff. There we go. Two blended color palettes. That's like a super fun way to work with color. 5. Saving Color Palettes and Color Groups: You may have noticed that I only pulled the colors into the swatches palette from one of my color palettes that I've created. I didn't forget to pull the others in. I wanted to show you a quicker way to get all of your color palettes pulled into the swatches palette and a way to keep your palettes organized. Because if you can imagine if I pulled all of these colors, I've got almost 30 new colors. It would be really hard if I add all of these colors in the swatches palette just in little squares to see visually which color goes with which color palette. That could be fine. You can use all the colors in one big giant color palette, and that's great too. But a quick and easy way to keep your colors organized is to select all of the colors from whichever color palette you'd like to move in first and come over here and click on this button that says, 'New color group.' You can name it whatever you want. I'll just leave it Color Group 1 because it doesn't really matter. Click "Okay," and you'll see that all of those same colors that I pulled in one by one are in this folder which is called Color Group 1. I'm actually going to delete all of those because now they're just duplicates. I can do the same thing with this color palette. The second one that I created from the photograph. New color group. Click Okay. Now I've got two nicely organized folders, two separate color palettes. This is actually going to come in very handy when we're starting to use the Recolor Artwork tool. This is a great way to set up your palettes with an Illustrator. We'll just do the same thing for these four. You can save as many color palettes as you'd like that way. They'll all be nicely organized and ready to use in your designing and in your recoloring, and you'll be all ready to go. In the next video, we're going to talk about Pantone colors and how and when and why you might like to use those. Then we'll dive into recoloring. I'll see you in the next video. 6. Let's Talk About Pantones: You may be wondering what Pantone colors are and if and when you need to use them, or if you can just forget about it altogether; maybe you don't need to worry about it. Let's talk a little bit about that. Pantone is a universal color language basically that standardizes color across industries so everybody knows what color we're talking about based on a series of numbers and letters. You can buy Pantone books for a variety of different industries or a variety of different applications rather. You can get a textile-specific color book, which is what I have. You can have one that's more graphic design specific. There's a book that's available for codings. There are a few different systems within the Pantone color system, the wider system. I encourage you to go to the Pantone website to check that out and read about it. They have a lot of information there about what Pantone is and how it works, and all the different options that are available. You may not even need to worry about it. It really depends on what your end product is going to be. For example, when I'm creating something digitally that is going to be sold in my shop, for example, I don't worry about Pantone colors because I'm just printing it on my home printer. I just use the straight-up digital web colors, and I don't have to worry about it because I'm the only one who needs to know what colors I'm using. One of the main things that I design, though, is fabric. I work with a fabric company, and I do use Pantone colors for that because I need to be able to communicate the specific colors that I want my fabric to be printed in to the creative director of the company who will then communicate that to the mill. This is the way that all of us can communicate about the same colors so I don't see one thing on my screen and think it's going to look one way and then have it come back and it looks totally different because somebody else's screen looked different. So it's a way to standardize colors so everybody is talking about the same thing. The cool thing about Illustrator is that it's got a lot of these Pantone books pre-populated in this drop-down menu at the bottom of the Swatches Palette. You can find those in the color books here. You can scroll through these and see some of them are for coded applications, uncoded applications, different types of systems depending on what you might be creating. I've got my textile one loaded in here and for some reason, it didn't end up in the correct color book spot. I must have done something incorrectly when I was loading it in after I purchased my books. But anyway, when I open that up, you can see that opens up all the colors that I've got available to me to use in my textile designing. It can be really useful to look at these colors on your screen and look at them in the actual book at the same time because the colors are not always the same. It can be really handy to look at the book so you don't choose a color on your screen that looks one way, but then it turns out a different way because your screen wasn't calibrated quite the same or quite right to the way that your color book looks in your actual hands. It can just be handy to cross-reference those two things. You can see that in this Pantone book, the Pantone colors have this little white triangle and little black line at the bottom. That's how you know something is a Pantone color, and you can see if I hover over it, it says Pantone, and then it's got the number and TCX at the end. That's how you know that it's a textile color from the textile color book. When I hover over these colors in my color palette, they are just RGB colors. So it'll have an R and a G and a B value. So two different ways that you can know if something is a Pantone color. By hovering over it, it'll say it's a Pantone color, and also that it has this little triangle at the bottom. You'll see, if I click on one of these colors, it'll automatically add it to my Swatches Palette, and you can see it's got that triangle right there. It says it's a Pantone color when I hover over it. That can be pretty useful. All you have to do to get those colors, whichever ones you want into your palette are to click and they're automatically added in there. Then you could easily turn that into the same palette if you wanted to have that next to your working document by just selecting each color, changing it over here, and then you can do the same thing. You can select those, make a new color group, click "Okay", and it'll show up there in its special little folder, all Pantone colors. Again, I encourage you to check out the Pantone website and just go learn a little bit about it, and think about whether it might be something that you might like to use depending on what you're creating. I'll see you in the next video when we're going to start diving into actually recoloring artwork. This is where the real fun will begin. 7. Recoloring Artwork: This is what we've been waiting for, we're going to dive into learning how to use the recolor artwork tool. You can see I've got a different piece of artwork here, this is something that I turned into a pattern, everything is already vectorized and colored. If you're wondering how I did that again, I encourage you to go back to my Pattern Camp Level 1 class where I talk all about coloring, creating motifs, designing, designing things in Illustrator, that can give you a good primer to this class if you need it. Let's go ahead and select everything here and you'll see that once I've got my artwork selected, there's this little color wheel-looking tool up here that shows up and if you hover over it, it says recolor artwork. You can click on that and there's also another way to get to that same tool, which is to go to the Edit menu, down to Edit Colors and Recolor artwork, that will take you to the same place as clicking on this color wheel. Let's go ahead and do that. This is the Recolor Artwork tool and there are a lot of different things that you can do within this tool. The most simple way to change colors in your artwork within this tool, this is like Step 1 is to click on a color, come down here. This works the same way, it's like a combination of the color picker and the color panel that we talked about in the first video. You can move these sliders around, that'll change the hue, these will change the intensity of the color, this will change the shade, darker and lighter. You can also click right here and it'll bring up that color picker again. You can change this to whatever you would like and click "Okay" and you can see that everything that was this deep peachy color got changed to this new light greenish color and you can just go down and do the same thing for each color and it's showing you what the color was and what you might be turning the color into. Click "Okay" and you can just go on down the line, moving these colors, creating something totally new and different, that looks really scary. That's maybe a little bit better. Let's change this background color. Let's make and again, I'm totally just winging this and figuring it out as I go, this is part of the fun of the recolor artwork tool is that you just get to play around and come up with color combinations that you may never have thought of before. This one, I think I'll leave the same because I like that dark color and this color, let's change it to like a light lavender color. Just to make it a little bit different and then I'm not loving how that yellow is looking, probably because I skipped that one by accident. Let's change that to more of a peachy color. You can see the colors are completely changed now. I can click "Okay" if I wanted to, if I liked that color palette, I could click on my new color group over here, and click "Okay" and you can see now I've got that color palette saved as well. I'm going to back up though, Command Z to undo that and we're just going to go right back into the recolor artwork tool. I've got it selected. I'm going to click on the button, let's say I want to keep these same colors but change the configuration, there are a couple of different ways that I can do that. Let's say I wanted to see what it looks like to switch out the yellow colors. I can click and hold and then drag it onto the color that I want to switch it with and you can see that it's simply changed where those two colors are placed. Another way that you can do that same thing is to drag from this side, the big color bar, drag it over here, drop, drag and drop, and just switch it like that. I just switched the peaches and I switched the yellows. You can do the same thing, you can do it with as many colors as you want just to see what it might look like. Another way that you can do that very same thing is to click on this button which says a randomly change color order, this is something that I use all the time to come up with. If a color palette isn't quite working, or the way I've arranged colors isn't quite working and I just want to see what else is available, I will come in here and just click on this color randomizer until I come up with something totally different than I would've thought of. For example, this, I'm really digging that and that's not probably the way that I ever would have designed it. It's like a really cool trick that you can use to come up with new ways of combining colors that might not be so intuitive to you and to help you get out of any ruts that you might be stuck in. You can change as many or as few colors as you'd like within the recolor artwork tool. For example, let's say I only wanted to change the blue background color, I can just go in, choose a different color, how about maybe that? Yeah, I don't have to do anything with these other colors, I can just leave them, click "Okay", and now I've changed that blue to purple and I could turn that into a new color palette if I was happy with that, by just selecting everything in that artwork and clicking on that new color group button, click "Okay" and you can see that new palette showed up here. In some instances, you might like to reduce the number of colors, perhaps you'd like to combine those peach colors and instead of having both, you'd like to just have the darker one. You can simply drag from the left side over to the right side to fill everything that was this light peach color with a darker peach color and you can see I've got seven colors now. Then if I leave everything selected and click on the recolor artwork tool again, I'm done to six colors now and somehow I seem to have black and white in this artwork and I'm not totally sure how that happened, but this gives me a good opportunity to show you how to deal with this because as you can see, black and white are not showing up here as actual colors. If I wanted to change the black and the white in my design as well, I can just click in this area where the color should be and it says, do you want to add a new color to the current harmony? I'll click "Yes", and I can do the same thing with white and then I can drag. Sometimes it takes a couple of tries but now everything that was white is now, that's also a white color but it's not straight up white, it's like a more interesting white. Everything that was straight up white is now this more interesting way and then I can change everything that is black to this more interesting charcoal-bluish-black click "Okay", and that will also reduce my colors. Now I'm down to four colors, that's a good way. You may be working on something that you have to have only a certain number of colors because the more colors you're using, the more it's going to cost to print it or something like that. This is an easy way to reduce colors within your Illustrator file and I'll meet you in the next video to talk about some more ways to use the recolor artwork tool. 8. Recoloring: Using Color Groups: I'm going to step back now, "Command Z", so we can get back to our original color palette. That's what we started with. I'm just going to keep showing you some cool things within the Recolor Artwork tool. You can see all of the color palettes that we created before and saved in these color group folders are showing up right here, right within the Recolor Artwork tool. You can actually select your artwork, open the tool, and then choose these specific color palettes that you already created to change the colors of your artwork. Sometimes it creates really wacky options that look weird and terrible, but sometimes you might get something really interesting and unexpected. While I like how that looks, I'm not totally crazy about it, so the next step that I would do would be to randomly change the color order and see what that might do to change my design. Again, a lot of it looks wacky and weird, but sometimes you hit the jackpot and come up with something totally fun and unexpected. You can just click through those color palettes and see what happens. That's interesting. Save changes to the swatch Color Group 2 before closing? I'm going to say "No", that I'll keep my color palettes the same as they are currently. Now I've got a new version of my design that is unexpected and fun. Then if I wanted to change that further, say I liked that but I wasn't crazy about the background color, I could go in and change just that color. Maybe I want it to be some version of white like creamy white. Then click "Okay". There we go. That's another way that you can easily create as many color palettes as you'd like, and then every pallet that's saved in a color group folder like that will show up here in the color groups, right within the Recolor Artwork tool. Yet another cool thing that you can do within this tool is if you see up here, this is how you can specifically assign new colors, it's on Assign here. If you click over to "Edit", this is a way that you can just drag around in this different color picker and find some even more interesting color combinations that you may not have thought of. This is dragging everything around all at the same time. If you click this lock here or the link, you can drag colors around one at a time. This is, again, just another fun way of playing around and seeing what new combinations you can come up with that you may not have thought of just in your normal color brain. Then you can always come down and change colors specifically in the Color Picker or by moving these sliders around. Then if you click out of the tool and then click back in, now you've got all these new colors, you can randomize those colors, see what you can come up with like that. I like the dark background, but I don't love the pink, so next, what I might do is switch some of these colors around to see if that may make things look more the way that I'd like them to look. Back to the pink. Again, it's just fun to noodle around and see what you can come up with. I'm not loving this. If anything ever just isn't working, the best way to get out of it is just click "Cancel" and it goes back to the version that you had saved before. 9. Recoloring: Using Pantones: You might be wondering about Pantones and how you can work or how and if you can work with Pantones right within the Recolor Artwork tool. If you click on this little button here, you'll see that the same dropdown menu that you saw at the bottom of the Swatches Palette shows up right here within the tool. If I go down to this same TCX Pantone book that I chose before, this will change all of my colors that I've already got in my color palette to the closest match within that Pantone color book and change it right on the screen or within my document. If I click "Okay", you'll see that all those colors were now added to my Swatches Palette. While that is useful, you can make it one step more useful by keeping that selected and turning that into its own color group. Now you've got all of those Pantones saved right within your Swatches Palette. That is a very useful way to, instead of having to go and match each Pantone one by one by looking at the book or looking at the screen and eyeballing it, it'll just change it automatically by clicking in this dropdown menu. There's one more interesting thing to show you right here. If you click on this little button with three lines, it says, "Specifies the mode of the color adjustments sliders." If you go down and go to Global Adjust, this is a way that you can play with changing how saturated your design is. If you slide it all the way, it gets really crazy and bright, and then the opposite way turns it just to black and white. You can play with that if you want to up the vibrancy. If you want it to be a little bit brighter, you can do that slider. This changes everything within your design at the same level. This can just be useful, again, to play with and to make, I find that this is great for making really subtle changes but nothing too dramatic. Just another thing to try out as you're playing around with this tool. Click "Okay". We'll go back into the tool. Speaking of saturation and brightness, the Global Adjust is a way to control that. You've also got this button here which randomly changes the saturation and brightness. This is not something that I use often at all. But it's good to know that it's here just in case. I'm going to click out of this because there's one more thing to show you right here. This is cool. Let's say you want to see all of the instances of this orangey color, if you click on this button here, it'll dole everything else out and show you where that color is. So you can easily see if that's something that you might like to change or reduce or something like that. Those are just some of the ways that I like to use the Recolor Artwork tool. In the next video, we'll talk about locking colors, and then we'll talk about saving different file versions. Then it will be your turn to go play and explore and see what amazing color combinations you can come up with. I'll see you in the next video. 10. Locking Colors: Let's talk briefly about locking colors, which is something that you might like to do from time to time. I've got a new illustration here that I'm going to work with. Unlock that just to change things up a little bit. Let's say that I might like to keep this dark charcoal gray color the same, but I'd like to play around with the rest of the colors. To lock this color in place, I can just click on this arrow right here in between these two little rectangles and that will make it so I can click through these other color groups that I've got saved and play around with those other colors, but the background stays the same. That can be really useful. You can lock as many colors as you'd like, it doesn't have to be just one. Let's see. That takes it back to how it was in the beginning. Let's see. Then I can save the changes to the color group. Let's say "No". Let's go back in and you can see that that color is still locked there. If I wanted to ever add it back in so I could change it again, I can simply click in that gray area and click "Yes" and this will add those colors back into my color scheme. Then I can do all the same tricks. I can move these around to change everything. So many different ways to change the colors. "Cancel" because I'm not loving that. Again, to go in and lock a color that you want to keep the same and not mess around with, you can just click that arrow and then scroll through and try different options and that color will remain where it is. You may be wondering what to do with all of these different versions that you're coming up with of your designs. That's what we're going to talk about in the next video; how to organize and save your files. I'll meet you there. 11. Saving Files: The amazing thing about the recolor artwork tool is the endless amount of options that it gives you for changing the colors in your designs and creating new color palettes and new color combinations that you may not have thought of. But it also brings with it a challenge and that is in how do you know when to stop if you can create version after version, when do you stop and how do you organize all these different versions? How do you save everything that you've been working on? I have a few different methods that I like to use, and one of those is layers. You can see I've got one layer here, which we'll just call this color 1. If I go ahead and just drag this down to this little plus sign, that'll create a copy of that layer, and I can lock and hide this first layer so that will make it so I can't change that layer. Now I have the first color palette saved, and I'm going to work on this new one. I'll go into the tool and maybe I'll just click around here, see if I can come up with something that looks halfway decent. We'll save that one. Now if I double-click on that, I can change the name. Let's do the same thing. We'll just create a copy of that, lock that one that we just created, and go back into the tool, and maybe this time I want to start playing around with a different color group that I have got saved. Let's turn that into a color. See if I can come up with something, and again, some of these end up looking really scary because the colors are just too bright and they hurt your eyes because there colors that are too close together. But if you just keep clicking, sometimes you'll hit the jackpot and you can always monkey around with one color at a time as well. That's pretty enough for our purposes right now. We'll call that color group 3. You can see this is a really handy way to just save different versions of whatever you're working on right within the same file. So I've got version one, version two, version three, and you can do that as many times as you want and create as many different layers as you want. You can also save this as, let's see, let's delete these. You can simply save your files. Let's call it floral version one, and we'll save it the desktop and you can save it to wherever makes the most sense for you. Now I'm going to go back and that will bring back the ones that I deleted all ready, so now we'll save the second one. So we'll go to File, Save As, and we'll call it floral version two, v2, "Save." Then Command Z will go back, back. Now we'll save that third one, so you can save them all as their own separate files is basically what I'm getting at. Save as floral-v3. Then you'll see if you go to my desktop. I've got all three versions right there, and I can scroll through them and see what those look like. Whether you save them as separate files or in layers within one file is really up to you. It depends on how you like to work, how you like to organize things, what your workflow is like. That's just a couple of different ways to save all of the different color palettes and color versions that you're coming up with for your design, so it doesn't get all crazy and out of hand and you're losing things that you really like. Just make sure that you save each new version that you come up with somewhere, somehow in a way that makes sense to you. You can also save these different versions as JPEGs, which will come in handy when you're uploading your class project, which we'll talk about in the next video. If you're saving a JPEG from Illustrator and you can go to File, Export, Export As, and select "JPEG" here. Save it wherever you like. The desktop is fine for me, and you can see it saved right here. I can also open these files that I saved before the separate files. I can open those in Photoshop. So if you're using Photoshop, this might be a great method for you. You can save them out whatever size you'd like. I'll go with 700 pixels, and then you would just go to Save. Save as a JPEG, save wherever you'd like, and do the same thing for all three, and you can see there's my JPEG right there. That will come in handy when we're uploading files into the class project section, and we'll talk about your class project in the next video. I will see you then. 12. Class Project: Your class project is to create a design and re-color it in at least three different colorways using the recolor artwork tool. I have another design here that I've already saved or that I've already created three different colorways and I'll just scroll through them here. I saved them in my layers just like you saw in the last video. So there's 1, 2, 3. Okay, so I'm just going to export these as JPEGs right here from illustrator. We'll go to "Export As", and then we'll call this tigers-1. Save it as a JPEG. You'll want to select "Use Artboards", so nothing outside of the artboard is saved and I'll go ahead and save it to my desktop. Okay, and then we'll go to the next one, "Export As", and go to tigers-2 and tigers-3. Okay, so I'll save that. Close that and you'll see if I open up my desktop file, here they are and you can simply upload these files right to the class projects section of the class here. You can, if you'd like, you can combine these into a Photoshop file so you have them all just in one file. So these are, let's see, 576. All right, so let's make a new file that's about 1,800 pixels wide by 600 pixels high and you can just simply drag these onto this file so you can see them all together, 1, 2, 3, and then line those up however you'd like and save that as a JPEG. We'll call that just tigers-final-project. Then you can see I've got that JPEG that you can just upload that right to the class project section and I'll be able to see all of your color ways all in the same place. So upload them separately, upload them together whichever way you choose is great and I can't wait to see what you come up with. 13. Final Thoughts: Congratulations on finishing class. I hope you're feeling super excited and inspired to play around with color in this really fun, exploratory, playful way. I hope that you can come up with some new color combinations that you really love using in your design work, and that it opens up the doors to a new way of thinking about and using color in your creative practice. I invite you to also check out my other Skillshare classes if you're hoping to go deeper, especially into pattern design, which this gives a little taste of what that process looks like. Just in the design set, I was showing you how to change the colors on in this class. I have two pattern design classes on Skillshare as well as another intuitive art-making class. I hope you'll check those out if you're looking for some more tools to add to your creative toolkit. I also would love it if you would follow me and join me on Instagram and sign up for my newsletter. That's where I am always sharing the newest and most exciting fun things that I'm working on. I hope that you learned some new skills in this class. I really can't wait to see how you put them to use. I hope that you'll share your projects in the class project section here. I can't wait to see what you come up with. Good luck and have fun designing.