New Color Theme Picker in Illustrator 2021 Recolour Tool - Create Themes Instantly from Images | Delores Naskrent | Skillshare

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New Color Theme Picker in Illustrator 2021 Recolour Tool - Create Themes Instantly from Images

teacher avatar Delores Naskrent, Creative Explorer

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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

5 Lessons (30m)
    • 1. The New Color Theme Picker in Illustrator's Recolor Tool

    • 2. Introduction to the New Recolour Tool Theme Picker

    • 3. Adobe Color Online for Creating Color Schemes

    • 4. Lesson 3 Experimenting with the Color Theme Picker

    • 5. Conclusion

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About This Class

This is a quick class that you can easily get through in half an hour, and you will be so glad you did! As you know, with Illustrator, you can create unlimited color variations using the recolor tool. With it, you can adjust instantly with a color wheel, apply a new colour group you have created, or use a curated color library. Now, in the latest version of Illustrator CC (2021), you can also switch instantly to a color theme you sample directly from artwork or images using the new Color Theme Picker. Play with colors and themes and pick the one that works the best and recolor your artwork at the click of a button!


Each re-colouring technique discussed in the class is backed up with examples and explanation. We will build on information you have learned in other classes, like predicting color trends and sampling color palettes.  My hope is that after seeing all the examples and explanation, you can better grasp how to use this new feature of the recolour tool, and that it will improve and speed up your colouring workflow.

The key concepts I will include:

  • Using the Color Theme button in the recolour tool in Illustrator CC 2021
  • Creating color themes using the Online Adobe Color tool
  • An overview of how to find trending color palettes
  • Approaches you can take in creating color themes from photos
  • Generally, working with the re-colour tool

This is a relevant course for you to take no matter what the end purpose for the artwork you create. If you don’t want to spend tons of time re-colouring from scratch, this may be just the tool for you. This Color Theme Picker is a game-changer! Learn the ins and outs quickly! Here is a quick synopsis of the content:

Intro to the New Recolour Tool in Adobe Illustrator 2021

This short intro will give you an overview of the class. I will give you a good run-down of the course content and the outcomes you should expect.

Lesson 1: Introduction to the New Color Theme Picker in Illustrator's Recolor Tool

In this lesson, I will introduce you to the new theme picker with a review of the recolour tool. We will also do a little bit of experimenting to see how easy it is to match your artwork to a previous artwork.

Lesson 2: Adobe Color Online for Creating Color Schemes

In this lesson, we will look at the Adobe Color online interface and work with photos to create new color themes. I will show you how seamlessly this integrates with Illustrator through the use of the Adobe Libraries.

Lesson 3: Experimenting with the Color Theme Picker and Photos

In this lesson, we will look at using an existing photo or artwork to recolour our artwork or pattern very quickly. I will show you how choosing different spots in the source art/photo can affect your color theme. It is so fun and easy, you will be enticed into doing plenty of experimenting.

Conclusion, Some Mockups and Wrap-up

We will conclude everything in this lesson with a chat about next steps.

Concepts covered:

Concepts covered include but are not limited to the recolour tool in illustrator, the new theme picker button in the recolour tool, using Adobe Color online, theme choosing, creating themes from photos, matching color from another artwork, hiding and showing anchor points and outlines, simple color theory, and much more.

You will get…

  • a half hour of direction from an instructor who has been in the graphic design business and education for over 40 years
  • knowledge of multiple ways to solve each design challenge
  • handout with a list of helpful online sites to further your education with the recolour tool for Illustrator 2021

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Delores Naskrent

Creative Explorer


Hello, I'm Delores.  I'm excited to be here, teaching what I love! I was an art educator for 30 years, teaching graphic design, fine art, theatrical design and video production. My education took place at college and university, in Manitoba, Canada, and has been honed through decades of graphic design experience and my work as a professional artist, which I have done for over 40 years (eeek!). In the last 15 years I have been involved in art licensing with contracts from Russ, Artwall, Studio El, Patton, Trends, Metaverse, Evergreen and more.

My work ranges through acrylic paint, ink, marker, collage, pastels, pencil crayon, watercolour, and digital illustration and provides many ready paths of self-expression. Once complete, I use this... See full profile

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1. The New Color Theme Picker in Illustrator's Recolor Tool: Guys, my name is Dolores now Scripts. I'm coming to you from Manitoba, Canada. So glad that you joined me here today, I've got a really cool new feature that I want to talk to you about with the Adobe Illustrator recolor tool. I love it. It's so revolutionary. I'm sure it's something that I'm going to be using again and again. What's so great about it is that it takes the recolor tool, which we've all been using, and it adds a new and really cool feature called the theme picker. You can instantly apply a new color theme to your artwork. I'm gonna be showing you new methods that I use. One is to work with photographs and the other is to work with the Adobe Color online for choosing and creating themes. Both methods work really great and they're integrated right into the Adobe Illustrator program. So I'm going to show you that. Thanks for clicking on this class and being curious about this new edition. This is a quick class that you can easily get through in half an hour or so. And you'll Sure be glad that you did. With illustrator. You can create unlimited color variations using the recolor tool. And what's so great is that this is a way to instantly change your color scheme or your color theme. Play with colors and themes and pick the one that works the best. And recall your artwork at the click of a button. Each of the recoloring techniques that I use, I will backup with examples and explanation. Let's get started. 2. Introduction to the New Recolour Tool Theme Picker: Hi guys, welcome to lesson one. So in Lesson one here I want to take the time to really explain the whole new re-color panel, will take a look at the theme picker, especially. And I'm going to show you how to match up another illustration or patterns, colors. We're going to use the theme picker to sample colors. And I'm also going to show you how to adjust the provenance of certain colors in your artwork. All right, let's get started. This is the file that I've been working on and I am excited to show you this new recolor tool in Illustrator and know the often update with new features. Some of them are valuable to me, some of them aren't, but this is one that I have already fallen in love with, So I definitely want to share it with you. Let's get started by just talking a little bit about the recolor tool in general, the main reason I would be wanting to use the recolor tool would be to improve my color scheme. So I have this pattern that I created yesterday. This is the original color scheme that I use. So you can see the colors below here, and this is another palette that I was considering. So I just want to show you real quick how the re-color tool will make it so quick for me to try this alternate palette. But when I go into the recolor tool, it's going to look completely different than what you're used to. This is the new and improved recolored tool at Illustrator has just released for 2021. Now, the cool thing about this that I love, most important thing that's different. This color theme picker. So this was not here previously. And I'm going to be showing you in this class today a ton of really fun things that we can do to experiment with our color using this color feed picker. So just real quick, I will show you based on this new color scheme here. So here you can see this is the current color scheme that's in play here on my swatch or on my sample. I'm going to click on this color theme picker. And here I could add or use any other colors that I want within this document. I am going to sample these colors here. Now. Right now what I'm doing is dragging over them all just to make sure that they're all included here. And you can see that I could also just choose a few of them. You don't have to drag in a circle like I've been doing. You can just drag over them like this. And you can see that my colors are being adjusted as I sample the new palette. The cool thing is I can just grab that individual color and I can also unlink it from the rest of the colors and move it around until I find something better for that particular color. So it's really fun and very, very easy to update your palate based on a new set of swatches. I'm going to be going through this step-by-step with you and I'm going to be showing you also how to use other sources other than swatches to make a new color scheme. And I'm going to be showing you this entire palette. So this is the new and improved palette. And you'll notice down here that there are some settings that used to be in the other palette. You can remember this if you wanted to, you could change the saturation. This was here before in the other recolor tool, but it was a lot more embedded. It was harder to get to this particular setting. Now it's right here on the first dialogue box that comes up. You can also affect the brightness and hue rate here, this dialogue box. So there are a number of different things that we will review today. So let's say for example, you had the previous pattern that you had done that you really liked the color scheme for and wanted to change a current pattern. Now this could happen if you are, for example, putting together a look book for a specific client and you want everything to kind of work with a particular color theme. Or you might have coordinates that you've designed that you think could work and have not been licensed before, whatever the reason, I'm going to show you just a really fun and quick thing that you can do just based on this color scheme. So I would select my pattern here. I've got hiding on to so that it doesn't get confusing. I don't have all of the anchor points and paths obscuring your view here. That shortcut, by the way is this one here, hide or show edges. So command H. Now you can see it's all selected and command age, even though it is all selected, you just see the bounding box. So I'm gonna go back into that recolor tool. My current colour scheme is reflected here, and I want to use the color theme picker to choose this color palette that I have to the side here. Now you can keep the colors all linked. For now, let's hit that color theme picker. And what you get is this little eyedropper, and this is how you choose your new theme colors. Now, instantly, my changes are reflected here. Now, what you can also do here is control what colors are the most prominent. So let's say you wanted less of that sound color and more of that turquoise. You could slide that over a little bit. Less gray, more turquoise. You would definitely have to do some experimenting. One of the things that I haven't included in this area are with this pattern. Here is a background which I like adding leader on. So let's just go with this one for now. Click anywhere. Personally a kind of find it weird that there isn't an OK button here, but maybe that'll be added at some point as long as you're in your selection tool, your pattern is recolored, matches this perfectly. Let's make it into the pattern. I've gotta shortcuts. I know that my pattern repeat that I set was ten by ten, as I often do for my classes here, You can affect how the overlap works and get out of your pattern here. No, we can choose it here. And you can see that I have done a ton of experimenting if you see this current Swatches palette. So I add my background after. I'm going to copy this and paste it in back by using Command B. And we'll fill that with just a solid color. I'm gonna go with a fairly light. Yeah, I like that kind of an idea. So that's just showing you how quickly I can do it based on a color scheme that I already have in another pattern. Once I have that background in there, actually that we just get rid of this, we don't need that anymore. I will reselect and grab my recolored tool. And in this case I would go back to the traditional. Now it's called advanced options. But just for the fun of it, I want to do this randomly change color order. So all the colors will remain the same here. But what I would be doing in that color scheme or color theme is to be just experimenting with that exact set of colors but in a different order. And that's often how I end up really settling on a color for the background. There are going to be so many changes I can make here. We're going to cover a few of those things in the upcoming lessons, so I'm not going to spend too much. And with it here though, I could do this honestly all day long. It's so fun to be able to just like C This, can you imagine what it was like before? You could just do this automatically? I can remember back in those days and I had to literally select each of the different colors and go in and manually changed them. And there was just no way that you would practice or experiment this much because it was just too time-consuming. So this tool, when it was first introduced, revolutionized color, in my opinion, for illustrator. And now with this new advanced recolored tool, I think I'm going to find that I love it even more and I know you will two, you're going to see all of these experiments that I did, just testing it out. And you'll see why I'm so excited about it high-rate. So in the next lessons we're going to take a look at other ways to create new color groups or themes. And we're gonna take a look at Adobe Color online. Alright, I will see you there then in that next lesson. 3. Adobe Color Online for Creating Color Schemes: Hi guys, welcome to lesson two. So unless than to here we're gonna take a look at Adobe Color online. I'm going to teach you a method to come up with color themes. We're going to sample photographs, so we're gonna get some reference from Pinterest. Let's get started now. So good question is definitely, how do you come up with the color schemes are the theme that you are going to use to recolor your artwork. The recolor tool is just one step and the other part is just being able to choose new color schemes or themes that you might want to use. I am going to show you a couple of different ways that I do it. One of them, of course, is just the use of reference, like what I would find here in my color palettes board on Pinterest. So if you've been in any of my other classes, I've talked about color palette for law, and I have been doing some color forecasting. I actually talk about color schemes and so many of my different classes, you can definitely find some in my lucrative Waller series or in many of my pattern design classes. Now, this board here, I have color palettes to love, shows a lot of the different ones that I've used in those classes. A great place for you to come and take a look at what I've been kinda predicting or forecasting for 2021, how I found the reference for that more accurately, I guess I'd say because these are not my forecast. These are forecasts that I have been collecting here in this board. So I would often just come to one of these, save the image or copy the image. And then P sat into Illustrator. And that's what I would use for creating or recoloring my artwork. Now another way that's really fun. This is tool that you can find online, the Adobe color, just search it out or go directly to it colored dot You can see up here, I'll throw that link into the course materials so that you'll have it to refer to this as a tool that I used in my high school classes. I was teaching in a trade school, and this was how I educated my students on color theory. You can take a look at color schemes really quickly and easily, and also use it to extract colors, themes from photographs. So very much like I would with the recolor tool, I could go to extract theme here. I could drag and drop a file on here, or I could select the file if I had saved. It's the cool thing about this as I can save it. And it has saved into my Adobe library color ideas 20-20, one which will be accessible once I'm back in Illustrator. So back here in Illustrator, I can click on My Library here. And I've got the color 20-20, one tab open. And here are some of the color themes that I looked at today. So that's the one we just picked out right here. Now right here in Illustrator, we also have basically the same interface. So here we could also be choosing pre-public color schemes. There are different categories that you can take a look at. This is something for you to explore. At some point, you can search based on simple parameters like, let's say pastel, pastel themes will come up pretty much. It's a review of your color theory that you did in school. If you did not do color theory in school, than these are going to be mysterious to you. I'm sure my class really isn't going to focus on that kind of colour information like the basic color theory. I will attach some good links for you to learn that kinda thing. I'll point out a couple of other things here that might be helpful to you. Now right here, the color mode that we are looking at right now is RGB mode, which is protected color or what you see on your computer screen if you're more comfortable working in CMYK, which is more of a printing color mode, cyan, magenta, yellow and black. Most of us are pretty used to working in hue, saturation and balance, which is what the color picker is generally are when you are, let's say in Photoshop, this is a hue saturation and balance color picker. So I'm sure you've seen that it's pretty common. All of them help you to choose the color in the way that you're most comfortable with. Now, down here, beneath each of the colors, this particular theme, you can make adjustments and you can see that I'm sliding along here with saturation. I could actually grab this circle and move it if I wanted to. You can get really finite control here with these different sliders beneath your colors. So that's something for you to experiment with as well. If you're looking for really current color information, I would suggest that you do some of that color trend forecasting research that I do in those other classes. One of my favorite sites to go to for really good current color schemes is this PI creative? I've talked about it before. You can go through and check out this site to help you come up with great color schemes, you can take a look at the catalogs, for example, look at the most recent and who gets some pretty good examples of current trending other schemes or what we're looking at for next year. And it is very possible for you to also use these for reference. You can grab a screenshot. I'm not sure if you can, you can't download that image, but you can grab a screenshot Command Shift four, drag over the image. It'll come up here on the corner of your screen appear in the latest Mac OS on a PC. I know that there are very simple programs that you can use for also doing this exact thing, capturing screenshots. You can take it into something like preview, save it wherever you are saving. Your reference, I would call this kilo grade reference was to make it fast. Go back into the Adobe color, then find the one that you want to do next, the colors will pop up here. And again, you could save this to Your color library and it'll show up in Illustrator. So click on the themes here and go to my themes. And you'll see that that yellow color scheme has been inserted there. So at this point now you can edit this theme, add it to the Swatches, or view it online. Generally, what I would do is added to the swatches and you'll see them added here in a new color Group. And I could use that color group to recolor this artwork. Option Shift and dragging or Command Option Shift dragging to create a duplicate, click on my recolor tool, go to the advanced options, and then click on this color group. Now you can see that it has replaced the colors here. And of course we would have added a bunch of colors, intermediate colours, to equal out the amount of colors that we have. Because right now you can see what it's doing is anything that was kind of BG has been changed to gray. Anything that was kinda bluey Green has been changed to yellow and so on. And probably what I would have done is added some more to this before continuing, select tab that artwork selected, but I would select that yellow fair, go in and make a lighter yellow, yellow, drag it into my color group. Same thing with the blue and golden rod colour. And what I'd be trying to do is equal the amount of colors that I have used here originally, the ones I have down here, incidentally, that can also be done here right in the recolor panel by just clicking on this to add a new row and saying yes here to adding it to the color harmony. Whatever your preferences for adding new color to your color theme. If I was really spending a lot of time to do it, I went actually duplicate this set here. So same thing, Command, Option Shift and dragging. To make a duplicate, I would go through and recolor those swatches. You can do it the way I was doing it there or you can grab the swatch and drag it in and put your realign that one. Now, what are the glitches that I have found here in Illustrator 2021? Is this aligned feature currently not working with aligned to selection the lines to the art board no matter what you do. So I tried to figure that one out. I've gone to a bunch of forums and it looks like that problem has not been yet solved. So let's see back to here. Let's see what else would I do? Bb grey. Now I've got a full FET here. When I go into the recolor tool to recolor that pattern, go to the advanced options and choose this color theme. Now I've got the number of colors or close to it that the original pattern had been. Again, I would fiddle around with this until I was happy with the color schemes. Not one's kinda DTT. So very quickly I've done just based on my original patterns watch. I have created four different looks here, and I've done it very easily using the recolor tool. So what I want to demonstrate next does the use of the photographs right from within illustrator here to do some more experimenting with the recolor to all. And we'll accomplish bat using that color theme picker. And we're going to write into a photograph to pick out the colors without having to go into the adobe games at all. 4. Lesson 3 Experimenting with the Color Theme Picker: Welcome to lesson three. So in less than three here we're gonna go into the recolor tool and we're going to use the color theme picker to directly sample colors from an imported photo. You won't believe how fast and flexible This is. Let's get started working with the photograph is just super fine with this new color theme picker in the recolor tool. So I imported a photograph. It's actually a screen shot of one of my artworks that I've done for art licensing. This artwork as part of this digital marble and alcohol ink textures class that I did. I don't know if you were in that one, might remember it. It's a few months ago that I did this class. I just really like this color scheme. So I thought I wanted to experiment with a little bit just to see how it would work. So let's select our artwork here. This is my pattern. I'm going to hide the edges again just so you can see it a little bit better. We'll click on the recolor tool. And we're going to use this color theme picker and work with this photograph. So what I'm gonna do here is select an area of the photograph that I like. So dragging over a whole bunch of the different colors here, just so that you could see the changes. Now, of course, I don't have a background in here, so I'm not sure if that's going to make it harder for you to tell, but you can see here it's completely recovered my artwork. And for now I think I'm just going to leave the color prominence at these settings and then we're gonna go apply it to background here so you can see how that will look. So let's always throws me and a half that edges hidden. So I'm gonna make that into a swatch brick by column, ten by ten. Okay, it's been added here, I can see it at the end here and escape. And let's grab that new swatch and put it in there. It actually looks nice on that three background you don't want maybe I'm going to leave it. I could change the color of that. You can see that there's two rectangles here. Let's just experimental little bit. Try some of these other colors and actually quite like that. So I think I might just leave it there so many colors that look good. So let's just go back to that first color that was there, which was the screen here. So you can see here that some of the motifs are not really working with the current iteration of the color dominance. So you can click on this, go back into your recolor tool, go to your Advanced Options, and let's just go through and use the random color picker here. Like all of these, there's so many options that look good. So you can do it that way, or you can specifically target the color that you don't like or is not working for you. So I'm thinking it's just the white here. I'm going to double-click on that and just go with a bit of a blue-gray already. That's an improvement. I'm not sure where this one is being used. Let's try something a little bit darker. Utopic was even in use in there. You could definitely go through and make adjustments to everything here. And of course, you could continue randomly changing and now the weight is no longer in there. So you might land on something that you really like. And we even something like that could be quite appealing. At this point, you're using your own artistic judgment. I could tell you what I would do, but that's not necessarily the look you're going for. So it's a 100% up to you at this point how you want to work that. Now you can also go in here and let's unlink this unless just pull that. I'm thinking this is the one who actually pretty hard to do it this way, but I think that was the color right there. That was giving me trouble. I could move this around until I find one that I like. And sometimes you end up changing that color and it causes another issue somewhere else. But I'm going to allow myself to be satisfied with that just so that I can move on here. Just did a quick save there, but with B's coordinates that I've got here, I could do the same thing, just select nom drag, selecting over them all with my direct select tool. I haven't selected this at all, just the coordinates. I'm going to click on this. We'll use this color theme picker again, and I'll move it out of the way a little bit. And we could sample again, like a large area which has a bunch of different colors. Or we could sample a small area which has less, whichever way you do it affects your results. Experimenting is just something that you're going to need to do in order to figure this all out. Now, I'm not sure why it this color is not changing. I'm going to unlink it and move it a little bit more into Syria. So that's that little peachy stripe that was running in through there. And it's also really difficult to do this for a whole set of coordinates. Personally, I would go through and do each of these individually. So we're going to drag select just over this one with my direct select tool and click on my color theme picker, and then just select an area that works better than having all of them at the same time. So I would go through and work on any of the ones that I wanted to change individually. So a on your keyboard gives you your direct select, drag over the one that you want or just click on it. I drag select one. I've got two layers. So something like this has the two layers. In a case like this, I can just single click on it the recolor tool kit McCarthy picker. And you see that, ok, let's move that over and then just select the area that you want to use and pay. So that was the one result from that particular photo. This is the same one. And you can see that the results can be very different just based on the choices you make. So I experimented with this one off camera and created it and you know, I would do this anyhow and then just go through and really think about what color choices work better for me, for example, I don't really like this one here. I would prefer this one here. And I think what the stripe, I would also prefer this one here, but I do like this for what are my choices? And I don't know, I could go with either of those really, those polka dots. Those are the results theme picker just from those two photographs. Now I went through, of course, for the fun of it and did the same thing with a couple of other photos here. So this is one of the ones that you saw on my Pinterest board there. I brought that in and experimented with each of them and I just saw my gosh, I just love this one here for some reason. I could still go in and make a few changes. For example, rated here, I'm not liking this little color here, or maybe this green I would change out. But overall, this is what the great thing about this kind of experimentation is that you can really get a feel for these colors. Now here's another one I did. And again, to super delicious, this would be such a fabulous Christmas design. You could go in and really change up here the look of that pattern. Let's just select this one and go in and recover it. And just choose a different area of the photograph. And you can see as I select different areas of the photograph, how it affects or changes my artwork. Now in this case, I had that dark brown square in the background. But I could go in and unlink this and definitely move things around. For example, there I've just changed those lines. And in this flower, actually I think I would also probably take out this color, that's that color that was within the flower and it's pretty easy to make that change. This doesn't even look like it could have come from this photograph, but you know, that's how it starts. Sometimes it's just an experiment and then it ends up really working out in a way that you never thought possible. So that's one of the truly valuable things about this new recolor and color theme picker within the recolor tool. Okay, well, I think I'm done with this Lausanne and I will meet you in the next one. See you there. 5. Conclusion: Hi guys. Focuses it our wrap-up course. It wouldn't be complete without me throwing in a mockup. So here's an example of what I did with by different colors. I just chose one and applied it to this chair and it looks pretty cool. What I thought was really great was how quickly I was able to recover some patterns I already had existing. And to just completely changed the look of what I had. I hope this inspires you to do some experimenting of your own. Some of these new tools that are introduced really help us to be able to do that and not to have to spend too much time. So that's the real advantage. Hopefully you'll check out some of those other classes I mentioned and please post your results here. I'd love to see what you produce. Show us an original color scheme and then a photograph and maybe how it looks in the end. Maybe if you're really energetic, try doing a mock-up as well. Make sure you check out my references in my Pinterest sites. I have two of them. One is called Dolores art Dolores Nas crunch, and the other one is called teacher Dolores. Now Sprint, I share tons of resources there. I'd also love for you to join my mailing list on my website. I plan to add tons and tons of artists resources there over time. And I'd love to have you visit me there. Thanks so much for being a part of this class today. Take care and I'll see you soon. Bye for now.