Color with Adobe Kuler | Shelley Seguinot | Skillshare

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Color Wheel


    • 3.

      Explore color


    • 4.

      My themes


    • 5.

      Color from a photo


    • 6.



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About This Class

In this class I will introduce to a fun tool called Adobe Kuler (Adobe Color CC). Adobe Kuler is an Adobe online tool that allows you to create color harmonies or use existing ones. This online community is a great place to find color inspiration. 

I will teach you how to use the site and then we will import our newly created color themes into Adobe Illustrator. This tool will change your work flow!

This class does require Adobe Ilustrator CC to follow along. Adobe Color is used across all Adobe programs, so If you do not work in illustrator, you can still pick up techniques to use there programs. If you do not have Illustrator, you can download a free 30 day trial of Adobe CC here: ADOBE FREE TRIAL

Once you have completed the class, you can embark on your own color journey by completing your class project. 

See you in class! 

Shelley's Skillshare Classes:

Learn to Draw Digitally-Create Cute Drawings Using Basic Shapes

Learn to Draw Digitally II-Flower Arrangements

Simplified Pattern Design

Branding Workshop-A Case Study

Learn to Draw Digitally - Create Cute Animals

Mockup your Stationery and Paper Products

DIY Holiday Gift Tags

Illustrator's Pattern Tool

Meet Your Teacher

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Shelley Seguinot

Illustrator and Surface Pattern Designer


I am an illustrator, surface pattern designer and momma of 3. I have been doodling as far back as I could remember and work with various mediums. I love crafts, color and all things cute! my passion is character drawing and surface pattern design.

See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Intro: Welcome to color with Adobe Kuler, also known as Adobe Color Creative Cloud. In this class we're going to talk about color theory. Color theory is a science most designers struggle with. Finding harmonious paths that are appealing, trend forward, and marketable are difficult to compose. I for one love color and find that I spend hours trying to find the right color combination for my designs. In the end it proves to be really time-consuming. You can surf for inspiration. I have go-to sites that I use all the time. Pinterest is not just for recipes and fashion inspiration. It's a go-to source for designers to find the latest color trends and begin to build up their color stories. Another great resource is Design Seeds. They have pre-made color palettes galore that will help you spark your color creativity. But these sites will take an extra step for you to import those colors that you do find into your Illustrator or Photoshop designs. In this class, we're going to discover a new tool that's going to cut down all that time that it takes to import those color stories that you do find that you like into your existing workspace. In comes Adobe Kuler. It's an Adobe creative website that works seamlessly with Illustrator and Photoshop to help you build your color palettes for your designs. It works with Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. With either of these programs you can import your color stories that you find. It'll be the easiest step. It'll cut down on your production time. This is going to be an eye-opening class. The class outline is as follows, we'll learn to navigate Kuler, we'll learn to create your own color themes, we'll then export your themes to use in Illustrator, and then you can recolor your artwork using your new palettes that you've designed. This class is specifically made for Adobe Illustrator, but some of the tips and tricks in here can be used for Photoshop as well. Please join me in this class, it's going to be a fun new tool that you can add to your arsenal. Welcome. 2. Color Wheel: The first thing we're going to do is dive right into Adobe Cooler. In your Browser, you'll type in, and that'll bring you to Adobe Color Creative Clouds homepage. The terms are used interchangeably, Adobe Color and Adobe Kuler. When it was first launched, it was launched as Adobe Kuler and is what most people referenced to this site is as Adobe Kuler Adobe changed the name recently to Adobe Color Creative Cloud, but Adobe Kuler has still been sticking around. You'll hear both those names used interchangeably. In order for you to get on the website, there is no login. You can play around as much as you want. If you want to export or save any of these colors stories that you create to your color library, you will have to sign in with an Adobe ID. If you have an Adobe ID, you can go ahead and sign in so you can follow along. If not, you can just play along with the website because although you don't have the Adobe ID, you'll still be able to create color stories and then just jot down your color formulas. Signing up for an Adobe ID is free. You don't have to have Creative Cloud in order to do it. I would suggest that you do sign in with your Adobe ID every time you sign into The first thing we're going to explore is this first tab, which is the create tab. The create tab just brings you to this color wheel. It's Color Theory 101, where we mostly work with the primary colors and then secondary colors and tertiary colors. Adobe Color demystifies that for you. It has built-in color rules that you can abide by or you can just break the mode and do your own thing. Right here, it falls to this color palette. I will let you know that this is always going to be the base color, will be here in the middle. If you can see, it's identified by this triangle, and then it's represented here as well. Usually what that means is that the base color will be steady whenever you play around with these other colors. This doesn't have to be your base color. You can change it by using these sliders. But as you can see, the base color determines, because we're in this color rule, the base color will determine how the other colors interact. Let's start off with the first color rule. It's analogous. That means that all the colors are next to each other on the color wheel. As you can see, the base color stays the same. But I can bring in or out the intensity of the color or I can move it around, but all the other colors are going to move with it. If I know that this is the base color that I want, this few shot red. Then I can play around with the other colors, still keeping in the analogous rule. As you can see, the base color is not moving, but the other colors will move. The other color rule on here is monochromatic. That puts all the colors all along the same spectrum. Now, I can still move them around, but as you can see, the base color stays the same. You can change intensity of the other colors, but you won't be moving unless if you move off of that spectrum, it would have to be all the colors because they're monochromatic will be moving at the same time. The next one is triad, and that's a basic color of theory 101 as well, where the colors are all in a triangle on the color wheel. You can move those around as well and you can change intensity. Pretty much adobe color, what it's doing is taking the guesswork out of what colors go with each other, because not all colors are going to play well in the same box. When you print them, colors that are not harmonious will tend to not work well together. This takes out the mystery of how to combine colors. Artists all in art school have to take color theory a couple of classes of it as a matter of fact, just so they can understand the color harmonies and what colors work well together. There's a whole psychology behind the color. Adobe color actually takes all that guesswork out of it. If you stick to these rules, you'll end up with colors that are harmonious and work well together. Then we have complimentary colors and complimentary colors are always opposite each other on the wheel. As you can see as we move them they're going to move together, always opposite on the color wheel. These colors complement each other because they are directly across from each other on the color wheel. There is compound colors that also do the same thing. It's just these two main colors will remain the same, and then the other ones are colors that are right next to it. Then there are shades, not to be confused with monochromatic shades or how much more black or white is put into a color in a different harmony as well. Then there's custom. If you want to go crazy and you want to do your own thing, and you don't want to listen to the color wheel, and you have your own color palette in mind. By all means, play around with it, come up with your own fun colors. It all depends on the projects you're working on. Just always bear in mind that whether it's for print or web, you should always test out your colors before you commit to finalizing any projects. Now I'll draw your attention to down here. As you can see, we have different color modes. Those CMYK, if you only want to work in that, you can click on that, then there's RGB, and that'll just give you the red, green, blue, and then there's HEX colors if you're working in web. All the color formulas will be down here when you're done creating your colors. This way you can have them for export and you'll be able to refer to the actual color wheel. In the next lesson we're going to go to the explore tab. 3. Explore color: Next step, we're going to explore the Explore tab. Adobe Color of Creative Cloud is actually a community. Just as you saw in the color wheel, you can create your own color stories. You can then publish them onto this community website. That is not only helpful to other artists but it's helpful for you and other artists do that because all these colors are up for grabs. A lot of them take out the date, just take out the guesswork of you playing around with the color wheel and you can just quickly, visually, just like we do in Pinterest or in design seeds, you can come right into this Explorer tab and just browse through different colors stories without having to sit there and stare at a blank color wheel. I do this quite often. I go into this Explore tab because there are wonderful color stories already created. Then I save them to my library from my own personal use. As you can see, they all have names and the names are not going to be completely accurate to maybe what you would want them to be but as you can see, you can just scroll right through and there's just a million color stories that have been created. I find that just sometimes just scrolling through here, it sparks my creativity and I'm able to then use this. I don't necessarily have to use every single color the way they have saved it. Who are the creator of the color story? I can then alter and edit it to my liking. For instance, let's see, we'll go into perhaps this happy mom. Let's go to it, you can click on Edit Copy and there's several things you can do here. You can see the information on it, which will basically show you all of the nice things that some other community members have said about it. You can appreciate it yourself. It's just like a like button. You can save it to your library. You can share it. You can edit a copy or you can report abuse if there's anything here written that it's not to your liking. Let's say for instance, we're going to edit a copy because although I like all these colors, maybe this pink is too strong for the project that I'm working on. Now it brings you back to the color wheel with all of these colors already in place. As you can see, the creator did a custom color rule. Just wanted to intensify this one a little bit more into the orange because I want a little bit more salmon and then this one perhaps I wanted to be more in the salmon as well. Once I'm happy with the editing that I do, I click on Save and the creator of it had called it Happy Mom. I'm actually going to call it summer days because I'm working on some theme. Then in here, you can select where you'd like to save it to and I'm going to actually save it into this. Let's see, we'll save it into my, for the love of blues because I do have a love affair with blue and it does have tool of blues that I like. You can add tags as well so it'll have blue. I see some aqua. There's some salmon and we can even call this a Beach Theme. You can add tags as much as you want. Here, you can leave it as published this team to explore so other community members now are able to use my summer days or you can uncheck that and just keep it to your own library. I always like to share, everyone shares with me so I think it's nice that we all are part of this community and we're just sharing color pallets. You can go ahead and click, Save and now here is your theme. It brings you back to this actions page where you can publish it, which we've already done or you can edit a copy or delete it if you're not happy with it. Then here you see the tags that we created. Back to explore. I'm going to show you other things we can do. If you know that you're working on, let's say a beach theme, here's a search bar and you can just type in beach. Like I said, it's not a perfect science because what may be beach colors to me may not be beach colors to you, but it is a good starting point so because this is a community and community members can name their color stories whatever they want. What their beach may be, may not be, what I have envisioned as a beach theme. You can scroll through here and it just gives you a good starting point. By the same token, let's say you can go in here and put in skin tones and then you'll get other community members pallets of skin tones. The search tool is really helpful. There is a lot of things you can do. You can just go back to the Explorer tab and just skim through it, some things you may see and you want it exactly the way you see it. For example, let's see, I'm going to save this monochromatic blue right here. I'm going to save it. I'm just going to save it to my blues. I've got love of blue and blogging gradient blues, that sounds good to me so I'll keep the same name as the creator did. I'll save it and then that'll go into my themes. That pretty much covers the Explore tab. Next, we're going to discuss our themes. 4. My themes: The last thing we're going to explore in Adobe Kuler is going to be the My Themes tab. As you can remember from the last slide, we had created this Bloggy Gradient Blues. We saved it from one of the community member's themes. Once I saved it, it went into My Themes. When I click on this tab, you'll see Bloggy Gradient Blues has been saved in here, as well as all these other color stories that I've already saved in here as well. You can actually categorize them so when you save them, you can add them to different libraries. For example, I'll show you, we'll go back into Explore and let me just find another color story that attracts my attention. Let's say, for instance, this looks nice to me. It's some kind of purples and I can see myself using this for future projects. I'm going to click "Save to Library." They called it Dreams Forever, I'm going to call it "Purple hues" just so I can remember it. Then in this drop-down you'll see I have Pastels, Pinks, Beach, these are all titles of categories that I've selected. But perhaps I'm working on a project where I want warm colors and maybe warm colors is going to be a new category that I can use. I'll click on "Create Library," and I can just type in "Warm Colors" click "Save." Once you save it, you still have to go back in then and select it before you can save it again. I'll put some tags here, so "purple," then we'll have "warm." The purpose of the tags really is just so when your collection gets so extensive, the tags will help you search within your color libraries as well. There's also "sand," and we may even be able to pull this "jewel." Let's save that. As you can see here it is. Again, we have the option to edit, to republish again, to delete it if we want. Back to the themes, here you'll see that I have a new category that's been created and it's Warm Colors. I can continue to build on that or sometimes when I create them, I realize that I have to merge some of them and maybe I want one of these colors in a different category. For example, these look warm to me as well, so I can go to "Info" and then here you'll see Publish will pop up again. I can click on the arrow. It's still called Overcast, I want it to be called that. I click on it again "Save to Library," and I want it to save it to Warm Colors as well. Click "Save." Now when I click on the "My Themes" tab, Overcast is right where it is with the Blues, and now it's also been added to these Warm Colors. That's how the My Library works. In the next slide, we're going to show you how to import colors, how to import a photo and create color themes from existing photos in your library. 5. Color from a photo: Our next step in Adobe Color is going to be how to import a photograph to create a custom color theme. We are going to go back to the Create tab. As you can remember, here is where we started off with our color wheel and different color rules. We're going to click on this little camera here, and we're going to create it from an image. I'm going to click on that, and it goes to search on my desktop. I already have this one pre-selected, it's a photo that I took down in Miami. Adobe Color automatically pinpoints the colors that it identifies in here. As you can see, we still have color modes that we can work with. We have colorful, there's bright, there's muted, there's deep, there's dark, and then there's custom colors. It still allows you to switch these around, so I can move these to where I want. I may want a little bit of the green, but may be the green not so strong. Let's see, maybe there. The yellow, I may want just a deeper yellow, or maybe that mustard was good. As you can see, you can switch these around and create as many combinations as you want from this photo, but the color palettes that it creates, it extracts the right colors from what I love about this photo. Sometimes, that's hard to do. You may look at a photo and say, "I really loved this color palette," but if you sit there and you pick with a color picker in Photoshop, it's very time-consuming to pick out all the elements, and this takes the guesswork out of that. It already pulls the colors that it identifies that work together in harmony. It's just a great starring tool. As you can see, now I'm happy with my color palette here, so I'm going to select Save, and it's the same thing. We're going to call this one South Beach, and we'll save this to my beach library. We'll call this Miami Blue Yellow Beach Palm. We'll click Save. It's also been published for other community users to use. That's how you work off of a photograph. 6. Recolor: So now we're going to put all of our Adobe Cooler Color Palettes to work. Here I have a pattern design that I've created and I've just opened it up in Adobe Illustrator. The first thing we're going to do to access our color libraries that we created in cooler is to go to Window, and then we'll go to libraries. This brings up here are color themes that we created. Bloggy gradient, blues, summer days, these are all the ones that I had in my library created in there. For the love of blue, as you can see in the drop down here, I can switch over to my pastels that I had saved. I had all those fun pinks that I had saved. From here, I'll be able to at-a-glance see, all of my color themes that I have created in creative, in Adobe Color Creative Cloud. In order for this to work seamlessly, you do have to be logged into Creative Cloud in Adobe Illustrator. I know there's some designers that work offline all the time. They're used to working offline in their Adobe Illustrator, but in order for this to work seamlessly, you do have to be logged in to Creative Cloud from your desktop while you have the program open. I'm going to now go to Window, and then we're going to go to color themes, and this is going to open up a mini version of cooler right on my Illustrator workspace. Here as you can see I have all my themes here as well. I can go to the Explorer tab and explore themes. I can still go and search for themes and be able to work from here as well. The desktop version of Adobe Color just affords you an easier workspace to work from to create your color themes from but you can create color themes from here as well. You'll have create, and as you can see, you can still move your sliders. You can still work very well within here and then still be able to edit, to add to your Swatches everything from in here. In this scenario, let's say that this is a pattern that I'm going to present to a client, and they like this blue, but they would like to see all the other colors stories. I'm just going to zoom out and just add a few more artboards on here holding down option. I'm just going to unclick and drag. There's another artboard. Let's say I want to send them three more color variations of this one pattern design but the colors that I'm going to use are going to be colors from my themes. Right now, as you can see, you'll have to select the one that you're going to change. I'm going to select this artboard here, and then let's say I want to do, let's go with bloggy gradient blues. In these dots down here, as you can see, you'll have other options and you can edit the theme. You can add to your Swatches palette, or you can view online. If I click View Online, it brings me right into, and then it brings me right back into being able to edit it. Let's see what the client wanted blues with just a soft pink. I can edit it and then change one of these colors out and resave it again and pull it into my Adobe Illustrator. For now we're just going to add to the Swatches and use you can see it. It placed it right in my Swatches palette. I'm going to select this artboard again. I'm going to click on the folder at the beginning of bloggy and gradient blues, and then I'm going to go to the color wheel here to edit or apply the color group, and as you can see, instantly, it starts to work off of the colors that I have here in the palette. I'm going to just play around with these for a little bit until I find a harmony that I like, and I actually, I'm quite fond of, let's say, we go with possibly this one. I'll click Okay. Do you want to save changes? No, because it'll change the color palettes in my bloggy, gradient blues so we'll just click off of that. We'll repeat the process again. Now let's say, I want to go and show them what some pinks would look like. Maybe we'll go into this one here. We'll add that to the Swatches palette, and again, having the art work selected, we go into this edit or apply color group, and we'll begin to play around with that as well. This button here, it's just randomly changing color order, and that actually looks nice too. You can go here and you can do hue forward or hue backward. Or you can do dark to light, or light to dark. There's different options in here as well, and we can continue to work with that. That looks good there. Click No.