Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop & InDesign Color Intro

Art 260 / Greg Clayton

Current graphic applications provide extensive means to control, alter and explore color alternatives. Adobe CS3+ offers ColorGuide , Live Color and Kuler.




Color Guide, Live Color & ReColor Artwork:

If you're a color design pro, you'll want to be able to develop well structured color schemes, as well as fanciful and dischordant scheme freely and fluidly. Kuler and Live Color allow you to modify organized collections of colors with very practical control.
If you're a creative color pro, you need to explore a variety of schemes and variations on schemes within your compositions. Live Color makes it possible to explore the effect many different schemes within your Illustrator design in a hurry.

If you want to show you clients alternatives easily, Recolor enables you to generate a broad array of options for presentation.
If you've got a product branding project that involves similar designs with unique schemes (ala all the varieties of Coke cans), Live Color makes it possible to build one design with many color personalities in a hurry.


Adobe Illustrator CC

Color Groups Harmonies Guide

Color Guide Intro (video tutorial)

Recolor Tutorial (video tutorial)


An Introduction to Illustrator’s Color Tools
This article steps you through the absolute basics of color editing in Illustrator. The article concludes with a brief intro to Color Guide, Live Paint and Kuler. If you've not done much with Illustrator, this is a good survey of the color tools. | Kuler Notes |

Live Color

Color Harmony Tools

Color Management

Basic Tactics

Basic monitor-workflow issues intro.

Online Tutorials, Videos and Articles

Live Color has been around since CS3 and several of the tutorials down below are from then — when it first came out.
*** AdobeTV/ Recoloring Artwork in Illustrator CC

* Color Picker and Color Swatches Panel in Illustrator CC: color swatch/palette management and color-searching.

*** Illustrator Color Groups/Harmonies tools, Color Guide panel
** Illustrator —  Quickly Adjusting Colors using the Appearances Panel

** Recolor Artwork in Illustrator CS6 ('12)
YouTube video tutorial on Pantone-color pre-press design re-coloring.

Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced—Introducing the Color Guide panel
This video tutorial shows the latest interface, now titled Color Guide rather than Live Color. The tools are basically the same as they've been since CS3, but are, as always, somewhat hard to find.
Specify a key color -- select an object that is filled with your dominant color.
Window: Color Guide to access the Color Guide panel
Harmony Rules access other (hopefully related) color schemes.
Deke organizes his objects and colors by layer ... so he applies color by layer, rather than by object. That can be a handy organization strategy in some designs.

Recolor Artwork in Adobe Illustrator CS5:
Two video tutorials — '10.
"This tutorial on the Recolor Artwork dialogue box will drastically increase your ability to experiment with color and to try a variety of new color schemes quickly. In this tutorial we will cover the basics of Swatches and Color Guide and how they can be used in conjunction with the Recolor Artwork feature."

The first video show the absolute basics of color application and swatches in Illustrator.
The second video actually get in to the Recolor Artwork tools.

Create Colors in Harmony with Ease in Illustrator CS5
Build color schemes and modify them using Color Guide in Illustrator CS5

Adobe Help: Live Paint Bucket Tool
Here's Adobe's instructions for basic tool use.

Working with Color Groups, Color Guide & Color Harmonies: Illustrator CS4, Live Color***
This is a nice intro the many tools related to Live Color in recent versions of Illustrator.

Working with color groups and color harmonies**
This is the step-by-step tutorial article by Deke mcClelland that walks you through selecting color palettes (groups) and applying them to existing designs. It covers the same content as the video, above.

How to Quickly Recolor Complex Objects with the Appearance Panel***
This article offers a very practical demo of not-often-seen re-coloring tactics in Illustrator. The Appearance Panel has some secrets you probably don't know about.
If you want modify varied color to mutliple instances of the same object/group, be sure to check this one out.




Live Color in Adobe Illustrator***
'09 Video.
Tutorial begins by quickly converting a color photo into Illustrator vector art using LiveTrace (which is NOT a LiveColor tool...but can be handy)
LIbrary Button: converts colors in image to nearest color in any selected library
CMYK Sliders: change individual color via color components
Global Adjust: alter all colors in illustration wholistically.
Magnifying Glass: compare selected color with instances in the illustration
Edit tab: change illustration colors via color wheel and value slider.
OR rotate all hues.
ReColor Artwork button: CMYK-to-Pantone color.

Getting Started: 09 Using Live Paint intro to altering fill/strokes according to overlap tactics. Initial content covers stroke/fill editing tactics in Live Paint Groups.
The most interesting topic is the LIve Paint features.
Live Paint Bucket: select group of objects; select LP Bucket tool; roll over objects, use arrow keys to switch colors, click to apply.
Live Paint Group

Working with color groups and color harmonies*** video survey of Edit Color and Recolor Artwork and Kuler tools within Live Color, in CS4 (and CS5).
Recolor your designs.
Reduce colors.
Add colors to existing palettes.

Introducing Illustrator CS4
Most of the video covers other tactics, but at about the 8minute mark, the Recolor Artwork dialog is presented.

Using Kuler color themes
Basic intro to Kuler tactics for creating color schemes from scratch, from existing images, or from other designers.
Access Kuler color schemes directly from Illustrator.

Live Color in Illustrator CS3
Good intro to Live Color tactics for applying varied schemes to existing art.
Options Bar: Recolor Artwork leads to Live Color
Shows current color palette
Offers harmony rules or schemes which can be applied.
Note preview prior to committing. Thus you can test and view schemes applied to your design before committing.



Live Color in Illustrator CS3 | same video? |
'07 Video.
A good introduction to the Live Color/Recolor Artwork tools.

Live Trace and Live Paint in Illustrator CS3
Mainly a sketch-to-path/shape demo. Live Paint used to quickly apply color.


Using Recolor Art to Change Colors
A video tutorial that shows how to revise color schemes on the fly in IllusCS3 using an interactive color wheel to build color structure.
Explores how to reduce or simply a scheme into fewer colors.
Use Present schemes to convert an existing illustration into a particular preplanned scheme — even into one- or two-color schemes.

Live Paint in Illustrator
Video tutorial on IllusCS3 Live Paint. The Live Paint Bucket allows you to paint objects in a group with varied colors from a paint palette.
Objects in a Live Paint group can be reposited freely while still maintaining their overlap colors.

Lightning Fast Coloring with Live Paint**
This video tutorial does a nice job of demonstrating the Live Paint Bucket tool, and then he changes colors within his palette to quickly revise the design that uses that palette.


Illustrator & Kuler combined.
This is a illustration project tutorial. At step 24, color issues begin with a Kuler palette.

Color Guide in Illustrator
A video on IllusCS3 Live Color, Color Guide tools.
Active colors provide typical schemes relying on a "base color" — the dominating color in the scheme.
Color Palette.
Active Color.
Base Color.
Variation Grid showingTints/Shades (value variations), or Warm/Cool (analogous hue variations), or Vivid/Muted (chroma variations).
Color Library limitations.

Creating, editing, and experimenting with color groups
A video on IllusCS3 Live Color tools.
Begin with the Live Color edit color wheel that allows you to build color schemes around a "base color" by altering the color structure interactively.
Global Adjustment allows you to alter H/V/C traits of all colors in a palette.
Limited to Library option.
Color Groups.

Finding Colors with kuler
A nice video introduction to Adobe's Kuler application and web site.
Kuler is sort of social networking for color designers — you can create color schemes and share them with others, or browse and download schemes that others have posted.
Use Adobe Swatch Exchange to import color schemes into Illustrator. AI: Window: Adobe Labs: kuler (CS5 location?)

Adobe Kuler and 'Street Art Color Extract'— stealing colors from the street with iPad & Kuler
This is a music-videoesque promo of a cool way to grab color where you find it, upload it to Kuler, and use it in your Illustrator pallete.


Using Smart Objects and Live Color
A video on IllusCS3 Live Color tools.
An Illustrator file is placed into Photoshop as a Smart Object.
The last minute or so involves Live Color tools to revise color scheme for a collection of objects.

Use Kuler with Illustrator
Simple intro to
a) creating a 5-color palette in Kuler,
b) downloading/exporting that palette to your computer and
c) accessing the palette in Illustrator/Photoshop.

Photoshop Adjustment Layer — make your red car blue
This is an older tactic that you really need to be familiar with — check it out. Hue-Saturation Adjustment layers offer ready means to make dramatic changes in image color.

Live Trace, Kuler, Live-Color in Illustrator
A tutorial starting with an imported raster image/graphic that is Live-Traced, then Kuler is searched for an appropriate palette, then the colors are quickly applied using Live Color

Get the Right Color with Kuler
A helpful intro to Live Color access to Kuler's schemes, and to basic scheme revision in Illustrator.
Between 5.00-6.30, he demos changing the scheme of a package design effortlessly.

Trace, Paint and Color in Illustrator CS3**
An overly sweet introduction to the Live Paint tools... but the key tools are covered well.

Illustrator CS5 Tutorial - How To Use "Live Paint"
This video starts very slow and is very basic, but it does (eventually, at about 4 minutes) begin applying color with.
(really basic)
Object: Live Paint: Make ... to convert a selected collection of objects/paths into a Live Paint object.
Shape/PntBucket: Live Paint tool to rotate through palette colors and apply to each sub-shape within the Live Paint object.

Color with Live Paint Tutorial
This page of step-by-step tasks leads you through the basics of Live Paint method for applying color to sub-shapes within a design.



Color Control in After Effects CS5
"3 features in After Effects CS5 to help improve the color in your video clip: 1) Levels, 2) Vibrance, and 3) the Color Finesse 3 plugin"
Get to know After Effects techniques for shifting color traits.

After Effects CS5: Color Finesse
"This effects plugin that comes with After Effects CS5 will let editors take better advantage of the higher quality 32-bit color space."

Cafe Fibonacci/Episode 1
Around the 15minute mark, they show us Live Color (along with lots of other goodies).

Using Live Color to reduce colors
How to prep designs for 2-color or 3-color Pantone spot jobs. "Learn how to use Illustrator's LiveColor feature to replace, reduce, and manipulate the colors in your image."

Spot Color: From Photoshop to InDesign
"takes an image and uses Channels to create a spot color version which he then takes over to InDesign to ready for printing."
Takes a color photo, converts it to gray-scale, then converts it to a spot-color+black duotone.
Then presents an alternate technique using Channels to provide a richer, more varied spot color-based 2-color separation.
see also:
Two-Color Printing with InDesign CS4

LivePaint in Illustrator CS3
This quick-paint strategy allows you to pour colors from a palette into a traced image.

[color managment]

Adobe Releases Color Management Module
"Adobe has released the Adobe Color Management Module (CMM) on as a free download. The Adobe CMM helps users achieve consistent color workflows when designing for print, Web, multimedia and mobile devices. Adobe customers accustomed to the benefits of achieving consistent color when deploying Adobe Creative Suite applications."

Printing Photos (Photoshop CS3)
The last half or so of this tutorial video focuses on some color-related issues.

Accessible artwork in Photoshop
"how to proof color, not only for CMYK, but also test our images to see if people with color blindness can read them well."

Preparing for Print with InDesign
"You need to check for many things before printing, like missing fonts, resolution even specific spot colors. Lets look at the Live Preflight in InDesign CS4."



Older Articles

Global Color Replacement in Adobe Illustrator:
Interesting use of advanced selection technques to help you more easily select many shapes/objects that match particular fill/stroke traits.

Illustrator Tips: Organizing Colors and Palettes:
Useful workflow ideas on how to manage color within Illustrator. "...constructs a color chart file in Adobe Illustrator that makes it easy to create several illustrations with the same palette and allows her to work with colors in an intuitive manner..."
(Excerpted from "The Illustrator 10 Wow! Book 2002: applicable to current versions?)


Color Structure and Design, by Richard G. Ellinger ---




Articles and Links

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