søndag den 29. oktober 2017

Simple trick to merge colors in Adobe Illustrator


Today I will show you a simple trick about how to merge colors in the Illustrator swatch palette. Usually I use it if I can see, that there are two almost similar colors in my artwork. Sometimes also for other purposes, but more about this later. It really depend of the specific artwork.
As a first step you must create a color group.
Do this by first selecting your artwork.
Then go to the swatches panel and press the New Color Group button.
The next step is very important: In the New Color Group Dialog Box mark the check box "Convert Process to Global".
Your new group will appear in the Swatches panel.
You can see, that all swatches now have a little triangle in the lower right corner. The triangle means that they are all Global Swatches. You can read about the differences between Process, Global and Spot colors in my previous blog post here.
In the artwork I am using in this example,  I have to orange colors, that are very similar to each other. I can´t see any reason to have both of them, so why not merge them?
In order to do so:
  1. First select the swatch you want the color will be
  2. Then select the swatch you want to overwrite by holding the Shift key or Cmd/Ctrl key
  3. Then choose the Merge Swatches command from the Drop down menu in the upper right corner
The two orange colors will be merged and the Artwork is updated "automagically".

This can also be used more extensively. Now, let us say, that I want my artwork to be only Black and White.
By pressing Cmd/Ctrl key or Shift key I choose all swatches I want to be Black and merge them the way I described earlier.
I do the same with all swatches I want to be White

I end with only two swatches in my group. Then its very easy to change the colors. I just double click on the swatch I want to be White and change it in the pop up menu.
And do the same with the Swatch, that is supposed to be Black.

This is a very simple way to manage your swatches. There are a couple of other smart tools in Illustrator, which helps you to recolor artwork. I plan to explain them in my future posts. Let me know in the comments below if you find any smart uses for your artwork ;-)

tirsdag den 10. oktober 2017

Process, Global and Spot colors in Adobe Illustrator

Hello again,

Here on Productivista I want to make a series of blog posts dedicated to the theme: Changing colors in Adobe Illustrator.

First I want to make a brief introduction to the differences between Process, Global and Spot colors.

I´m one of these persons, who loves autumn.  That´s why I created an autumn inspired illustration for my posts about color changing.

Process colors swatch

In Adobe Illustrator Process colors are a mix of some primary colors. For example CMYK or RGB.
I will start with making a swatch of the color I used as a background. In order to do it I choose the orange rectangle and go to swatches panel where I choose "New Swatch" from drop down menu in the upper right corner.
 In option dialog box I give my swatch the name "Background" and then press OK.
My new swatch appears in the swatch panel and this swatch is a Process color swatch.

Global Color Swatch

In order to create a Global swatch you just need to mark the checkbox "Global" in the Swatch Option dialog box.
It will create the swatch with a little triangle in the bottom right corner.

The distinction is crucial. There is a big difference between Process and Global swatches. A Process swatch is just a placeholder for the colors and not linked to the drawing. Now, try and apply the Global swatch to a couple of elements at your artwork. Double click on the swatch and the Swatch options dialog box will appear.

Remember to put a check mark in Preview and you will see changes on the fly.
You will see, that when you change color values in the Swatch option dialog box the color will be changed at every place the Global swatch have been used: in fill, in stroke, in gradient or even in symbols.

Spot Colors

You can recognize the Spot colors by a little dot in the white triangle in the lower right corner of the colored square on the swatch.

The Spot colors indicate, that the person in the printshop must create a separate plate for these areas. Usually spot colors are swatches from one of the Pantone books, but you can also create your own Spot color. Choose "Spot Color" from the drop down menu in the Color Type option and press OK.

The color choice for the custom Spot Swatch doesn't really matter, because it usually just used to communicate with your printshop responsible. If you want some special effects in your artwork, for example if you want to make some areas shiny or metallic or put some glitter on, then you can use spot color to tell the printshop that they must make a separate plate for it. And you must of course tell them separately, what effect you want to use.

Let us say, that I want the small flying leaves in my illustration to be printed in gold. Then I will assign my own Spot color to them, as you can se below.
I choose my color to be 100% Magenta (as I explained before it really doesn't matter, what color you choose) and I name the swatch "Gold". The printshop then create a separate plate for them and use it to apply a golden color on the area.

I hope you find this information useful. I will be back next time with a simple trick how to easily merge swatches.