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Wrangle Illustrator CS3's New Live Color!

You're gonna love Illustrator's new Live Color command. It remaps the colors in your artwork, creating eye-popping color combinations'—reducing artwork to a specific number of colors with just a few mouse clicks.

Check out Live Color:

1. Select the artwork whose color you'd like to manipulate;
then click on Recolor Artworkfrom the Control Bar at the top of the screen or choose
Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork.
Either way, the Live Color dialog box appears.

Screenshot 5a
Screenshot: Indicating Recolor Artwork button on Control Bar at top

At first glance, there seems to be a lot happening in the Live Color dialog box. There are so many different effects and commands available, so let's look at a few of the cooler commands.

2. Harmony Rules: At the top of the Live Color dialog box, choose a Harmony Rule from the pull-down menu.

Color -
Screenshot: Opening Harmony Rule menu at top of Live Color dialog

This menu is the same as in the Color Guide panel, except now it's your selection that's being used as a base and as soon as you choose a harmony rule, the colors in your selected artwork change.

What's really goin' on? The Live Color dialog box is reassigning the colors in your artwork to new colors based on the harmony rule that you selected. You don't have to stick with color choices from the Harmony Rule menu; you can use them as a starting point, and then tweak your colors.
Try this:

3. Change'em Up: Click on one of the color swatches in the New column; then at the bottom of the Live Color dialog box, use the CMYK sliders to adjust color. The new color changes in your selected artwork.

Screenshot: Using CMYK sliders at bottom of Live Color dialog

Try Double clicking on a color swatch in the New column to open the Color Picker. There you can choose a color from the picker window, or specify HSB, RGB, CMYK, or Hexadecimal values.
When you set a new color, your selected artwork updates.

4. To switch which new color is assigned to the original colors, drag the new color swatch up or down in the list to reassign a new color to a different original color at any time.

If you created a new Color Group in the previous section (and you're working in the same file), you'll see it listed on the right side of the dialog box).

5. Color Groups: To assign colors from a Color Group, just select it from the list.

Illustrator assigns the colors in your Color Group to the original colors in your artwork. Of course, you can continue adjusting and playing with colors in the Live Color dialog until you achieve the effects you're after.

Once you're happy with the remapped colors in your artwork, click OK to close the Live Color dialog box.

So there's a look at two killer new features that'll hopefully have you busy experimenting with Illustrator for quite a while.



SEE: Geoff's excellent Get Better With Illustrator Tips

Geoff Blake is a Toronto-based writer, trainer, designer, and artist, most recently penning Ten Ton Dreamweaver with Peachpit Press. For the past nine years, he's provided a wide range of graphic design, artwork, consulting, training, and web design services, building a solid stable of industry-leading clients. A professional public speaker since 1997, Geoff has taught desktop publishing, web design and graphics courses in both the corporate and post-secondary environments, working closely with some of the largest training providers and colleges in the Toronto area. Currently, he's an expert presenter with Total Training, and regularly contributes to industry-leading magazines, publications, and websites. Visit Geoff online at Ten Ton Books

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