Learning to Use the Recolor Tool in Adobe Illustrator

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Learning to Use the Recolor Tool in Adobe Illustrator

Hey there, DIY Graphic Designers and content creatives! Are you still manually recoloring objects in Adobe Illustrator? Let’s change that! In this article, we'll explore the ins and outs of using the Recolor Tool in Adobe Illustrator, so you can spend less time on repetitive tasks and more time on what really matters - bringing your creative vision to life.

First, we'll dive into what the Recolor Tool actually is and why it's so important for your design work. Then, we'll take a closer look at the tool's various options, so you can get comfortable using it like a pro.

After that, we'll go through different scenarios for using the Recolor Tool, including recoloring objects of the same color and recoloring multiple objects of various colors all at once. We'll also show you how to use the tool to recolor artwork and customize swatch libraries.

By the end of this article, you'll have a comprehensive understanding of how to use the Recolor Tool in Adobe Illustrator and be ready to take your design game to the next level. So let's get started!

Understanding the Recolor Tool

Okay, let's start with the basics. The Recolor Tool is a powerful feature in Adobe Illustrator that lets you easily recolor your artwork. Whether you want to tweak the colors of a single object or recolor an entire artwork, the Recolor Tool has got you covered.

To access the Recolor Tool, you can either select your artwork and click on Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork or you can create a keyboard shortcut from Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts (alt+shift+ctrl+k) I currently have mine set to C because of how frequently I am using it of late. Once you're in the Recolor Tool interface, you'll see a few different options to work with.

The Basic interface has a color wheel and a few basic options for adjusting your colors, but the best feature on this window is the “Color Theme Picker” tool. The Color Theme Picker Tool allows you to sample color palettes from other Artwork even images (.png, .jpg etc) So the next time you’re scrolling pinterest and an image catches your inspiration you can copy and paste it into illustrator and create a color palette from it using the Color Theme Picker Tool and some basic swatches.

The Advance interface shows you the original colors of your artwork on the left and on the right side shows you the new colors you're applying. You can adjust the new colors in a variety of ways, from tweaking individual color sliders to applying global color palette shifts. You can use color palettes from Adobe or your own color libraries.

One of the great things about the Recolor Tool is that it lets you experiment with different color schemes and combinations easily. You can try out different hues, saturations, and brightness levels until you find the perfect combination for your artwork.

Recoloring Multiple Objects of the same Fill Color

Use the selection tool to select one shape or object in your design of the color that you wish to change the color and either use Select > Same > Fill color or set up a keyboard shortcut using Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts (alt+shift+ctrl+k). I currently have mine set to F1 as I am using it fairly frequently. Once you have all the same color fill objects selected you can just change the color as you would normal for an individual object, in this instance you don’t need to use the recolor artwork tool.

Recoloring Multiple Objects

To recolor multiple objects at once using the Recolor Tool, first select all of the objects you want to recolor. Then, go to Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork to open the Recolor Tool interface. Choose from the Color theme picker tool on the basic interface or select the advanced options to play around with custom color palette options and the HSB sliders in the Advance Recolor Artwork interface.

Recolor with Color Theme Picker Tool

One of the best ways to create a visually stunning artwork is by using a color scheme that works well together. And what's better than picking colors from an image that inspires you? 

In addition to choosing from pre-made color themes in the recolor artwork tool, the Color Theme Picker Tool allows you to extract colors directly from images such as JPG or PNG files. Once you've placed the inspiration image onto your artboard or into your workspace, select your artwork to recolor and simply go to Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork and the first interface should be the basic interface. In this panel, click on the "color theme picker" button to extract colors from your placed image.

You can adjust the brightness, saturation, and hue of individual colors within the theme to create a custom color scheme that perfectly fits your needs by going to the advanced options and adjusting the sliders for individual colors.

Using the Color Theme Picker Tool to extract colors from photographs is a great way to create a cohesive and visually pleasing color scheme that is inspired by real-life images. 

Customizing Swatch Libraries using Recolor Tool

With the Recolor Tool, you can easily customize any swatch library in Illustrator to create your own personalized color palette. To get started, first select a swatch library you want to customize from the Swatches panel. 

Then you will want to create a number of shapes that equal the amount of colors in the swatch library you have selected. The type of shape does not matter but for simplicity let's use the rectangle tool and create squares by holding down shift to drag out the first shape and then using the selection tool and holding Alt down we can quickly duplicate the shape until we have enough shapes that match the number of swatches. 

Next drag and drop each swatch onto a shape until you have all the swatches on your shapes.

Then, go to Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork to open the Recolor Tool interface. Recolor them with either the color theme picker and an image or use the randomizer to see what colors randomly generate.

Once you're happy with your customized colors it's time to create a swatch library. Select your objects again and select the folder icon in the bottom of the swatches panel to create a swatch group then be sure to save it as a new swatch library for easy access in future projects. Simply go to the Swatches panel and click on the "New Swatch Library" icon to save your custom swatch library.