Contributed by Terry Hemphill, Illustrator Product Marketing Manager
Live Color, first introduced in Illustrator CS3, is one of my favorite features, but it seems that almost no one knows it’s there or, if they do discover it, they can’t figure out how to use it. Some think it’s only for selecting color harmonies, and hey, they’re designers, they don’t need software to choose colors for them, right?
For sure, there are many opinions on the implementation and user interface for Live Color, and I’ll admit, I’m hardly the expert on how to use this complex set of tools for choosing, applying and controlling color. I use Live Color simply because I can work with colors globally and adjust them in a design “live,” letting me quickly fine tune colors visually.
Can I at least tease you enough to explore this feature? Hang with me, and I’ll also point you to great tutorials from those who can really show you how to make it work.
I don’t need software to choose colors for me
Live Color can help you choose color harmonies based on the rules of color theory. in fact, Adobe Kuler is based on a subset of the color tools available in Live Color. But that’s just one small bit of Live Color’s real power. Don’t be put off thinking that’s all it’s about.
How do I find Live Color?
There are multiple ways to get there, as with almost any feature in Illustrator. For me, I first select the artwork I want to modify, then click on the “Recolor Artwork” icon in the Control Panel. See the screenshot below.
OK, I’m here, now what?
Now I’m going to turn you over to the experts. I did say this was a tease…
From Brenda Sutherland, a CS3 tutorial on Recolor Artwork
Note, the CS3 Video Workshop, where the video above is found, has lots of great content for all the Creative Suite products, but it seems to have disappeared from Adobe.com. Hopefully, the Adobe TV team is moving these videos over to a new home there. But in the meantime, you can explore this resource here.
Here’s Deke McClelland with another take on Live Color, for CS4. Note, Deke mentions the Kuler panel in Illustrator CS4. Illustrator CS3 users can also access the Kuler panel from the Illustrator Main Menu>Adobe Labs>kuler. It was a Beta preview for CS3, and not marketed, so it was bit hidden. And only available in English.
Hopefully, this will be enough to convince you to give Live Color a spin. Let me know if you’d like to know more about Live Color, and I’ll get the folks who actually helped create these tools to weigh in here on your thoughts and opinions.