Martini Hour 088, In Which We Magically Change Color

Don’t worry dekePhotoshopLovers, we’re a little obsessed with Illustrator lately, but now that the Book is off to the printer (insert sigh of relief) we’ll get back to our PhotoshopLove soon. But Illustrator has some magical powers as well, and this week in the ‘lounge we discuss the magic of the elusive Live Color. It’s elusive because Adobe has all but abandoned the term, but the powers remain. And I frankly think it’s pretty cool that you can map every color in your illustration to another color to match your website, wardrobe, or interior decorating needs. As you can see below, changing color can turn a menacing pirate into a suspiciously Yoda-like creature:

Here’s a black-and-white list of the critical (and not) observations from this week show:

  • English cucumbers have thinner skins than your standard cucumber.
  • You can still see “Live Color” in the interface when you undo some of the related activities. Apparently the Adobe engineers didn’t get the marketing memo.
  • We’re a little disturbed by the term “Color Harmony” because some of these mathematical collections of color are downright cacophonous. But I guess “algorithmic color pattern” isn’t quite as catchy.
  • You can lift your new color palette from another file, from Adobe Kuler, or from a pre-existing set of color groups that already lurk in Illustrator.
  • The loading process for new colors is the least fun aspect of the endeavor. But the Recolor Artwork dialog box will be more entertaining (whoops, almost said “fun” again, everybody sip your martini!) if you pre-arrange some color groups to work with.
  • The Madras color panel looks just like our drinks, and even includes cucumber-coordinating greens.
  • Although it (at one time) had that magical word “live” associated with it, the Recolor Artwork dialog box is not dynamic in the way Live Trace is. You can’t revisit the recoloring the way you can the tracing we discussed a few weeks ago.

Give it a try. Listen to this week’s show, then recolor your world. Here’s the regular-quality audio file. You can stream, or for best results, right-click and choose Download or Save. Here’s the high-res version; you’ll want to download rather than stream. And don’t forget our usual plea to subscribe via iTunes.

Cheers to ever-changing colors, and pirates, and the Yoda who lurks in us all.


Next entry:Sketching the Pirate Flag

Previous entry:Illustrator CS5 One-on-One Advanced: Preview Coming @ U

  • Any Availability for Zune Players?

    Deke ...I’m Adicted to your Podcasts .... is there an ability to get martini hour to Zune?
    Actually I’m subscribing to dekepod….but I need the martini hour as well

  • CS4, CS5


    I was wondering, I have CS4 and I am interested in CS5, but I really don’t have the money to put out at the moment. Is CS4 comparable to CS5 and can I achieve the same results on projects by following CS5 tutorals with CS4 software?

    Thank you,

    Jay Prewitt

  • Paint the green hair and watch it change to blond

    I’m on page 102 of CS5 one-on-one. I didn’t get your RGB values, but using them, the hair turns purple. In fact, alt-clicking the eyedropper anywhere in the image gives me the same weird color.

    Hue mode, opacity 100%, flow 100%, brush tool. I have a screen shot of the situation but don’t know how to post it.

    Any idea where I’ve gone off track?



  • Call for answers

    Anyone? Anyone?

  • Stuck again - this time on page 121

    Having gotten so much help on my previous question, I’ll ask another. Now I’m on page 121 of CS5 one-on-one with my four layers set up, background, pure white, pure black, and photocopy. The image appears completely black.

    When I double-click the right side of the black layer and adjust the Underlying Layer slider to 160 in the Layers Style dialog, the automated filling in with black doesn’t happen. In fact, nothing I’ve tried in the dialog box fills in the hair with black.

    Is anybody else working through the exercises in Deke’s book? Anyone had this problem?


  • My guess is that your monitor

    Is displaying the colors slightly differently from those on which I tested this exercise. Every screen is going to give you slightly different feedback, even if calibrated properly.

    Try lifting the Green value a little. Set the values in the Color panel to R: 90, G: 75, B:50 and then brush away the green area again. That small nudge to the Green value (just 5 percent) can make a lot of difference.

  • Hey, Will

    I tried the steps as written and achieved the same results pictured in Figure 4-47.

    It sounds like your layers are stacked in the right order (Background, White, Solid Black, Photocopy).

    Is your White layer set to 50% Opacity? That’s the only problem I can think of off hand.

    As luck would have it, this same exercise is available on the site at Creating a Photo-Realistic Line Drawing Part 1 and Part 2.

  • CS5 is mostly similar to CS4

    Obviously, CS5 offers more features, as well as several modifications to pre-existing features.

    I dedicate entire exercises to Puppet Warp and HDR Pro, both missing in CS4. I show the new bristle brushes and mixer brush in Video Lesson 4. And other enhancements, such as Refine Edge and Content-Aware Fill, are scattered here and there in the steps.

    That said, I’d estimate than about 85% to 90% of the steps work the same in CS4 as they do in CS5.

    Having said that, I have a CS4 versions of both the One-on-One book and the videos. Click the links to learn more.

  • Thanks for the tips

    I’ll give them a try.


  • recolor

    Recolor is soooo much fun, who knew!

  • Paint the green hair and watch it change to blond

    Well, it worked fine today. Who knows what user error was involved previously.



  • User error part deux

    Well, my problem here was the old “failure-to-follow-instructions” error. I should try these when my brain is working, as it appears to be today. I was dragging the black triangle to the right, not dragging the white one to the left, as the text CLEARLY stated.

    Thanks for humoring me. Dementia can’t be too far away . . .

  • What I didn’t learn in Lesson 4

    This is trivial, and I doubt it would lead many folks astray, but the item that matches 12 is D, not C. Also, this eliminates the problem of the same answer to two questions.



Be the first to drop some wisdom...