A fellow artist introduced me to a blog called Design Seeds where visitors are treated to a steady stream of inspiring color palettes. Each palette is “packaged” beautifully by designer Jessica Colaluca with photography and a row of color chips.
When you find such inspiring color in your online travels, you want to bring it along with you into Adobe Illustrator and let it enliven your work. In Illustrator, though, you can hit a speed bump in the process. So, I have a simple tip for those who want to sample color from pixel based images like jpeg and png files.
If you drag an image from an open browser directly into an open Illustrator document, the image file will automatically embed. It’s the quick and dirty way to get an image into your file — and for the purposes of sampling color, it’s perfectly fine. (To keep your AI file sizes low, though, you’ll want to delete the reference photos when you’re through with them.)
Next, grab your Eyedropper tool and click on the color you want in the image, just like you would in Photoshop. Only in Illustrator, you may come up with a “none” fill on your color panel. How frustrating!
The easiest way to get around this is to hold the Shift key as you click with the Eyedropper. The color will appear in your color panel. (Thanks Clayton, my personal PS guru who sometimes outdoes me in AI too!)
When you have Appearance checked you are essentially sampling the no-fill, no-stroke shape that contains the image. It’s what you see when you look at the image in outline mode. The Eyedropper samples that appearance, rather than the pixels. When you uncheck the Appearance box, the Illustrator Eyedropper will sample the color from a photo. This is why I like the Shift key trick so much, because I like to leave Appearance checked in the Eyedropper options.
It’s always nice to get a little help (and good links) from my friends!