Learn how to find pieces of shapes and to fill with gradients and solid colors. Covers using the Layers panel to isolate shapes within a larger shape.

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Hello, I’m Helen Bradley. Welcome to this video tutorial. In this video I’m going to show you have to recolor spirals in Illustrator and we’re going to do it the easy way. Before we start this tutorial I want to show you what we’re going to end up with. I have a shape here that I have been creating in the last few video tutorials. And I’ve showed you how to turn an oval and a circle into a shape like this using Pucker and Bloat and then Transform. And in this video tutorial I’m going to show you how we can recolor this shape. It may not be easy to see unless I point it out but this basic shape actually has a gradient fill in it. It’s a yellow to orange gradient. But the center of each of these flowers is colored orange. And some of these petals have been individually colored with solid colors. And I’m going to show you how you can create not only this Gradient Fill effect but also isolate different areas in this shape to apply different effects to them. So let’s get started. And here I have the basic shape that we’re going to work on. The trick with working with a shape like this spiral here which hasn’t been expanded so right now if I affect the colors on this particular shape I’m going to affect the colors in the entire spiral. The trick is being able to isolate the component parts. We’re going to start by applying our gradient. So I’m going to select the foreground fill and click Gradient. I’m actually going to select one of the built in gradients and we’re going to use orange to yellow gradient. Now it’s not working particularly well. But that’s fine because I’m just going to hide that dialog and go back to the Gradient Tool because now I can drag over the shape to apply the gradient the way I want it to be. If I drag from the outside across the shape the inside of the spiral becomes red and the outside is yellow. If I go the other way the outside of the spiral is red and the inside is yellow. And I just need to pick exactly what I want this shape to be. And by dragging smaller gradients I can affect more of the shape with red and less with yellow or drag the other way to add more yellow and less red. So I’m just going to find a sort of good intermediate position and call that good. The next thing I want to do is to isolate the middle of the shape and then isolate some of these petals. The easiest way to do that is to go to Window and then Layers. Now you may find that the Layers palette is a little bit confusing but it’s actually going to help us a lot here. So this is our main layer and it contains a group and the group has lots of little bits in it. So I’m just going to click these fly out menus so that I can see exactly what’s in my shape. And the thing I’m interested in right now is this bit because it’s the bit in the middle of my flower. So if I click this icon here I’ve isolated just that middle shape. And now I can fill it with whatever I like. So I’m going to choose green because it’s going to be really obvious that it’s happening. And this color is changing throughout the entire shape. Now I can isolate individual bits of my shape so I can select for example this piece here. And this is going to be this object. So I could apply a solid fill to it. I could also apply a gradient fill if I wanted to but I just want to isolate a few of these petals and just change their colors. Let’s have a look at this one. This is two around the path and that’s a good area for me to affect. I’m going to make that blue. And let’s have a look and see which this one is. It’s again two more around and I’m going to make it red. And now that I’ve finished with my layers I can just hide it. And let’s just click outside the shape and this is what we came to do. You can see that we have our gradient fill across the flower. The center of the shape is green and some of these petals have been refilled with solid colors. In future if I want to affect this shape I’m now going to have to be a little bit more discreet. If I want to affect my gradient I can come back in here, target my shape, go back to Window and then Layers and this time I’m going to hide the pieces that I don’t want to affect. So I’m going to hide the blue and the red and the green pieces. Now I have selected only the objects that are filled with the gradient fill. And now I can go back and grab my Gradient Tool and try and build up a different gradient effect for the image. I could even change the entire gradient, change the colors in it. And then when I’m ready to go back I can just redisplay these other pieces so that they are now visible. But you can see that because they weren’t visible when we applied the gradient they’re not actually being affected by it. So there we have our recolored shape. I hope you’ve enjoyed this video tutorial. I’m Helen Bradley. Look out for more of my Illustrator tutorials on this YouTube channel.

Helen Bradley