How to create color variants of your artwork with actions panel and Phantasm

In today's tutorial, I'll show you how to automatically create color variants of your artwork using the Actions feature and Range controls of Phantasm's Hue/ Saturation effect. Let's make our workflow easier once we get it automated.

Zap Color variants

Step 1

To recolor vector artwork, we will use the Hue/ Saturation feature of the Phantasm plug-in (Filter > Phantasm > Hue / Saturation … or Effect > Phantasm > Hue / Saturation …).

With the help of this function we can simultaneously control the Hue, Saturation and Lightness of vector objects. This function is also ideal for fine-tuning colors in a CMYK document so that the artwork is within the gamut of an output device. Control is also extended to determining which hue ranges may be adjusted in both CMYK and RGB documents. Today we will be recoloring "ZAP!" comic text, the process and creation of which we discussed in the previous tutorial here. I'm going to create 8 color variants for this artwork. For precise color adjustment I will use the Range option and Range controls of the Hue/Saturation effect. The ranges menu gives access to six hue ranges in addition to the Master range. Each range’s start/end and fade in/out can be fully adjusted – the menu color name entries will adjust automatically to best describe the range you will be editing. To edit a range, select a default color range from the Edit pull-down menu other than Master.

Hue/saturation edit Master

 

This will display the corresponding controls between the color stripes as shown below:

Range controls panel

To edit the hue range controls, drag the inner controls (B and D) to determine the 100% affect range and the outer controls (A and E) for the feathering/fall-off limits.

It is possible to drag the regions between the controls (such as C) or the areas between controls (A to B and D to E) to adjust the overall range or the feathering/fall-off limits as a whole. It is also possible to edit each range and the Master individually and concurrently. For example, choose RED range, set -180 for the Hue and while running the color stripes, pick the acceptable color combination.

Hue/saturation panel - Edit reds

 Step 2

Save the achieved result as a new style in the Graphic Style panel. Duplicate the comic text the necessary amount of times. For each copy we get a new combination of colors with the help of the Range option and the Range controls of the Hue/ Saturation effect. Save each color variation as a style in the Graphic Style panel.

Graphics styles panel

Step 3

Now let's create a simple action, which will make the recoloring automated. The process of creating the action is described in detail in the How to create comic text effect with Actions and Phantasm in Illustrator article, so I will limit myself only to the actions that need to be written in the Actions panel:

  • Object > Transform > Move… (Horizontal: 700px this value depends on the size of your object and is selected so that the copies did not overlap each other) and click Copy button
  • Apply “color 1” graphic style
  • Object > Transform > Move… (Horizontal: 700px) and click Copy button
  • Apply “color 2” graphic style
  • Object > Transform > Move… (Vertical: -500px) and click Copy button
  • Apply “color 3” graphic style
  • Object > Transform > Move… (Horizontal: -700px) and click Copy button
  • Apply “color 4” graphic style
  • Object > Transform > Move… (Horizontal: -700px) and click Copy button
  • Apply “color 5” graphic style
  • Object > Transform > Move… (Vertical: -500px) and click Copy button
  • Apply “color 6” graphic style
  • Object > Transform > Move… (Horizontal: 700px) and click Copy button
  • Apply “color 7” graphic style
  • Object > Transform > Move… (Horizontal: 700px) and click Copy button
  • Apply “color 8” graphic style
  • Shift + Cmd/Ctrl + A (Deselect)

Now click on the Stop button in the Actions panel.

Actions panel

Let's check out how it works. Delete all the color variations in the artboard, leaving only the original comic text, then select it and run the Color variant action, pressing the play button in the Actions panel button.

Color variant action

Everything works fine. Thanks to Phantasm and the Actions feature, it only took us a few minutes to get 8 color variants of our artwork. (If you want to execute this action in another document, remember to import the graphic styles created in that document.)

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