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Global Color Replacement in Adobe Illustrator

Working with the magic wand tool By Dave Nagel
It's easy to draw yourself into a corner in Adobe Illustrator. You may create complex illustrations involving hundreds--possibly thousands--of individual objects. And if you need to make changes (such as modifying fill color) to several objects of a particular type within your larger illustration, you might find yourself looking at hours of manual labor. But the Magic Wand tool can spare you that.

The Magic Wand tool in Illustrator allows you to select all objects in your document that share common attributes. You're probably familiar with the Magic Wand tool in Adobe Photoshop, which allows you to select potions of your image based on color characteristics. But in Illustrator, this tool is much more flexible. You can select objects based not only on fill color, but also stroke color, stroke weight, opacity, even blending mode. And this means that within your complex illustration, you care able to go in and select many sub-objects with a single click, then modify those objects to your heart's content--whether adding or modifying effects, changing stroke characteristics, changing colors or performing any number of other functions.

For this example, I've created a cat's-eye design composed of a few hundred individual elements. None of these objects are grouped. They're all little individual pieces.



There are two things I want to change about this illustration. First, I want to switch to a different shade of green, which means that I need to select all of the green objects and then modify their fill color. Then I want to change the fill and stroke characteristics of the innermost ring of yellow. I'll do these in two separate stages.

Selecting by fill and modifying characteristics
I'll begin with the simpler of the two: the change in the shade of green. This is a fairly simple process.

1. Begin by selecting the Magic Wand tool.




2. If you double-click the Magic Wand tool, it will call up the palette, which you can use to define the characteristics of the Magic Wand's selection. I will leave the parameters at default for now.



3. Now click with the Magic Wand tool onto an object that contains the fill you want to change. In my case, that's a green object. When I do this, all green objects will be selected.



4. Now simply change the fill color. To do this, open up the Color palette. Select the background square in the top left of the palette, and then enter a new value for the fill. Voila! Now I have a darker, more muted green for a fill color.




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