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Working with color harmonies in CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X6

by Suzanne Smith

Color styles can be combined into groups called harmonies. A harmony allows you to link color styles into hue-based relationships and modify them together as a set. By editing color styles in a harmony, you can quickly create a variety of alternate color schemes by shifting the colors together, or you can alter the color composition of your artwork in one step.

You can create a color harmony from scratch or from the colors of an existing object.

This tutorial will teach you:

  • how to create new color harmonies from color swatches
  • how to associate the colors in a color harmony with objects within the document
  • how to create color harmonies from existing objects
  • how to edit the colors within a color harmony
  • how to exclude colors from a color harmony
  • how to create a gradient color harmony
  • how to export your color styles and harmony folders as a CorelDRAW style sheet for future use

For additional information on color harmonies, see:

  • Help > Help Topics > Templates and Styles > Creating and applying color styles
  • Help > Video Tutorials > Working with... > Working with Color Styles
  • Help > Guidebook > Chapter 6: Color Basics > Working with color styles and harmonies

Creating a color harmony from scratch

  • To create color styles and color harmonies you must first open the Color Styles docker by clicking Window > Dockers > Color Styles (or press CTRL + F6).
  • In the Color Styles docker, click the New color harmony button and choose New Color Harmony from the drop-menu (see Figure 1).


Figure 1

  • Drag a color swatch from any open palette to the harmony folder (see Figure 2).
  • To continue adding colors to the harmony folder that you just created, drag additional color swatches directly onto the harmony folder icon (see Figure 3).

Figure 2
  
Figure 3

Note: Dragging color swatches to the lower panel but not onto the harmony folder icon will result in additional harmony folders being created.

Associating colors from the new color harmony with objects in your document

  • Choose a color swatch from the harmony folder and drag it to one or more objects (see Figure 4). This will “link” the harmony color with that object, so that it will be automatically updated whenever you edit the harmony colors.


Figure 4

Creating a color harmony from existing objects

  • Drag an object to the bottom part of the gray area in the Color Styles docker (see Figure 5).


Figure 5

  • In the Create Color Styles dialog box, enable the Group color styles into harmonies check box and drag the slider all the way to the left until 1 appears in the box (see Figure 6). This will generate color styles from the object’s colors and group the color styles into a single harmony folder (see Figure 7).

Figure 6
  
Figure 7

Editing a color harmony

When you edit a color harmony, you can change all color styles simultaneously by preserving the relationship between them, or you can modify individual color styles within the harmony.

This color harmony was created by dragging a clipart object from the document window to the color harmony folder (aka, the bottom part of the gray area) in the Color Styles docker (see Figure 8).


Figure 8

  • To modify the colors in a harmony, click on any of the color selector rings and then rotate the rings in the color wheel (see Figure 9).
  • To change the value of one color only, click on a color selector swatch (in either the color harmony folder or the Harmony Editor). The corresponding color selector ring will become highlighted within the color wheel so that you can adjust the color.

Note: To select all colors again, click an area outside of the color wheel.


Figure 9

Using the Harmony Editor, you can experiment with different color schemes. By changing one color, you can also find other colors that go well with that color.

Applying precise color values to a harmony color style

After selecting a specific color from the harmony folder, the Color Editor provides several options for editing the color. You can use the eyedropper to sample a new color from within the CorelDRAW workspace, or from the desktop. You can also use the various color sliders, color viewers, and color palettes to pick a precise color (see Figure 10).


Figure 10

Excluding colors from a color harmony folder

There might be situations where you want to protect certain object colors.

For example, in the graphic below, you might want to protect the brown color of the tree trunk but modify the remaining leaf colors in a color harmony folder. There are two options you can use to accomplish this:

  • The first option is to drag the brown swatch to the top part of the gray area in the Color Styles docker, which will remove the color from the harmony folder and create an individual color style (see Figure 11).
  • The second option is to select the brown swatch and click on the Trashcan icon to completely remove the color from the color harmony folder (see Figure 11).


Figure 11

Gradient color harmonies

CorelDRAW allows you to create a special type of color harmony called a gradient. A gradient consists of a master color style and a number of shades of that color. In most of the available color models and palettes, the derivative styles share the same hue as the master color style but have different saturation and brightness levels.

Note: In the PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM and custom spot color palettes, the master color style and the derivative styles are linked to one another but have different tint levels.

To create a gradient color harmony

  • In the Color Styles docker, select a color style swatch (or drag a color swatch from an open palette to the bottom part of the gray area in the docker).
  • Click the New color harmony button and choose New Gradient (see Figure 12).


Figure 12

  • In the New Gradient dialog box, accept the default settings, and click OK. The New Gradient dialog box allows you to specify the number and type of shades that you want to create from the selected master color style (see Figure 13).


Figure 13

When you change the hue of the master color style in a gradient, you automatically update the related color styles, based on the new hue and the original saturation and brightness values (see Figures 14 and 15).


Figure 14
  
Figure 15

Assigning gradient color harmonies to objects

After you create a gradient, you can apply it to the design elements in your document.

  • Simply drag a color swatch from the harmony folder to an object (see Figure 16).


Figure 16

You can use the Harmony Editor in the Color Styles docker to preview your design in various color schemes. Simply select the gradient folder, and then drag to rotate any of the color selector rings in the color wheel (see Figures 17 and 18).


Figure 17
  
Figure 18

Saving color styles and harmony folders as CorelDRAW style sheets

You can make styles and style sets available for use in other documents by exporting them to a CorelDRAW style sheet (.cdss) file. A style sheet contains all the object styles, style sets, color styles, and default object properties in the active document. You can also use styles and style sets from other documents by importing the style sheet to which they were saved.

To export color styles and color harmony folders as a style sheet

  • In the Color Styles docker, click the Import, export or save defaults button, and choose Export Style Sheet (see Figure 19).


Figure 19

  • In the Export Style Sheet dialog box, type a name for your style sheet in the File name box and then click Export (see Figure 20).


Figure 20

  • In the next Export Style Sheet dialog box, enable only the Color styles check box, and click OK (see Figure 21).


Figure 21

To import color styles and color harmony folders

  • In the Color Styles docker, click the Import, export or save defaults button, and choose Import Style Sheet (see Figure 22).
  • In the Import Style Sheet dialog box, navigate to the folder in which the style was saved, select it, and click Import.


Figure 22

Note: You can share your harmony folders and color styles with other CorelDRAW X6 users, or import them on another machine. Simply email the stylesheet.cdss file and then import it into CorelDRAW X6 by following the above steps.

Note: You can also import styles and style sets from an existing CorelDRAW file by selecting the file in the Import Style Sheet dialog box and clicking Import.