I am attempting to pick the colour of the red outside of the eye in this image but the eyedropper tool keeps picking it as lighter than it actually is. The object created to the right is the colour the eyedropper has provided me and as you can see it is slightly lighter. Can anybody explain why this is happening?

Thank you in advance.

enter image description here

  • It appears the image you are sampling from is a raster image- it definitely looks that way compared to the vector shape you made (showing the incorrect color sample). A raster image will have many differently shaded pixels making up what looks like a single color. Zoom into the image you are sampling from and see if this is the case and then sample the correctly colored pixel for the color you want.
    – Kyle
    Aug 9, 2020 at 19:35
  • I just zoomed in as far as I could and tried the eyedropper again with the same result.
    – Pentax25
    Aug 9, 2020 at 19:55
  • There's something odd in your screenshot. Your colour swatch is actually showing the correct picked colour, but the filled quadrilateral is showing a different colour. see here. I would check the Appearance panel for each of these layers and objects to see if there are any blending modes or opacity changes.
    – Billy Kerr
    Aug 9, 2020 at 21:00
  • Good spot! I just did as you said and each of the layers has opacity and blending mode set to default. I also tried opening a brand new file with default settings and I get the same issue.
    – Pentax25
    Aug 10, 2020 at 21:05

2 Answers 2


By default, Illustrator's Eye Dropper Tool is set to average color (3x3 I think). If you want more precision, double-click the Eyedropper Tool in the tool bar and set it to Point Sample.

In addition... I see your document is in CMYK color mode. If you are sampling an RGB raster image inside a CMYK document the colors will be different. Not all RGB colors are possible in CMYK so Illustrator uses the closet approximation in those instances. If you want a specific color match, sampling with the Eye Dropper Tool is never the correct workflow. Use the numbers...

  • Thanks for the response. I checked my Eye Dropper tool and it was already set to point sample. I have opened an RGB colour document and tried the same thing and the colours are still off. How should I find out what the numbers are for an image if I don't have them already?
    – Pentax25
    Aug 9, 2020 at 20:30
  • Open the raster image in a raster editor and check the actual color there.
    – Scott
    Aug 9, 2020 at 21:16

Make sure you embed the image into the illustrator file rather than having it linked. No idea why but it seems to work.

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