In Photoshop, I would just add black and white on top of colors, change the opacity, and wallah... darker and lighter versions I could then use the eyedropper on and add to my palette.

In Illustrator, I do the same, however, the eyedropper grabs either the base color or the one I'd be using to darken or lighten it.

Is there's a way to do this directly to the color itself, or squash them together into a single swatch?

Example: Red Swatch (40 x 40), Yellow Swatch (40 x 40) = Orange Swatch that's reusable, not as two swatches, but one that can work with the eyedropper to get orange... not red or yellow.

2 Answers 2


You can use the blend tool.

Go to Object>Blend>Blend Options

Then from the drop down list select Specified Steps and then in the adjacent cell type 1.

enter image description here

Then on the left panel choose blend tool

enter image description here

Then click each object with the two colours, you will get an average of that object's shape and colour.

enter image description here

Then you can use the colour picker to get the desired colour.

EDIT: While the objects are linked, you can change the colour of the two initial squares to get colours on the fly. So if you changed the red to green and the yellow to blue, you will get turquoise in the middle one straight away (without having to make the shapes again). Could be an option to create an action to create the shapes and blend. And when you need a colour, all you need to do then is select the two outside shapes and apply your colours to them.

  • Thank you, Sir. The part with the Specified Steps is what i was overlooking. I throw "8" as the value, and then choosing black or white, I'm able to make 0-100% dark or light effects on objects now. Awesome screenshots, as well. I upvoted your answer, but came over here from Stack Overflow. Honestly. I wish I could give you a +1000. Feb 12, 2017 at 2:56
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    @SteveVentimiglia, I'm not sure if edits show as notifications, but I've added more information to the answer that I thought maybe helpful for you.
    – Aasim Azam
    Feb 18, 2017 at 5:21
  • Another timesaving tip! Much appreciated. As a traditional illustrator who's used pencils and ink as my initial forms of media (as well as being fairly dependent on Photoshop), I often find myself forgetting how dynamic the shapes can be in Illustrator and how much it's improved over the past decade. Very nice Feb 18, 2017 at 7:35

Using blends is a good technique for making intermediary colors.

You can however flatten your colors (so that you can then use the eyedropper on and create swatches, for example), which is useful if you have existing artwork that uses transparency and blending modes.

Simple procedure;

  1. Select your artwork.
  2. Object → Flatten Transparency...

Take this for example:

enter image description here

After flattening transparency:

enter image description here

Another option is to rasterize the artwork (Object → Rasterize...), use the eyedropper then undo the rasterization.

  • It's a good answer, but too many steps away from achieving it directly through the core of Illustrator, which is vector art. I wanted to understand the process using swatches, creating tones with them, and avoiding the manipulation of opacity so both colors remain 100% solid. It would have been way too easy to have Photoshop open as well, simply user that eyedropper to combine the colors and grab the numbers. The current process is really a deep dive into Illustrator, so I can refine my skill set a bit more. Excellent tips, though. Feb 15, 2017 at 23:38
  • Fair enough, it's literally one or two steps though (depending on whether you undo the flattening or not), and flattening retains the vectors, it literally just flattens the colors.
    – Cai
    Feb 15, 2017 at 23:49
  • It's worth noting that you can actually just use Photoshop's eye dropper on Illustrator too, which is easier :)
    – Cai
    Feb 15, 2017 at 23:50

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