Whether you're in need of stock graphics for print or web, vector artwork often does the trick the best, being easily scaled and edited. In this quick tip we'll explore how to use and edit vector stock graphics in both Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW with some help from the fantastic designers at Envato Market.
1. Downloading and Locating Your File
Firstly, we need to acquire a vector file and make sure it's usable. For the purposes of this tutorial, I'll be using the vector illustration Flat Design Concepts for Education, which you can purchase on Envato Market.
Download your file and unzip the folder. If you're on a Mac, simply Double-Click the downloaded file to decompress it. If you're on a Windows machine, Right-Click the zipped folder and then hit Extract All... in order to decompress it.
From here, you can move your files or folder to wherever you like to store your graphic assets. Often it's helpful to your future self to store them in a folder marked "Resources" or "Assets".
2. Editing the File in Adobe Illustrator
Open your downloaded AI file in Adobe Illustrator. In this case, I've opened the file labeled 04.AI. We'll be focusing on the top portion of the vector illustration.
Good stock vector files will be easy to navigate within the Layers panel. They'll be clearly labeled so you can get the most out of the file you bought and need to use.
In the case of this file, we have the top illustration labeled as "Education" and the objects are Grouped together, separate from the background.
Select your entire Education layer and go to Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Art in order to easy replace the colors found within your artwork. You can choose from various color harmonies and pre-made palettes, create new colors, or choose hues from your Swatches panel.
As you can see below, you can drastically change the look of a stock vector graphic simply by recoloring it. It's one of the most common edits made to stock vector graphics, and knowing how to do it easily will save you time.
Alternatively, you can select vector objects individually with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and change their fill colors manually.
Another common edit is to move, transform, and reuse assets from a stock vector graphic. Select your object group, Right-Click, and select Ungroup in order to free your objects from their current layout.
Once ungrouped, your illustration's assets are easily reconfigured, allowing you to create additional icons, change the illustration layout, or delete components as you want.
You can also Scale, Rotate (R), and Move icons from your vector file around and create a seamless, repeated pattern with the Pattern Options panel, giving a whole new purpose for the graphic you downloaded.
3. Editing the File in CorelDRAW
Open the AI file in CorelDRAW. Much like Adobe Illustrator, you'll find the file is organized into multiple groups within one layer. You can easily see what your file consists of in the Object Manager docker.
I've zoomed in on one of the objects. Sadly, they are not named as I wish they were, but as you can see you have full control over every object and can Group (Control-G) or Ungroup (Control-U) as you see fit in order to edit individual object components.
You can recolor an object in the Object Properties docker or one of the color palette dockers as you would with any other curve object within CorelDRAW. Additionally, from here you can alter each curve's properties as you see fit.
Changing the color, transparency, size, rotation, position, or other attributes of objects within the illustration file is simple, as you have full control over the items as though you had created them yourself. Simple changes like these are similar to those we discussed above while working in Adobe Illustrator.
Additionally, you can Ungroup the layout and move various icons together to form new icons and illustrations. This is especially true for vector stock graphics that are character sets, desk icons, and infographics.
Great Job, You're Done!
We explored some simple techniques for recoloring and editing a stock vector file in both Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW. The ideas and instructions above are only the tip of the iceberg, really. You can explore gradients and fountain fills, a variety of vector and raster effects, patterns, graphic styles, and more!
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