How To Change Color Of PNG In Illustrator

So you’ve got this great PNG file that you want to use for a project, but the color scheme just isn’t working with your design in Illustrator. In this guide, you will learn how to change color of PNG in Illustrator.

how to change color of png in illustrator

In just a few simple steps, you’ll have that PNG file looking exactly the way you want in no time. Illustrator gives you a ton of options for altering the color, from simple hue shifts to completely custom color palettes.

How To Change Color Of PNG In Illustrator

The easiest way to change the color of a PNG file in Illustrator is to first embed the PNG image by clicking on the image and clicking the Embed button in the Control panel.

Then, go to the top menu bar to select Edit and Edit Colors and Adjust Colors in the drop-down menu.

Adjust the toggles as given in the Adjust Colors dialog box to change the color of your image and press the OK button.

The good news is that this is not the only way, and you can learn how to change the color of a PNG file in Illustrator in the following ways:

Method 1: Adjust Color Balance

Using the Adjust Color Balance method to change the color of a PNG file in Illustrator is great if you want to change the whole image to one new color.

Step 1: Embed PNG Image

First, duplicate your PNG image so that you have a backed-up linked image if you need it later. You can duplicate the image by holding down the Option key on a Mac or Alt key on Windows.

At the same time, click and drag your image to another position on the Illustrator artboard.

Place the duplicated image anywhere outside your artboard.

Then, select the other PNG image by clicking on it once.

Embed it by going to the Control panel or the Quick Actions section in the Properties panel and clicking on the Embed button. Your image is now unlinked from the file saved outside Illustrator.

how to embed images with embed button in quick actions in Adobe illustrator - How To Change Color Of PNG In Illustrator

Anything you do to it in Illustrator will not change the original file.

Step 2: Adjust Color Balance

Next, with the image still selected, go to the top menu bar, and select Edit. Then, in the drop-down menu, select Edit Colors, and in the next drop-down menu, select Adjust Color Balance.

select edit > edit colors > adjust color balance - How To Change Color Of PNG In Illustrator

In the Adjust Colors dialog box that opens up, check the Preview box to allow your adjustments to be seen in real-time.

check preview in adjust colors balance dialog box - How To Change Color Of PNG In Illustrator

Then, toggle the percentages of different colors that will eventually lead to the color change you want on your PNG file.

If your Color Mode is in RGB, you will see the toggles for Red, Green, and Blue. If your Color Mode is in CMYK, you will see the toggles for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black.

Method 2: Convert the Image To a Vector

If you wish to change the color of different parts of your PNG image, this method is the best way to do that.

Step 1: Vectorize

The first step is to convert your PNG image into a vector format or vectorize your image in Illustrator. Select your image by clicking on it once.

Then, go to the Control panel and select the downward pointing arrow on the right side of the Image Trace button.

You will see a drop-down menu of Tracing Presets.

Select 16 Colors.

image trace presets 16 colors – How To Change Color Of PNG In Illustrator

Next, your Control panel changes to a panel with Image Tracing settings. Select the Expand button.

image trace expand button – How To Change Color Of PNG In Illustrator

Step 2: Change Colors

Next, select the Direct Selection tool from the Toolbar or press A on the keyboard. Your cursor should now be a white arrow.

direct selection tool with white arrow from toolbar in Adobe Illustrator – how to change color of png in Illustrator

With the Direct Selection tool cursor, click on any part of the vector image where you wish to change color.

Then, go to the bottom of the Toolbar and double-click on the Fill square.

fill option in toolbar in adobe illustrator – how to change the color of PNG in illustrator

The Color Picker dialog box will pop up where you can pick a color.

Click the OK button once you are confirmed on the color you want. You can see that the original color is changed to the newly selected color.

color picker dialog box in adobe illustrator

Repeat this step to change the colors of other parts of the vector object.

Saving the New Color Image File

Now that you have your PNG file looking exactly how you want in Illustrator, it’s time to save your work. This will preserve the new color version you created so you can use it again in the future.

  1. Go to File > Save As. This will open a dialog box where you can save the file.
  2. For the Save as type choose PNG (*.PNG). This will save the file as a PNG, keeping it in a raster image format.
  3. In the File name field, you’ll want to save the file with a new name, like “Logo_blue.png” or “Icon_green.png”. This way you’ll have the original PNG file and the new color version.
  4. Check the box next to Use Artboards. This will save just the artboard with your PNG file, and not any extra space around it.
  5. Click Save and your newly colored PNG file will be saved to your selected location. You’re all done!
  6. Be sure to save the new PNG file in the same folder as the original for easy access.
  7. If you want to save a copy in Illustrator’s native .AI format as well, just repeat the steps and choose Adobe Illustrator (*.AI) as the file type.
  8. Need to change the color again in the future? Simply open the saved .AI or .PNG file and the color-changing process will be the same.

Saving the new color version of your PNG file in Illustrator ensures you have an editable copy you can use again and again.

With your PNG file now recolored and saved, you have a new image asset ready to use in your designs or online.

Congratulations, you now know how to fully change the color of a PNG file in Adobe Illustrator!

What Are PNG Image Files?

what is png image file at Adobe

PNG image files, standing for Portable Network Graphics, are a popular raster or bitmap image format extensively used in graphic design, web browsers, and other digital platforms.

These bitmap images are made of a grid of pixels, each containing specific color data. Due to this, if a PNG image is resized significantly, it may start to look pixelated or blurry, unlike vector images which maintain quality irrespective of size changes.

Therefore, the first step to avoid such an issue in Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop is to be mindful of the original image’s file size and resolution.

One of the significant attributes of the PNG format is its support for transparent backgrounds

PNG allows graphic designers to place images over different backgrounds without an unsightly white background or any other single-color backdrop.

This, combined with the ability to maintain the original color of an image or edit colors as needed, makes PNG a versatile choice for various projects.

PNG files employ a lossless compression algorithm which ensures that the quality of the image does not degrade, even after multiple saves and edits.

This is especially useful when you’re trying to recolor artwork and need to experiment with different colors.

I prefer using PNG more than JPEG image files. In this entire blog, you will see more PNG images than other image formats because they look sharper and clearer at the same size and DPI resolution.

When published, they are compressed to .webp to optimize space and speed.

comparing png vs jpg with one dollar bill – how to change color of PNG in illustrator

Whether you want to adjust the background color, change the color of an image, or create a new document with a unique color scheme, Adobe Illustrator gives you the flexibility and various options to do so.

You can even convert PNG to SVG in Illustrator or save the PNG image as an AI file for further edits in the future.

Related: What To Do When Illustrator Won’t Save My File

However, PNG files are larger than other file formats like JPEG files due to the lossless compression. Also, unlike some other formats, PNG does not support animation.

FAQs About Changing PNG Color in Illustrator

Can I Edit A PNG In Illustrator?

The best way to edit a PNG in Illustrator is to first vectorize the image or convert it into a vector object.

First, select the image, then select the Image Trace button in the Control panel. Next, click the Expand button to see the image in vector format. You are now able to edit the image in Illustrator.

How Do I Change The Color Of A Selected Area?

Once you’ve selected the area you want to change, simply click the color swatch in the Tools panel to open the Color Picker. Choose your new color and click OK.

The selected area will change to the new color. You can also use the Eyedropper tool to sample a color from your image or elsewhere and apply it to the selection.

Can I Adjust The Hue, Saturation, Or Brightness?

Yes, you have full control over the color properties. In the Color Picker, select the HSB tab.

Hue changes the base color, saturation increases or decreases the intensity, and brightness makes the color lighter or darker. Adjust the sliders until you get the color you want and click OK.

Why Does My Image Look Jagged After Changing Colors?

When you recolor a raster image in Illustrator, it has to rasterize the selection to apply the new color. This can reduce the quality and cause pixelation.

To avoid this, check the “Anti-alias” box in the Color Picker before selecting OK. This will help blend the edges of the selection for a smoother appearance. You can also rasterize the entire image to maintain quality.

Can I Save The Image As A Vector File?

You can save the image as a vector file after you have vectorized it or convert it to a vector format. PNG files are raster images.

You can only export the recolored image as a raster file format like PNG, JPG, or TIFF. The image will retain any edits you made, but will not become a vector graphic.

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