Sampling color of partially transparent objects in Illustrator


Sometimes when using Adobe Illustrator I need to get a range of tints from a certain color, so I'll drop the opacity to, say, 75%, 50%, and 25% on a white background to get there. It's the quickest way to get what I want in that moment, but then it comes back to bite me later when I put something underneath and then I have visibly overlapping layers.

What I want to be able to do is get the value of the color that I'm seeing. In Photoshop I'd do this by putting a white layer underneath, merging the two layers, and then sampling the color. Is there some sort of trick I can pull in Illustrator to do the same thing?

If not, is there a different (and preferably simple) way to add white to a color? Changing S and B values in the color picker is the only thing I could think of in that regard and isn't always terribly simple to do...

8/20/2018 1:07:00 PM

Accepted Answer

In Illustrator, the easiest way I've found is ...

  • Select the transparent object(s)
  • Choose Object > Rasterize...
  • Use the Eyedropper Tool to Shift-Click the color.
  • Make note of the color in the Color Panel. (write it down)
  • Then Edit > Undo Twice to get back to the unrasterized object(s)

You can adjust colors based on Hue Saturation and Brightness in Illustrator as well. In the Color Panel menu simply choose HSB.


The panel will have a tendency to jump back to the document color mode (CMYK or RGB) so you may have to continually reset the Panel to HSB though. This is an annoyance that hopefully the AI dev team will fix at some point.

9/8/2015 6:14:00 PM

I just made a screenshot of my project and pasted it right back and then sampled the color from that object, seems to work!