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Deke's Techniques is a collection of short Photoshop and Illustrator projects and creative effects that can be completed in ten minutes or less. The series is taught by computer graphics guru Deke McClelland, and presented in his signature step-by-step style. The intent is to reveal how various Photoshop and Illustrator features can be combined and leveraged in real-world examples so that they can be applied to creative projects right away.
Hey gang! This is Deke McClelland. Welcome to Deke's Techniques. Today we are going to have what the kids are calling a lot of fun. Now I know some of you might object to that, you think you know some of the kids actually look up to you Deke because you are old and stuff, and it's bad enough that they rap with each other in a crazy way that they do. You do not need to be encouraging them. Well my apologies, but the plain fact of the matter is, today we are going to be having a lot of fun. Specifically, we are going to take this base design and we are going to fill that circle with this network of spirograph patterns in Adobe Illustrator, and what's remarkable about this design is that if you peel away the text in the bar and the center and those two stars on either side, you're left with this right here, and this right here is nothing more than a single circle inside of Illustrator.
All you have to do is draw a circle. That is the end of the talent required, and then you apply a bunch of dynamic effects and you are rewarded with this beautiful design. Here, let me show you exactly how it works. All right, here is the effect we are going for, I just want you to have a moment to see the artwork on screen, and here is where we are going to start. If you're working along with me, this document features a classic font called Hobo. If you don't have Hobo installed on your system, then you can change this main text to anything you like.
We are going to be working on this circle however. So go ahead and select it using the Black Arrow tool and then go up to the Window menu and choose the Appearance command in order to bring up the Appearance panel, which is where we are going to be doing all of our work. Notice that this path currently features a four point Stroke, no Fill. We are going to be adding a series of strokes here and we are going to start things off by creating a stroke around the type set on the circle, and you can assign as many strokes and fills to an object as you want inside of Illustrator.
To copy the existing stroke, all you do is click on it to select it, and then you click on this little Page icon which will go ahead and create a duplicate. With that stroke selected, it's very important that the stroke and not the path is selected, go up to the Effect menu, choose Distort & Transform, and then choose the Transform command and that will bring up this monstrous Transform Effect dialog box here. Change both the Horizontal and Vertical values where this artwork is concerned to 130%, and then you can turn on the Preview check box to see the addition of that larger stroke.
Then click OK in order to apply that effect. Now I want to create another copy of this original four-point stroke, so I'll select it and then drop down to the little Page icon and click on it, and that will create this duplicate stroke down here. I am going to go ahead and click on it to make it active and then I'll change its Line Weight 1 point. Next, we want to turn this stroke into an inset circle and to do that, go up to the Effect menu and choose that second Transform command up there at the top, or you can press that keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E or Command+Shift+Option+E on the Mac, and that will bring up the Transform Effect dialog box, complete with the last settings you applied.
This time, we want to change both the Horizontal and Vertical Scale values to 97%, turn on the Preview check box and you'll see that inset circle. Then go ahead and click OK. Now we want to create another duplicate of this stroke in order to begin laying down the spirograph pattern. So go ahead and click on the Page icon once again to make a copy of it. Then click on the duplicate stroke down there at the bottom of the stack. And if you twirl the stroke open, you will see then it's got a Transform effect assigned to it. We want to add another application of transform and to do that, you go up to the Effect menu and choose that second command once again.
Most likely, you are going to see this alert message which is telling you that this is not the way to edit your existing transform effect. Instead you are going to apply a new helping of that effect which is exactly what we want. So just go ahead and click Apply New Effect, and this time you want to change the Horizontal value to 10% and the Vertical value to 100% and then turn on the Preview check box, so that you can see your base ellipse right there in the center of illustration. Now click OK in order to apply that effect, and now we need to apply Transform yet again by going up to the Effect menu and choosing that second Transform command.
If you see the alert message, go ahead and click Apply New Effect again, and this time change the Horizontal value to 100%, so both the scale values are 100% as you can see here. I am going to change the Angle to 9 degrees, so we are going to be rotating this ellipse like so. I'll go ahead and turn on the Preview check box, so you can see it happen in the background, and now here is where the magic really happens. Click inside the Copies field there and then press the Up Arrow key in order to create several copies of this ellipse. What you want to do is create enough copies, so that you completely fill in the gaps and that will happen at a value of 19, and the reason is you are taking 180 degrees which is half a circle dividing it by 9 degrees and that gets you 20 which means one original and 19 copies.
Then go ahead and click OK in order to apply that effect. That gets us one spirograph pattern, but I want to add a couple more. So I'm going to go ahead and twirl this stroke closed and I am going to twirl the top one closed as well, just so we have a little more room inside this panel. I'll drop down to the Page icon and click on it in order to create a copy of that spirograph pattern. Then I'll click on it to make it active and I'll twirl it open, and you want to click on this second application of Transform which is the one that reduced the width of this circle so that it becomes an ellipse.
Turn on the Preview check box and then go ahead and click in that Horizontal scale value and press the Up Arrow key a few times in order to increase the value, in my case to 14%. We end up getting the network of spirograph patterns that you see on screen. Then go ahead and click OK in order to accept that effect. Now twirl this new stroke close, click on the previous one that is the next stroke up to make it active and we want to create a duplicate of it by dropping down to the Page icon. Then take that duplicate and drag it down the stack, so it's the very bottom of stroke.
It's just going to make it easier to keep track of; twirl that new stroke open, change its Line Weight, in my case to 0.3 points, so that we have more of a hairline stroke. You want to click on the third application of Transform, the bottommost one there, in order to bring up the Transform Effect dialog box, complete with the Rotate value of 9 degrees and a total of 19 copies. Turn on the Preview check box and I'm going to reduce the Angle to 3 degrees this time, so that we have these tightly packed hairline strokes.
And notice by the way that our previous value of 9 degrees is divisible by our new value of 3 degrees, so that the one point strokes every 9 degrees are covering up these new hairline strokes. Now you need to take the Copies value up and I am going to press Shift+Up Arrow a few times in order to increase that value to 50 and then I am going to press the Up Arrow key in order to fill out that entire spirograph and add a total of 59 copies, you no longer have any gaps in the pattern.
Then go ahead and click OK in order to accept that final effect. Now I'll go ahead and click off the shape in order to deselect it, and that friends is how you create a spirograph pattern here inside Illustrator.
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