Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
Hey gang! This is Deke McClelland, welcome to Deke's Techniques. This week I'm going to show you how to create continuous spirograph patterns better known as hypotrochoids. Now in case this sounds familiar, a few weeks back, I also showed you how to create spirograph patterns, but those were not continuous. Those were a series of rotated ellipses, whereas, what you are going to see today are two different methods for creating single path spirographs. So the orange spirograph is one path outline and the blue spirograph is another path outline, continuous all way around. Now you may look at these and think well, I guess that's an interesting academic exercise but what it does, is it allows us to create extremely complex patterns. For example, you can make lace if you want to as we'll explore in a future movie. You can create a money emblem like this, as we'll explore in another movie. But first, we have to learn how to make those hypotrochoids. So get out your protractors and here, let me show you, exactly--no protractors--how it works. Here are a couple of continuous hypotrochoids created in different ways. We are going to start off with this document called circles.ai that contains a bunch of different layers of circles. Only one of the layers is turned on, and so as a result, I'm seeing the circle on screen. I'm going to go ahead and click on it to make it active. Notice it has no fill and it's got a black stroke. First up here for the basic hypotrochoids is to double-click on a Scale tool in order to bring up the Scale dialog box, and you want a non-uniform scale. I'm going to change the horizontal value to 30%, leave vertical set to 100%. If you've got the Preview check box turned on, you'll see that this gives you an ellipse then go ahead and click OK in order to accept that change. Now we come to a little bit of a ponderous part here, we are going to have to rotate this circle using the Rotate tool. We have to get to apply a static rotation and we're going to have to do so eleven times in a row. So go ahead and select the Rotate tool which you can get by pressing the R key, and then, make sure that you have your Smart Guides turned on. This is very important if you want to get the right results. So just to confirm go up to the View menu and make sure Smart Guides has a check mark in front of it. If not, go ahead and choose the command. Then position your cursor at the very top of the shape here, you should see the word anchor tells you that you've got your cursor over the anchor point. Then Alt+Click or Option+Click on the Mac in order to bring up the Rotate dialog box, change the Angle value to 30 degrees and click on the Copy button. And now you want to do the same thing for the opposite point. So Alt+Click or Option+Click on the bottom point in the new path, the angle value should still be 30 degrees, just go ahead and click on the Copy button then Alt+Click or Option+Click on the opposite point, click the Copy button Alt+Click or Option+Click on the opposite point click the Copy button, you just got to do this 11 times. So over and over again, click Copy then Alt+Click or Option+Click on the opposite point, click Copy, Alt+Click or Option+Click on the opposite point click Copy. I think we are down to just three more times here. I hope so. This is quite tedious indeed. And by the way, if we had gone with a tighter rotate value, then we would have to do this even still more times. So the fact that I'm leaving this angle value pretty loose means that we actually make less work for ourselves. I'm going to click Copy in order to create that final ellipse. The result is that we have now a total of 11 ellipses interwoven here. Now let's combine them into a single path outline by switching to the white arrow tool which you can get by pressing the key and then marquee around the central portion of all of these ellipses, like so, and that will select all of their inside points, and then you can press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac to get rid of them. Now it may appear that we've got some straggler points here, they're actually center points and they are nothing to worry about. So the next step is to fuse all the anchor points together. And you do that by going up to the Object menu choosing Path and then choosing the Join command, or you can just press Ctrl+J or Command+J on the Mac and you should now end up with one center point, as you see here. Now if you take a close look, you'll see that we have these little lumps at the top and the bottom of all of our shapes, and that's because the points have been joined into corner points. We need them to be smooth points and we can convert those points as smooth points using a strange little trick here. The first thing you have to do is press the Shift key and then go ahead and marquee around this point right there. It's actually a couple of points on top of each other and that will deselect those two points right there, then you'll see new options up here in the Control panel. We've got this second icon in. Convert selected anchor points to smooth, go ahead and click on it and that should convert all of the selected points, all but these couple of end points down here, into smooth points and now we get these nice smooth arcs. We do have a problem with this point down here. Go ahead and click off the shape to deselect it and then grab one of the anchor points and move it, like so, and you'll notice that we've got a couple of different anchor points. Now my experience in CS5 is that you'll have a straight segment joining the two, you'll need to get rid of it by marqueeing that segment and pressing the Backspace or Delete key. In CS6 though, we don't get a segment, at least I don't. So I'm going to go ahead and drag this point back so it snaps into place. That way we have two coincident end points and then I'm going to marquee around those two points, like so, and then what you want to do whether you're working in CS6 or CS5 is you'll want to press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+J or Command+Shift+Option+J on the Mac that forces the display of the old Join dialog box. Next you want to select the Smooth option and click OK and that will go ahead and deliver the final smooth arc. This path outlined is no longer centered inside of the arc board. So I'm going to present the V key to switch to black arrow tool, click anywhere on the path outline to select it. Then you want to go up to the Control panel and switch this setting right here from Align to Selection to Align to Artboard, if it's not already selected, and then you want to click on your center options; Horizontal Align Center and then Vertical Align Center and that'll go ahead and put that shape in the right place. Now at this point you might figure that was about the most tedious technique ever and it only gets more complicated if you want to add more lumps to the shape. I've got a simpler trick that relies on the dynamic effect, but it's got its own drawbacks as well. So I'm going to turn on the circle 2 layer, turn off the circle 1 layer for now, and I'll go ahead and select that new circle by clicking on it with the black arrow tool, then I'll double-click on a Scale tool, and this time around I'll change the Horizontal value to 10% and I'll leave Vertical set to a 100%. That way we get a narrower ellipse and then I'll click OK in order to accept that change, and now what you want to do is you want to switch to the Scissors tool, and you get to the scissors tool by clicking and holding on the Eraser tool and selecting it or you can press the C key. Then you want to click on the bottom most point right there in order to separate it into two endpoints. Press the A key to switch to the white arrow tool and go ahead and Shift+Click on the left-hand anchor point to select it as well. This is assuming that the bottom point is actually the bottom left point as opposed to the bottom right point, which it most likely is. Now what you want to do is switch to your Rotate tool and then Alt+Click or Option+Click on the top anchor point, change the angle value to 5 degrees and then press the tab key, make sure the Preview check box is on, and you should see this effect right there. Then click OK. Now press the V key to switch back to the black arrow tool, click anywhere on the shape to select the entire thing and then go up to the Effect menu, choose Distort & Transform, and then choose the Transform command. For this effect, we want an Angle value of 10 degrees, turn on the Preview check box so that you can see what's going on, and then click inside the Copies value and press the Up arrow key until you get two complete cycles, like so. In the end you need a total of 35 copies to make this work, then click OK in order to apply that effect. Now you might figure at this point, that was way easier. But all is not as perfect as it looks. If you press Ctrl+spacebar or Command+spacebar on the Mac and then go ahead and marquee around this point right there, you'll see that we've got a little bit of a problem. Things aren't lining up properly. And here is the easiest way to fix it. It's going to seem like an arduous work around it first, but it delivers the best results. I'm going to press Ctrl+0 or Command+0 in order to zoom out there, and you want to go up to the Edit menu and choose the Copy command or press Ctrl+C or Command+C on the Mac, that way we go ahead and keep this original dynamic effect. Now we want to expand it in the static path outlines and you do that by going up to the Object menu and choosing the Expand Appearance command. Now that we have access to all of the points throughout this entire effect. Let's change the stroke from black to let's say this lightish blue, just so we can see what's going on. Then go up to Edit menu and bring back the original by choosing the Paste in Front Command or press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac. Now let's go ahead and zoom in on this point right there again. I'm going to zoom in to 4800%, so that I can really see very closely what I'm doing, press the A key to switch to the white arrow tool and then click off the path outline to deselect it, click on that anchor point to select it and then drag it down so it snaps into alignment with the blue path that you can't see right now in the background, but you will be able to see the top one as soon as you release. Now we want to make sure that not only the anchor point is in the right place but the control handle is at the right angle. You want to marquee these two points very carefully. Don't marquee this point up here, because it'll just get in your face. This top control handle is the one that we want to move and we want to drag it down so it snaps into alignment with this one. Just start dragging and then, as soon as you see the word handle right there, you are snapped into alignment with it and release, and you can see we've got a very great fusion of these two path outlines here, but we do have a very fine line, and if that worries you because it could end up being a problem, then press the V key to switch back to the black arrow tool, click on the path outline to select it, go up to the Stroke option here in the Control panel and switch the Cap to the Round Cap. Now because the transform effect now has to take into account this cap, it is going to shove the shapes around just little bit. So we are going to have to adjust that effect by switching over to the Appearance panel, which you can also get by choosing Appearance from the window menu, and then click on the word Transform to return to the Transform Effect dialog box, and I just went ahead and tried out a couple of values. I changed both Horizontal and Vertical to 0.05 and then I turned on the Preview check box, and that ended up working out beautifully. So you may have to try a little bit of trial and error. And by the way, you can adjust this value in increments of 0.1 by pressing Ctrl or Command on the Mac along with an arrow key. At least that works in CS6. Anyway, I'm going to change these both to -0.05 and then click OK. All right, now I'm going to press Ctrl+0 or Command+0 on a Mac to zoom out once again. I don't need that blue path outlined in the background, so I'll switch back to my Layers panel, I'll twirl open the circle 2 layer. I'll go ahead and meatball this group right there, the blue group and I'll press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac in order to get rid of it. Now let's go ahead and mix these guys together. I'll turn on the circle 1 layer, so we can see it. Now this circle 2 path outline is little off kilter. You can't use automatic alignment for this one because of the dynamic effect. So go ahead and turn on the circle 3 layer, just so you can see what you are doing. I'll go ahead and click on the spirograph the one we just created and I'll press Shift+left arrow and then I'll press the left arrow key a couple of more times in order to nudge it over into the proper location then, I'll turn the circle 3 layer off. Now if you want to go ahead and sort of merge these two path outlines together, to achieve the kind of effect you would get a real spirograph if you use different inks, then with one of the path outline selected go up to the Control panel, click on the Strokes swatch right there and change it's color, let's say, to this medium blue and then I'll click on this path outline right there to select it. That's our first spirograph, and then I'll change it's color to let's say this orange right here, and then I'll select both of the path outlines by marqueeing around them and I'll bring up my Transparency panel again, you can get any panel in an Illustrator by choosing it's name from the window menu, and then I will change the blend mode from Normal to Multiply in order to achieve the final effect, and that way the two inks are mixing together with each other. And that friends is how you create continuous single-line spirograph like hypotrochoids here inside Illustrator.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.