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Creating Spirographs with Xara Xtreme


May 24th 2006
February 25th 2009

For some reason, I love creating spirographs--this tutorial shows how you can create spirographs in Xara Xtreme--there are similar tutorials for Microsoft Expression and Adobe Illustrator.

Here's how you can make a spirograph in Xara Xtreme:

  1. Create a new document in Xara Xtreme by choosing File | New | 1024 by 768 Drawing.

    Draw any shape--I selected the ellipse tool (shift+F4) and created a medium sized circle (See Figure 1).

    Figure 1: A quick circle

  2. Make sure that the circle has no fill attributes. This can be checked in the Color Editor window, that you can access from Utilities | Color Editor.

    If you cannot see the expanded color editor window that you see in Figure 2, click the Show advanced options icon in the top right to see the full window--then, click the the Set 'no color' option to remove any fill.

    Figure 2: Set fill to no color

  3. Make sure your circle is selected, and then click on the Freehand and Brush tool (F3).

    In the property bar, click on Create Brush button. This will summon the Create new brush dialog box (see Figure 3) that will ask you for brush name-- I named this 'Brush 1', but you could name it anything you like. Click OK.

    Figure 3: Name your brush

  4. Once the brush is created, you can delete the circle in the document.

    Draw another circle using the ellipse tool--this time make it a little larger. Make sure this circle has no fill as well (see Figure 2 above).

  5. It is now time to apply the new brush we created to this circle. You'll find all the brushes in the Line Gallery that you can access through Utilities | Galleries | Line Gallery (see Figure 4). You'll find your newly created brush (I named mine Brush 1) in the New brush strokes folder within the Line Gallery.

    Figure 4: The Line Gallery

  6. Select the brush, drag it and drop it over the circle. Make sure that the cursor looks like an arrow with a smaller reverse arrow when you let go of your cursor on the line (see Figure 5).

    xara spirograph
    Figure 5: Let go when your cursor looks like this!

  7. Your circle will now look like Figure 6, and that's certainly not a spirograph! But wait, there's more to do.

    xara spirograph
    Figure 6: Beginnings of a spirograph

  8. With the circle still selected, choose Freehand and Brush tool (F3) and click the Edit Brush button in the Properties toolbar to summon the dialog box that you can see in Figure 7.

    Figure 7: Editing the brush

    Changing the setting of the Rotation, Spacing, and Offset can generate some interesting patterns
    including a spirograph!

  9. Just reducing the spacing created the spirograph that you can see in Figure 8.

    Figure 8: A quick spirograph in Xara Xtreme

  10. Save your graphic.


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