Creating the Olympic Rings...
Richard Ashbery continues his series on techniques with ArtWorks.
Many excellent tutorials have been written for Xara users. This is my second article which shows how drawings created in Xara can be converted in some cases quite simply using the tool suite in ArtWorks. Some of the effects take a little longer to perfect - for example the shadow described in detail towards the end of the article is challenging because there is no equivalent shadow tool in ArtWorks. There is always an alternative solution however.
By the time this is published the Beijing Olympics will be well and truly over but the Olympic icon with its five distinctive rings will live on for ever. This simple icon makes an ideal graphic and can be used to explain one of my favourite ArtWorks utilities - the Intersect tool. Although ArtWorks doesn't have a specific bevel tool a bevelled surface is easy to create and adds extra detail and interest to the final picture - figure 1. Let me explain how it's constructed.
Setting the Grid
Before drawing a ring the grid needs to be set up to ensure the ring bevels are the correct width. If the ring and bevel width is too great they will overlap and spoil the effect.
Drawing the Ring Circles
Each ring consists of a series of concentric circles.
Testing the Design
Before going any further check that the rings overlap properly - as previously mentioned this is important. Temporarily group all 4 rings, clone twice and drag into position shown in diagram (figure 4). Check there is sufficient overlap. If you use the measurements suggested in the last section this shouldn't be a problem.
Preparing the ring and bevels
After checking that the overlap is sufficient the two clones can be discarded. The ring can be prepared for colouring and graduated fills applied. The procedure is simpler to follow if the three shapes (ring and two bevels) are separated as described and illustrated below.
Before applying colour effects to the individual circles ArtWorks has a superb tool that enables a transparent hole to appear in a solid shape. The Join shapes tool makes objects or text in the centre of the ring visible. Apply this to all concentric circles as follows.....
The rings consist of blue, black, red, yellow and green. All of these are built into ArtWorks by default but the bevels need to have new colours created as shown in figure 6. The only ring colour I changed was the green...... mid-green instead of default green - the original being just a tad too intense. Feel free to round the individual RGB colour values up or down - this really makes very little difference to bevels in the final graphic. My last article indicated a way of using the colour sample tool to get the colours into your current document if you don't want to type these colour values in by hand.
The Great Bevel Illusion
ArtWorks does not have a bevel tool but using a simple graduated fill as described below in figure 7 creates the illusion and is quick to do. Realism for a bevelled surface relies on a light source - in the example shown the light comes from a North-West direction and this must be considered when doing the graduated fills. The large bevel "sees" the light on its North-West surface, the small bevel sees it on its South-East surface. All will become clear when the rings and bevels are aligned.
Grouping the rings and bevels
The Five Rings
Applying Colour to the Other Four Rings
Select each one in turn, ungroup and apply black, red, yellow and green to the central ring. Use the procedure in figure 7 above to apply a graduated fill to each ring bevel pair. Remember to re-group each bevelled ring after colouring (figure 10).
The classic feature of the Olympic rings is that they interlock. For example a section of the blue ring must appear behind its yellow neighbour. All an illusion of course but can be accomplished very simply with ArtWork's Intersect tool. The procedure is carried out a number of times to give the appearance that all rings interlock.
This is probably the most difficult effect to achieve in ArtWorks since there is no individual shadow tool but with care this can still be done. Earlier in the tutorial I suggested drawing two additional circles (inner and outer bevel circles) for the shadow. My recommended procedure for creating this final stage is as follows:
To produce a realistic shadow a sequence of off-centered clones starting with the lightest one (white) to 40% black is required. The shadow will require additional colours (sequence of grey tints to be precise) to be created. For simplicity the shadow consists of 10 clones of grey from 0% - 40% in steps of 4%. Feel free to alter the number of clones or the colour step - in figure 1 the shadow is composed of 20 cloned shapes from white to full black in steps of 5% but this takes considerable time to do.
I hope you will agree that ArtWorks is a very accomplished piece of programming and although it doesn't possess the array of tools offered by Xara I am amazed and surprised what can be achieved.
I was thinking about including another animation - perhaps bringing the rings from around the edges and moving/grouping them to form the Olympic rings but there are several problems here - the number of intersections required for each frame, how would the shadow be rendered etc. If anyone would like to have ago I would love to see the result.
I will be covering other Xara to ArtWorks conversions in my next tutorial.