Learn how to make spirals in Illustrator using the Transform Effect. This is part 2 of a series of tutorials on making shapes in Illustrator, making spirals from them and then coloring them.

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Transcript for video:

Hello, I’m Helen Bradley. Welcome to this video tutorial. Today I’m going to show you how to make spirals in Illustrator the easy way. Before we go ahead and make a spiral I want to show you exactly what it is that we’re going to be doing. Here I have a basic shape in Illustrator. I’m just going to show you this shape that I started off with. That’s this one here. I created it in an earlier video. And what I’ve done is taken the shape and created a spiral from it. And it’s very, very easy to do. So let’s go. I’ve got a brand new document here with my shape on it and we’re going to create a spiral. So I’m going to select my shape and choose Effect and then Distort and Transform. And we’re choosing Transform. Transform Effect allows us to do all sorts of things with our shape and we’re going to do quite a lot of the things that we have available to us in this dialogue. The first thing is I’m going to turn preview on so we can see it as we work. And because we want a spiral shape we want some additional copies of this shape and so I’m going to type in here 20 copies. So right now we have 20 copies of this shape but we can’t see them because they’re all stacked on top of each other. So we’re going to start by rotating them. And let’s rotate them through about 30 degrees. Let’s just type in 30. And as you can see already we have something happening. What we’ve got is 20 shapes each rotated by 30 degrees which has given us a something. Now we could stop at this point if we get exactly what we want, but since we came here to do a spiral this is only halfway there. The next thing I’m going to do because my spiral is actually a series of shapes which all have some movement in them I’m actually going to move these 20 copies. And I’m going to move each of them around 24 pixels horizontally and vertically. And what that’s going to give me is something sort of spiral like. We’re almost getting to where we want to be. My next step with my spiral is I would like things to get smaller as we go so I’m going to scale these in a negative direction. I’m going to reduce the size of them to 85 percent of what they were in the first place. So I’m just going to type 85 here and 85 here, and so each successive shape is 85 percent of the size of the one before. Now I think this is going to be all right but I need to do a couple of things to make this spiral look a bit better. Right now the shapes or the copies are rotating and coming out from the center of this original shape. If I change the location I’m going to get a spiral that’s a little bit more offset. The locations that are of more interest to me are anything that is sort of away from the original shape. So any of these would be just fine. I am however quite liking this one because that’s giving me a nice spiral shape. So there’s a spiral shape. One of the options I have selected already and that would make a big difference is this Scale Strokes and Effects. As you can see here I have a really strong, very wide stroke around my shape to begin with. And if I don’t do Scale Stroke and Effects than everything is going to have a 4 to 5 pixel stroke around it. And it’s very heavy when the shapes become very small. If I scale a Stroke and Effects then each of these little shapes has a much smaller stroke around it. Now there are other options such as Reflect Y or Reflect X. This is Reflect X by itself. This is Reflect Y by itself. This is Reflect X and Y. And you can see that we’re getting a sort of different spiral but certainly everything is going around and it’s getting smaller in the middle. That would be an option that you could choose. Once you’ve got the spiral that you want you can go ahead and just click Ok. So this is what we’ve come to. This is our shape. The spiral shape that we’ve created now it’s all based around this original image so if I click and drag on it with the Move tool I can move it into position. So don’t worry as you’re creating your spiral if it goes off the edge of the art board because you can bring it all back in later on because it’s all just attached to this one original shape. Of course if we want to treat it as an entire shape so that the whole spiral becomes the shape then we would just select Object and then Expand Appearance. You can see now that that our shape is in actual fact everything here. So all of these little nodes are editable. So we could come in later on with for example the A tool, the Path Selection tool and we could start working on these areas if we want to do something a little bit different with it. And we would need to expand its appearance to have access to these nodes or these anchors on our lines. But there’s the basics of drawing a spiral in Illustrator. Thank you for joining me. I’m Helen Bradley. You’ll find more of my Illustrator videos on this YouTube channel.

Helen Bradley