Creating an Ornament with Live Copy

Creating an Ornament with LIve Clip by Paul SoderholmA Guest Tutorial by By Paul Söderholm

Xara Xone Guest Tutorial 99 – Edited by Gary W. Priester – 1 AUGUST 2011

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Figure 01Ornaments are usually based on some kind of symmetry, and my example is a frame with ornaments in each corner. One way to do this is to make one corner and then copy and flip it around until you have the complete frame.

But taking a closer look (no need to take a close look – it is quite obvious) you see that the corner ornament is a symmetrical pattern as well, with a diagonal axis.

So to make things easy I will only make 1/8 of the frame (one half of the corner ornament). I start by placing the scanned ornament (OK, I snatched it from the web) and add some guidelines. And make a Live Copy. Before we begin, let’s talk a little bit about Live Copy.

Live Copies give you a way of having multiple copies of an object that are linked together so that if one copy is changed they all change. Live Copies are similar to Repeating Objects, but more powerful because you can have multiple Live Copies on the same page and they do not share a common position in the way that Repeating Objects do.

Live Copies are groups and this brings up another new feature, Editing Inside Groups. If you double click on a group (or a Live Copy) in Designer Pro 7, a new Edit Inside tabbed window opens in which all objects in the group act as ungrouped objects. When you are finished editing, and you press the Save disc icon on the Infobar, press Ctrl s, or Edit > Save, the Edit Inside window closes, your objects are once more  grouped, and you are back in your original document. This is important to know and understand because we will be going back and forth between the Edit Inside window and the document. As the two windows look the same (except the tab reads Edit Inside, we need to know when we are in the Edit Inside window and when we are back in the main document. OK let’s get started.

Figure 02


Download this free ornament image from: (Corner Floral Ornament, bottom of the page).

Import the bitmap, set transparency to 50%

Figure 03

Enable Snap to Objects (the orange magnet is in the down position).

Draw a square with the Rectangle Tool (m). Change fill color to no color and the outline to Cyan.

Figure 4

Convert the rectangle to Editable Shapes (Arrange menu or press Ctrl Shift s) and delete bottom right anchor point to transform it into a triangle. This will function as the boundary box for our live copy.

Adjust the bitmap to fit the triangle. The diagonal side is our mirror axis. Imagine there’s a similar axis in the ornament. Adjust the height or width to make it fit the triangle axis (in this case 45 degree axis).

In this example, the bitmap is not quite quadratic so resize the image vertically.

Select the bitmap and triangle, and make a live copy (Arrange > Create Live Copy or press Shift Ctrl Alt c).

Clone (Ctrl k) the live copy and flip it horizontally. Position it side to side with the “parent” live copy.

If you feel like you can now select the two live copies, copy them and rotate, and move them around so they form a frame with ornaments in each corner. If you don’t want to clutter your work area you can do it later as well.

Now double-click on the right Live Copy to open it up in its own Edit Inside workspace for editing.

Figure 6

In the Page & Layer Gallery, lock the bitmap to avoid selecting it by mistake when we start tracing. Oh, did I mention we are going to hand trace the portion of the design that is in the triangle? Silly me! We are. When I trace I want to see the ornament to make small adjustment. Therefor I prefer to draw/trace with a red outline and no fill:

Figure 7

Press the Esc key to make sure nothing is selected. Set default colors to outline = red, fill = no fill (Right click on the red swatch on the screen palette and select Set Line Color. Right click on the cross hatched square next to the screen palette and select Clear Fill Color).

Tracing the ornament:

Start by doing a quick analysis: What parts can be done by using rectangles and ellipses and what needs to be done with the Shape Editor Tool.

Try to split up the ornament in sections instead of tracing the complete design in one go.

Save your work in progress frequently. Each time you save, it will close the tab and you will return to your “main document” and see your  progress. Remember to save the main document as well.

What you are seeing is the Live Copy in action. Any addition you make to one live copy is applied to all other related Live Copies when you return to thr main document. It’s quite similar to a keleidoscope.

Double-click on the ornament to continue working on the Live Copy.

To really see how your design evolves, in the Edit Inside tab/window, hide both the bitmap and the triangle guide. Select the objects and change the fill color to black and outline to none before you save and close the live copy.

Figure 8

This is my drawing using the Rectangle and Ellipse Tools.

Figure 9

My drawing after Adding and Subtracting Shapes
(Arrange > Combine Shapes > Add Shapes or Subtract Shapes).

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