Parabolic Lines

This is a tutorial about how to create an effect I call parabolic lines, which basically looks like the patterns you used to make in maths on graph paper by joining the highest point on the Y axis to the first square on the X axis, then the second highest to the second square on the X axis, forever until you ended up with a pretty neat looking curve made of straight lines.

The background

It all starts with a letterbox shaped art board in Illustrator, and I fill it with a red rectangle.

Select the rectangle and then CMD + C to copy and CMD + F to paste it in place on top of the previous one. Its filled with the standard black and white gradient, set to radial.

Next I set the transparency of this layer to multiply.

I use these two separate layers because I just find it a bit easier to manipulate the colours. I can just select the layer underneath to change the colour of the fill, and select the gradient layer if I want to adjust the transparency/heaviness. I can also use multiple rectangles with multiplying gradients for a bit more depth if I want to.

Select the layers and lock them, the background is pretty much finished!

Parabolic lines

First things first, hold shift and just draw a straight line down the page. Press R to select the rotation tool, then hit ENTER to manually enter the rotation amounts.

Feel free to experiment, but I get pretty good results at this point using an angle of 1 degree. Very important: hit "Copy" when you're ready, not "OK".

You should notice you have 2 lines. Next, hold CMD + D to repeat the action until you have a right angle of white space in the corner.

The lines.

Next, select all the lines, and align them:

Aligned left...

Aligned bottom!

I made all my lines a light orange colour.

And changed their opacity to multiply.

I then put them in the bottom left corner, then duplicated them and rotated them 180 degrees to go into the top right corner.

Next I wrote some text, I went with Myriad Pro - I never use it and it's Illustrator's default font. It seems to look OK in this situation.

Enlarge it to fit as you like.

I then went absolutely huge on the kerning to suit the mega widescreen layout of the art board.

Next, I clicked Effect > Stylize > Outer Glow to make the text fit in a little nicer

And there you go, Parabolic Lines!

Site update!

I've updated my website today and brought back the incredibly popular blog feature.

I made a countdown timer, ooo! Check it out.