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Going for Gold!

Going for Gold!

Create your own Gold Medal – The London 2012 Olympics has been the topic of conversation for the past few weeks as we all see and hear about those talented sports men and women, with over 70 countries receiving medals.

See how easy it is to create your own gold medal graphic using Xara or MAGIX Photo and Graphic Designer. Perhaps for use on certificates to be awarded to your club or school sports boys and girls or for your training and other awards certificates, or even for your website. In this tutorial you will learn techniques to create three point graduated fills, highlights, cutting out shapes, embossed effects, drop shadows, glow shadows and more.

If you don’t have Xara Photo & Graphic Designer you can download a free trial version to follow this tutorial. Photo & Graphic Designer includes plenty of elements and clipart but we have created some new ones to help you create your gold medal. Download the designs and then unzip the clipart by right clicking on the zip file and selecting ‘extract all’.

Open Xara Photo & Graphic Designer and then double click on the ‘work_file.xar’ which is one of the files that you have just unzipped. It will open with a pre-defined colour palette and a 231 pixel diameter gold circle.

Creating the Medal Reflective Gold Effect
Click CTRL+K which will create an exact copy of the circle on top of the original circle. Change the number setting in the ‘W’ (width) on the top Infobar which will automatically change the height too. (It’s not easy to see this copy because it’s the exact same colour as the one underneath)

We will create a three point graduated colour fill on this smaller circle. Firstly, familiarise yourself with the pre-set gold colours that we have provided – you can see them on the left of the colour line at the bottom – you can see their names as you mouse-over them or right click on your mouse to see the name (this also enables you to edit it the colour).

The centre circle should still be selected, (status line will say 1 ellipse) so now select the Fill tool from the left tool bar and then drag a line down across the circle from a point between 11 and 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock. This creates a simple graduated fill from one colour to another, with a fill arrow showing the direction and extent of the fill. It will look like the left hand circle.

Three point Linear fill, which creates the basis for the reflecting gold effect

While in the Fill Tool still, double click near the centre of the fill arrow line to put a new colour stop marker square as a place for a colour change.

We’ll now change the colours of the graduated fill. Select the square marker at the start of the fill arrow then click on the ‘Gold link 4’ colour on the colour line, click on the centre square marker and then select the ‘Gold link 1’ colour, and finally select the end of the fill arrow and click the ‘Gold’ colour, which will give you a medal as the right-hand image above.

Creating a Highlight on the Top Edge

Using the Selector tool, carefully click on the large original (outer) circle to select it.
Tip1: You can zoom in, while in any tool, by holding Ctrl and using the mouse wheel. It will help when doing detailed work.

Tip 2: If you’re not sure which object is selected then just use the arrow keys to nudge it a bit and then Undo this change with the Undo option (Ctrl+Z)

Now select CTRL+K to clone the outer shape. (This will place a copy on top of everything, covering the work you’ve just done. Click on the ‘Gold Link 4’ colour to fill the circle with this colour.

Select the new circle and use CTRL+K to clone it then fill this with a Black colour (click the Black colour swatch at the right end of the colour line). Using the cursor keys on your keyboard, press the down arrow twice and then the right arrow twice to nudge the black circle 2 pixels down and 2 pixels to the right.

The pale coloured circle is just showing underneath the black one

Now a slightly tricky part is that we have to select both circles, the black one on top (already selected), and the pale one underneath. There are two ways to do this:
a) With the top black circle selected, hold the Alt key (mouse pointer turns upside down) and click. This selects the object underneath the selected object (in this case the pale circle). Then holding Shift click on the black circle to add this to the selection
b) Use Ctrl+mouse wheel to zoom into the top left area, so you can easily see and click on the small pale circle. Then hold Shift and click on the pale circle underneath

In both cases what you want is for the status line to indicate ‘2 ellipses’ selected
Tip 3: Remember to click on the background to clear the select. Shift+click will add to the select. Alt+click will select the object under the currently selected object.

We’ll now do a shape combining operation to ‘subtract’ the top black circle from the lower pale one, leaving just a sliver of pale around the top left of our medal.

From the Arrange Menu, choose Combine Shapes > Subtract Shapes (the keyboard shortcut is Ctrl+2)

Highlight on the Top Edge

Creating the Bottom Edge Highlight
Use the same technique as the previous step – clone the inner circle with CTRL+K – the clone is a copy of the graduated circle so, if you drag the colour on it the graduated colour will change, however, if you click on the colour ‘Gold link 4’ on the colour line then it will become a ‘Gold link 4’ solid colour.

Select to clone again (so there are now 2 copies on top of each other) and select the ‘Black’ on the colour line. Nudge the black one it using your cursor keys by 3 pixels up and 1 pixel to the left. Again, select both shapes as described above and use the shortcut CTRL+2 to subtract the black shape, leaving only a highlight sliver on the lower right of our medal.

Highlight on the Bottom Edge

Adding a Laurel Wreath with a Graduated Fill and Embossed Effect.
Drag in the wreath graphic from the medal folder in your Design Gallery onto a new area of your page. It is best to work on the wreath separately from the medal and then we will position it later.

Creating a wreath with linear 3-colour fill and drop shadow

We will add a three point linear fill as before. Select the Fill tool and drag a line vertically from the top to the bottom of the wreath. Double-click just below the centre of the fill arrow to add a colour change marker. Select the start of the fill arrow line then click on the ‘Gold link 4’, click on the newly added middle marker and then select ‘Gold link 1’, and click on the end of the fill arrow and apply the colour ‘Gold’.
Tip 4: In the Fill tool when you have selected a colour marker on the fill arrow, you can use the Tab key to cycle around the fill stops

Now we will add a small drop shadow to the wreath. With the wreath selected still (status line will show ‘1 group’) select the Shadow tool and then using the tool’s Infobar, the second ‘wall shadow’ button and then use the slider controls to set it to 50% transparency, with a blur of 1.4px and a 0.7px X and Y offset

Adding an Embossed and Outer Glow Effect to the Laurel Wreath.
Select the wreath and create a clone copy with CTRL+K. Drag the copy clear of the original to an empty area of the page.

We’re going to create top edge highlight the same way as we did before. First remove the shadow from this version: select the Shadow tool and click the ‘no shadow’ icon on the tool’s Infobar at the top (1st icon on the bar). Now colour the whole thing blue by simply clicking the blue colour on the colour line (the only reason to make them a bright colour is that it’s easier to see what’s what).

Clone it again (Ctrl+k) and make the new copy a magenta colour. Now nudge the magenta version down 2 pixels with the down arrow key.

You can see the magenta copy shift down a couple of pixels to reveal the blue copy under.

Use the same technique as before to select both groups (zoom in and Shift+click on the blue. You want the status line to show ‘2 groups. Now Subtract the top magenta one from the lower blue one using Arrange -> Combine Shapes -> Subtract, (or simply Ctrl+2.) You should be left with this.

The steps to create the embossed effect

In the Fill tool, drag a vertical fill arrow top to bottom, and set the start colour to be white (should be already), and the end colour (click the end of the arrow) to be ‘Gold’ by clicking the ‘Gold’ from the colour line.

We’re now going to move this highlight back on top of the original wreath. This template has the ‘snap’ switched on (see on top infobar) so when you drag the new outlines over the original, it will snap in place. Now zoom in (Ctrl+wheel, to about 500% or more) and use the arrow keys to adjust the position of the highlight to it’s exactly on the top edge of the wreath leaves. It will probably require just a single pixel nudge upwards). This is the final zoomed in view you want.

Zoom out and select the whole object. If you have the correct things selected the status line will show ‘3 objects. Now we’ll group these to create a single group (press Ctrl+G).

Tip 5: Whilst you could use the Shift+click technique, probably the easiest way to select all objects within a given area is to use Lasso-select. In the Selector tool just drag from outside the top left to below the bottom right of the objects. As you drag you’ll see a red border rectangle.

For a final touch, we’ll add an outer glow shadow. With the wreath group selected select the Shadow tool and click on the ‘glow’ icon (4th on the Infobar), (it will give it a red glow), set a 56% transparency and a 3.2 pixel blur using the controls.

To change the colour of the outer glow, zoom in closely to any section of the wreath, and in the Shows tool still, just click on the outer red glow area. The status line will change to show ‘1 shadow’ selected. Now just click the colour required, in this case ‘Gold link 5’.

The laurel wreath graphic is now complete so, zoom back out and drag it into position over the gold medal. If you have ‘Snap’ on still you’ll see that as you drag it over the vertical line will mark it as being exactly over the centre.


The final wreath moved onto the medal.

Adding some Numbers (or text).
As before, we will create the text as an individual element and then drag it onto our gold medal. Select the Text tool and somewhere on the page background type in ‘20’. Adjust the font and size as required. I used Palatino Linotype, bold, size118 pixels but you can experiment with different fonts and different sizes.

Using the Fill tool, add a 3 point linear fill as we have previously done and select ‘Gold link 4’ for the top, ‘Gold link 1’ for the middle point and ‘Gold’ for the bottom end of the fill arrow. Add a wall shadow with a transparency of 50%, a blur of 4 pixels and an X and Y offset of 0.7 pixel.

Tip 6: In the Fill tool when dragging out a fill arrow, if you hold the Ctrl key it will constrain the fill direction to be exactly horizontal or vertical

Start with simple black text and then give it a graduated fill and a subtle shadow.

Emboss the Numbers
For the final touch we will create the relief for the numerals using exactly the same technique as we did for the wreath – clone the number, drag the copy to a blank area, remove the shadow, colour it blue, clone it again, colour it magenta, and offset it by 2 pixels down, select both shapes, subtract the top shape, add a linear fill of white to gold.

Adding the embossed effect with outer glow

Drag the highlight back on top of the original number, zoom in and nudge the new edge highlight up a bit.

There’s a subtle improvement that can be made using the Feather control. With the highlight selected still, using the Feather control on the top bar, give it a 1px feather. This softens the edges of the highlight.

Give the new numbers a glow shadow, the same as before:
(Select both the original number and the new edge, (zoom in and Shift-Click on the edge), group them (Ctrl+G), apply ‘glow’ shadow type, zoom in and select the shadow only and apply give it a darker gold colour ‘Gold link 5’ and adjust the blur and transparency of the shadow.

Finally, group all of the objects (lasso select around the whole medal), group it, and apply a wall shadow, in this case 6px blur, 60% transparency, 4px X and Y offset.

Well done. Award yourself a gold medal!

But don’t forget to save your good work. To use the graphic on your printed certificates or web page select File and Export PNG.

And also remember Xara Photo & Graphic Designer is the most flexible and time-saving all-in-one solution for impressive graphics: powerful image editing, astounding illustration capabilities, professional design templates & extensive desktop publishing (DTP), all in a single intuitive program! It’s ideal for private and professional use: at home, in clubs, in academic institutions, and at work. We hope that you have enjoyed using it and will continue to do so.

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