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Creating a Very Simple Stroke

(2-Minute Training)

Welcome to Expression Design. When you first launch the program, you'll find the artboard (white area you draw or create in), the tool box to the left. This is where the main tools for creating and manipulating exist. To the right is the property inspector; here you can organize your artwork/ objects using the layers panel, change the color or other various properties using the appearance panel.

You can customize the interface by docking and undocking Toolbars, and changing Option settings.

Let's get started.

  1. So to begin with open Expression Design and create a new document. File/ New or CTRL + N- These are the settings I used. Although, it really doesn't matter for this lesson. Rename the file whatever you want. Click OK or press enter to create the new document.

    I will activate the B-Spline Tool by pressing "w" . To better understand the B-Spline Tool you should experiment with it. Things to take note of with this tool: To get out of the tool you can NOT use shortcut keys. You must click on a new tool icon in the tool box or close the path by clicking on the first point of the path or double click with the tool to end a path.

    I find when creating shapes like these flames, it helps to click and add a lot of points- Just becareful not to double click.

    Give the Fill tab in the appearance panel an orange color- remove any color from the stroke tab.

    My initial Shape looks like this:

    Deselect the new shape (CTRL + SHIFT + A). Select a new fill color, yellow, using the appearance panel. Now using the same tool create an inner path similar to the one shown above.

  2. Select both objects (CTRL + A) go to Object/ Stroke/ New Stroke Definition

    Now we're in the Stroke Definition View. Select All again (CTRL + A), activate the selection tool . Position the objects so that the bottom of the paths line up with the center guide of the stroke definition.

    Right click and select Make Repeating. Save the stroke in the General Category and call it "Flamer" click OK or press enter to save.

  3. Now we're back to the original document, Activate the brush tool by pressing "b" , click and drag to draw a long line using the newly created stroke. Note: by default the new stroke is selected for use, as soon as you save it. Increase the width so that the flame is pretty big.

    Activate the selection tool by pressing "v" . Select your newly drawn path CTRL + C to copy and CTRL + F to Paste in Front. Decrease the width of the new paths stroke and change the stroke color to yellow using the stroke tab in the appearance panel. The final result should look similar to this:

    That's it- We've created a simple stroke that repeats along a path.

This lesson was designed to provide a quick introduction to using Warp Groups with bitmap images and/ or vector artwork in Expression Design.

This short lesson was created by Jesse Brown, a freelance designer and presenter for Total Training. Jesse's keen design sense and "big picture" sensibility are among the reasons his skills are in high demand. Total Training, Inc. (, with offices in California and New York, is a pioneer in innovative video-based training for leading software applications. Total Training is best known for its superior product quality, entertaining content, and strategic partnership with Microsoft which includes tutorials in Microsoft software boxes.