Making waves about ripples

Let's do some more special effects. Today's blog post will discuss how we can take some ordinary circles and turn them into a nice looking ripple-on-water effect. So go ahead and open Expression Design and create a new project. It can be any size but just for the sake of completeness I'll give you the dimensions of the document I'm opening - it's 1280w x 1024h, resolution at 96. Now draw a circle in your workspace. Remember to hold the SHIFT key when drawing the circle so we get a nice, round shape. In the pic below I'm using no stroke and a fill color of #9D97CD. In the layers window, give this circle a name of MainCircle:

Now draw another, much smaller circle with no stroke and a linear gradient fill. Again, use the SHIFT key to make it nice and round. Place the smaller circle right in the middle of the large circle. I got a helpful comment on centering (thanks, Fred C!) circles inside one another. A way to do this is to copy (CTRL+C) the main circle, delete it from your artboard, and then paste it back (CTRL+F). Do the same with the smaller circle and when pasted, it should appear in the center of the larger circle. If you paste and it doesn't appear, check which layer you have selected and make sure it's listed above the main circle in the layers window.

On the gradient fill, use two colors on the slider. I am using #9D97CD as the left color on the gradient slider and #494663 as the right color. Drag the left slider to the right, inward so the percentage on the tool tip shows 22.37% or roughly that percentage. As for the right slider, drag it to the left to the tool tip percentage reads 81.74% or roughly that percentage. If you want to be picky, go ahead and subtract 22.37 from 100 and try to match that percentage. Set the stop alpha for the left color at 100% and the stop alpha for the right color at 55%. In the layers window, name the circle CenterCircle. The below image is what you should end up with:

From this point on, we'll be drawing circles that don't use any fills, but they will have strokes. Also, the circles we create will all be perfectly round, so be sure to use the SHIFT key when drawing them. Go ahead and draw another circle and center it in the main circle. Remember, no fill, but give the stroke a gradient color and set the gradient type to linear. Also, set the stroke width at 15px. The left gradient color on the gradient slider will be #9D97CD and the right gradient slider will be #494663. The stop alpha for the left color is 100% and the stop alpha for the right color is 0%. And this time don't worry about dragging the color sliders inward. Leave them at their outermost positions. Here's what we have so far:

At this point I'm going to turn you loose to draw a few more circles just the way you did in the last paragraph - just be sure they are all perfectly round. Make them various sizes, larger than the CenterCircle but smaller than your MainCircle. You will want to vary the stroke widths as well. Also, try moving the left and right sliders inward on the gradient fill. Just have fun and make a few circles. In addition, you can try varying the rotation of each of the circles. This is what I ended up with:

Are you tired of making circles yet? Okay, have patience just a bit longer. Here's where it gets interesting. With the Selection pointer, drag a box around all of the circles. When you release the left mouse button, all of your circles are selected. Right click any of the circles and left click Group.

They should all now be grouped into one object. You can confirm this by looking at the layer window. Using the Skew Angle window at the bottom of the user interface, set the skew to 55.0 degrees. Almost done - hold down the ALT key and click and drag the bottom center selection handle upward, but just a little.

When you click outside of the image, your final work looks something like this:

You've made a ripple that looks like you're looking at it from an angle!