The Xara Trompe L'Oeil Room July 2001

to download a Zipped HTML version of this tutorial

Creating Neon in Xara X

Over the years that I have been creating these tutorials I have made many attempts to recreate neon. And while the effect has been OK, it has never been all that realistic. Neon lighting is a generic term that refers to a piece of shaped glass tubing that contains neon, or other kinds of gas, that when charged with electricity, creates a brilliant glow. Getting the glow part has never been that hard, but getting the glass part has always baffled me. In this tutorial, I think I'm getting closer.

Xara X's Contrast Transparency is the breakthrough for recreating the appearance of clear glass as you can see in the off state in animation above. In this tutorial, we'll create the word Xara using lines and circles. We'll duplicate the lines, assign different line colors and line widths, and create blends to achieve the neon glow. We'll convert the heaviest line to a fillable shape and apply a Contour effect which will be converted to a bitmap,  to which we will apply the Contrast transparency. This tutorial is for users of all experience levels.

 This cool little Message Scroller that is listing the steps in this month's tutorial is from Xara Modules. (You can only see it when you are connected to the Internet). I have to admit it took me a little time to get used to the way it works. You create your messages on the Xara Modules Web site. Xara creates the JavaScript and gives you a line of HTML code, which you add to your HTML page, which links to the Xara Modules site, which causes the scroller to display.

You press Add to add a new line of text. And you also press Add to make any non-text changes. It's just that when you press Add to apply your non-text changes, it also adds a blank  New Message line which you must then delete, unless of course you want to add another line of text. It's not the most perfect interface, but as you can see here, it works.

Once you learn how the interface works, you can create scrolling messages like this one with custom bullets, your own image or logo, and other neat stuff. It's a great way to draw and hold your Web site's visitor's attention. Message Scroller is $49.00 US per year or $10.00 US per month. (Obviously per year is more cost effective). In essence, you rent these effects from Xara Modules on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Xara Modules also offer several other text message effects including: Sliding Message, Horizontal Marquee, Speedy Message, Typewriter Text, Message Presenter, and Spinning Text . Each of these modules is $29.00 US per year or $2.95 US per month. You could add a new effect each month, but wait, you can get the whole lot for only $49.00 US per year or $4.95 US per month! How can you pass up a deal like this? I ask you.

And the good news is, they all share the same interface. Once you learn one, it's easier to learn the others.

And remember, Xara Modules is part of Xara Ltd. who generously sponsors theses free tutorials.

©2001 Gary W. Priester
Tutorials are for private use only. No text or images may be used or reproduced in any form (except as tutorials) without the express written permission of the author.