photoshop creative

How to set up Actions in Photoshop for a Spirograph effect

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
December 20, 2012

A tutorial on creating an Action for a Photoshop Spirograph, using Paths and the Transform tools

Step 1

Once you have your path stroked, make sure your stroke layer is selected. Now, open the Actions palette and click the New Action icon. Name it Spirograph and press Record. (Photoshop will now record your actions, so be careful to follow the next steps exactly).

Step 2

Making sure your path layer is still selected, duplicate the layer (Cmd/Ctrl+J).  Now, making sure the duplicated layer is highlighted, select the Move tool (V) then press Cmd/Ctrl+T. This will put a bounding box around the stroked path, allowing you adjust the rotation etc. First, we need to move the Pivot Point (the little round crosshair icon in the middle). Click and hold Shift on the Pivot Point and drag it just outside the bounding box.

Step 3

Now rotate your stroke. Do this by clicking and dragging the top right square of the bounding box. When you’ve rotated your stroke so that it looks similar to the image below, press Enter.

Step 4

Now we need to stop the Action before we do anything else. Go back to the Actions palette and press the Stop button (the square next to the red recording symbol). Select the action by clicking on its name, so it’s highlighted like so:

Step 5

Now (with the duplicated layer still selected), press the Play Selection button in the Actions palette (the Play button). Press this button repeatedly until your Spirograph is full formed.

For the complete tutorial on how to make this inspiring digital Spirograph in Photoshop, pick up a copy of issue 95, on sale at Imagine Shop. Or grab a digital copy from

Spirograph tutorial