# Adobe Illustrator: Creating an helix

Can someone help me create a spiral (helix) similar to the one shown in the image? How might this be done except from drawing the curves perfectly by hand?

I achieved the desired result, but very painstakingly by drawing everything from hand. See the pictures below. To specify my question: Is there a simpler way to draw a shape similar to this?

I have made a tool that (jooGraphFunction) allows you to graph mathematical functions as curves. As part of the documentation, there is a example of how to do this as well as instructions on how to run scripts.

I will summarize the script briefly here for sake of completeness and posterity should my bitbucket account go under or change too much. The parametric function for a circle is

``````cos(t)
sin(t)
``````

You will want to squish that equation a bit to make it look as if seen from side. Or you can use orthographic projection in which case the equation becomes:

``````0.86605 * cos(t) - 0.86605 * sin(t)
-0.5 * cos(t) - 0.5 * sin(t)
``````

Then add variables for size and just slide it upwards as much as you like for a final equation of:

``````0.86605 * radius *cos(t) - 0.86605 * radius * sin(t)
``````

inject this in the script dialog. Other projections are possible. Then adjust the max range to get the desired length of spiral.

Image 1: Spirals with different pitch.

The benefit of graphing is that you can do arbitrarily complex shapes and once you have the formula its easy to repeat it over and over again. Off course you can develop more complex formulas.

Image 2: A few simple extension to the previous helix for inspiration.

1) Begin by cutting an oval in half,

2) Duplicate this curve and move it down as far as you'd like, (some guides might help keep everything even)

3) Draw an oval which meets in the middle with the center two ends of the previous curves and cut it in half as well,

4) Copy and paste the curves from steps 2 and 3 to achieve the desired length.

• Sure you see this a lot but its not a spiral, tough a quite good substitute – joojaa Dec 5 '16 at 22:12
• I tend to roll pretty quick and dirty when I'm working visually. Output is all that matters in this medium after all, and cheating saves a lot of hours. – Jim Dec 5 '16 at 22:56
• Yes but there is only one problem when you do this you couple the pitch with the size of your oval. Anyway this is a perfectly acceptable solution. In this case its fast but its not so fast when people make spirals out of circle halves or quarters. Besides you dont actually save any time since i allready spent the time so you dont have to :) – joojaa Dec 5 '16 at 23:14