Concentric Circles Creation in Illustrator Tutorial

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By Andrew Buckle, Updated : 2022




The Polar grid (PG) tool can be used to create many interesting concentric circles designs in Adobe Illustrator.


Use the PG tool with the radial divider set to 0 and concentric divider great than zero (say 10 or 20 etc) and create the circles. Any number of circles can be created with the tool.


To create the concentric circlles : select the grid tool, double click the icon, set the radial divider to zero, set the concentric divider to 12 or 20 etc to get concentric rings from the grid tool, hold the shift key down, drag outwards to create the concentric circles, release the mouse, set the fill to no color and the stroke to black etc and the width as required


2. Add a width profile to vary the concentric circles

You can also vary the concentric circles with the powerful width feature. You can use the width tool to modify the circles. Obviously they sort of move away from being concentric circles at this point !


3. Ungroup and vary the design

You can also ungroup the circles and transform each of the circles or use the isolation mode (by double clicking on the path until you can access the individual rings) approach to break down the path.


Select the concentric circles , go to the object menu ungroup, object menu ungroup, select individual rings, change the stroke width etc, change the color of the stroke.


It is odd but the ungroup needs to be used twice (I am certain there is some reason for this with the paths created with the tool - I am certain that sometimes it ungroups with only one command)


Another option is to double click the individual circles of the concentric circles and enter the isolation mode where you can move the individual parts of the design, re-color the artwork.


Or use the layers panel (found in the window menu) and then select the individual paths (click the right side marker of the layer entry and set to blue) and then change the paths


4. Re-color the concentric circles using the live paint tool in the toolbar

The end result is just a set of concentric circles that can be manipulated in multiple ways with effects as well as transformations such as shifting the artwork or scaling or overlapping the design with another set of paths


Select all the rings (or all the rings you want to select), go to the toolbar, select the live paint bucket tool in Adobe Illustrator, click the space between the rings to add the current color, change the color via the fill color etc


Unless you expand the concentric circles via the object menu and expand command, you won't be able to use the live bucket with the strokes but you can just re-color them individually via the stroke settings for those paths (best to do any re-coloring of the strokes before you use the live paint bucket)


You can also save the result to the symbols panel or to the CC libraries for future use


5. Semi-circle concentric circles fnd slices using clipping masks

Create a rectangle, place that over one half of the concentric circles, object menu and clipping mask and make


You can also re-color the semi-circle circles using the powerful color guide which can be found via the windows menu color guide and then use that to re-color the artwork (see one of our tutorials on the color guide)


Or use another path to create a slice of the concentric circles by creating a basic triangle and placing that over the concentric circles. The easiest way to create the triangle is probably to use the pen tool (click somewhere near the concentric circles) and then click the middle of the circle and then come out back outside of the circles and then back to the original point (creating a set of concentric arcs instead of circles)

6. Multiple copies of the paths / concentric circles

Create a set of concentric circles and then duplicate that by holding down the alt / option key to create another concentric circle set or just use the polar grid tool repeatedly. You can manipulate the individual paths for those or just shift them slightly to create multiple interesting combinations of the circles. You can then also use the live paint bucket to fill those with colors as well. You can extend this to multiple circle combinations with different number of dividers.


Go to the toolbar, select the PG tool, double click the icon, set concentric to 5 and radial to 0, set the stroke weight, create a path / concentric circle, set the stroke weight, create another concentric circle.

7. Effects added to the concentric circles in Adobe Illustrator

You can use the paths as is but you can also apply effects to generated concentric circle polar grid paths. Select the concentric circles and apply the effect via the effect menu such as punk and bloat. All kinds of weird and wonderful designs can be created from these paths


Select the PG tool, double click the icon, set concentric to 12 and radial to 0, set the stroke weight, go to the effect menu, distort and transform, use the effect 'punk and bloat', set the slider as required, object menu and expand appearance

8. Repeat and concentric circles

You can use the powerful new repeat feature with the concentric circles.


Go to the object menu and repeat and radial with the concentric circles selected and then change the radius of the concentric circles as well as modify the number of instances. Double click the concentric circles to access the original object and you can then squeeze, rotate, distort, add effects to the concentric circles.