Radial Shapes In Illustrator Create Tutorial | Sunburst

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How to create Illustrator radial shapes, wonderful vector designs for your work.


You can generate a pie slice or spokes by setting the concentric setting to zero in the polar grid tool (though weirdly it does still generate a single entry) and you can then set the radial to any number of spokes you wish to generate a bicycle wheel or pie slice or spokes (you can always remove the circle by un-grouping the path and then deleting it).

Line art

You can set the color of the slices, you can tweak the lines and much more to build all kinds of wonderful line art

End points

You can always add some additional paths to the design such as perhaps some circles. Fashion a circle and fill and then hold down the alt / option key and drag to duplicate and place at the ends of the artwork.

Expand the shape and pathfinder combos

Select all the spokes and then go to the object menu and expand. Once you have expanded the design, go to the pathfinder and then click the unite button. You can continue to modify the design such as perhaps adding additional circles to the unfilled part of the shape. Or perhaps adding the circles to the spokes and then using the unite option in the pathfinder with all the art selected. Also makes a great sunburst design.

pie slices Creation

Go to the polar grid tool. Double click the tool icon to display the options. If you want to form just slices then set the concentric dividers to zero. If you want 14 slices in the grid, enter 14 into the divider field. If you want a circle of 40 slices, enter 40 into the divider field. The limit is 999 which does result in a pretty narrow slice. The slices can also then be manipulated further by using the ungroup command found in the object menu.

Live paint

The result of the ungroup being a solid circle and a set of lines (not slices). To turn them into slices, use the live paint tool to fill all the slices with the same color or different colors and then move the slices to different positions. Once you have finished, click the expand button at the top of the screen


It does require a few additional un-groups to get at the slices or you could separate all the slices by using the isolation mode by double clicking the path.

Layers panel

You can keep all the shapes in the same location or you can drag to different positions in isolation mode. Another alternative approach would be to use the layers panel and select the individual layers there and move them that way.

Multiple overlapping designs

You don't need to just forge a single path, multiple paths can be devised using the tool. The settings can be varied for each of the grids and then all the grids can be aligned to a single center and then un-grouped to make a more colorful design. Select the polar tool, press return to display the settings panel, set 0 / 15 and apply. Go back to the tool settings and setting to 12, construct a new grid on top of the existing one but smaller, select both and then align them. Go to the live paint bucket, select colors from a swatches library, go to each cell and apply the live paint bucket using the right and left arrow keys to scroll through the available swatch colors, expand live paint at the end of the re-coloring (expand button is available along the top of the application. The design can then be re-colored using the color guide or color adjustment tools in the edit menu

Contours using offsets

Select the PG tool. Press return or double click the PG icon in the tools box to display the settings, set the settings to 0 and 15. Apply the tool to the art board. Object menu and ungroup, delete outer circle, select all the art, set the width to 12px, object menu and expand, pathfinder panel, unite, object menu and path and offset set to 10, change color, repeat offset, change color for that offset and so on. Add multiple offsets if required and change the color. You can build a dramatic vector shape by using the pathfinder panel and with the shape selected, click the exclude button (top right button)


A variation of this can be using the corners feature on the selected lines to mold a rounded initial path. Select the basic spokes design and then goto the direct selection tool and you will see the corner widgets appear, drag one of the widgets to round the entire design


Go to the object menu and path and offset and then set the color and then repeat offset and color. You can also vary the width of the offset.

Repeat feature

You can use all kinds of designs as an input to the repeat feature (object menu and repeat and radial). The best designs are vertical for this. Go to the required option (the first one in the list) and then set the radius of the object as well as the number of instances. It is a live object which can be modified in 1000s of ways. To access the designs at an individual level, double click one of the spokes and edit the artwork and that is then repeated all the way around the art. Such as removing the circle and then replacing with duplicates of the triangle and changing the color.

Width profiles

You can also coin all kinds of amazing artwork using lines with the repeat and using the width profiles / width tool to produce unusual stroke designs that are live as you modify them within the repeat. Change the radius as well as the number of copies for the repeat object.

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Draw using pen tool

Another option is to design the artwork live, use the pen tool and use the repeat feature and you can modify the art within the repeat object in infinite ways and again the work is circular and can be tweaked by using the interactive controls on the repeat object or via the control bar.

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Transform Effect

You can also select a very basic design, use a combination of the distort and transform and transform effect with the repeat live effect to construct totally awesome designs in seconds. Any path can be selected and then repeated using the copies and setting the move setting for each of those copies and then used with the repeat to design wow art.

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Make a circle and then another slightly further away and set the fill to a different color, go to the blend tool and apply to these artworks. Go to the repeat feature as above and produce all kinds of amazing artwork from the basic linear design. The blend is lice and can be modified in endless ways such as changing the spine of the design and the number of steps etc

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