Illustrator circular pattern

Illustrator circular pattern DEFAULT

This is one of those little workflows that can be a complete pain on the rare occasion that you need it. So I’m making this as much as a reminder for myself and our design team as it is a tutorial.

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Making a shape mathematically duplicate itself along a circle sounds like something illustrator would handle flawlessly. Well it is, if you can find it. This not very well documented procedure I have the need for maybe 3 times a year but every time its a challenge to make Illustrator do what I want it to do. That is until I discovered this little method. Follow these easy steps to duplicate a shape along a circle perfectly every time.

1. Create your shape, in this case I made a teardrop shape to rotate and look like seeds of an orange.

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2. Create your circle that will define the path for rotation and orient the two so that your shape is seated the way its soon to be clones should be.
3. With your shape selected hit the [ R ] key or select the Rotate Tool from your toolbar.

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4. While holding Option down click on the center of the circle you made.

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This will open up a dialog box like the one below. What you want to do here is choose the degrees that your shape should duplicate across and how many instances of your shape will span that circumference.

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Angle: [ Degrees / Number of shapes ]

This is important. When you are done - hit COPY. (not “OK”) - Hitting copy will create a single copy of your shape.

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Then hit CMD-D to duplicate the rest of the way until you have perfectly rotated your shape around a circle in the exact increments you wanted. And if you don’t like the shape or number of shapes. It’s an easy process to replicate until you do.


We love feedback like this and we also love hearing what you need answers to! Have any other tip suggestions? Hit us up at: [email protected]

By Brian Maddox

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How to create repeat patterns in Illustrator

Once you've mastered the basics of object creation in Illustrator it's very easy to quickly fill a design with many vector elements, and pattern creation is a great way of doing this. Whereas once this would have involved a lot of time consuming, precise work, Illustrator now has a number of tools and tricks that make it easy to intricate repeating patterns.

Through the next five steps I'll run through my five essential tips and tricks that you need to know when embarking on pattern creation in Illustrator, including using the Patterns panel. This tutorial was completed in CS6, but the techniques we explore here can be applied to any version of the programme. To expand your vector skills further, take a look at these amazing Illustrator tutorials.

01. Create radial patterns

Creating radial patterns in Illustrator is quick and easy. Begin by simply creating a shape/graphic of any shape or size, in this case a simple round dot. With this selected hit 'R' for rotate and whilst holding alt+click on a point that will act as the centre of your radial pattern.

In the following dialog panel enter a fraction (e.g 360/20), preview it then hit copy. Once back on the art board hit cmd+D to repeat the pattern. Simple.

02. Use pattern fills

One easy pattern creation technique that is often overlooked is to draw a shape and drag it into the swatches panel. You can now draw any other shape and choose this as your pattern fill, as shown above. This technique only becomes tricky if you want there to be spaces between the elements within your pattern – for solid patterns, it's perhaps the simplest approach.

03. Try the Pattern panel

The Pattern panel (found under the Window menu) is where things start to get really interesting. To quickly jump to the Pattern panel simply double click on the pattern swatch – you now have a multitude of options to choose from including the tile type, brick offset, spacing and number of copies.

Once upon a time all of this would have to have been set manually. When you're happy with your pattern you can save it or save a copy if you want to retain the original design.

04. Work with blends

The blend options can be used to quickly create repeating objects and can then be used within the Pattern generator. Draw two simple shapes, in this case squares. Navigate to 'Object > Blend > Blend options' and select 'Specified steps'.

Enter the number of steps you'd like your blend to be, and then navigate back to 'Object > Blend' and select 'Make'. You can then drag this into your swatches panel and use it in conjunction with the Patterns panel to create some intriguing designs.

05. Apply patterns to 3D objects

Once you have a pattern swatch set up its very easy to apply it to a 3D object. Start by creating a pattern fill on the artboard and drag this into the Symbols panel to be used later. We're going to make a cube, so we'll start with a square. Now create a cube by drawing another square and navigating to '3D > Effect > Extrude and Bevel'.

Hit Preview to see how the cube will look and then click 'Map art'. In the symbol drop-down, select your pattern swatch and apply it to one of the sides. Cycle through the different sides, applying your pattern until you're satisfied with the results.

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How To Create Radial Patterns in Illustrator

One of the best parts of working with a team is sharing information and knowledge with each other. Ryan, our Graphic Designer, recently shared a cool function he found in Illustrator while working on some mandala illustrations. This transform again function will help you create vectors that require repeating elements around a circle. Here is a quick tutorial on how to create radial patterns in Illustrator.

  1. Create guides so that you can see the center point you wish to use.
  2. Select the vector you plan to repeat around the center point of your circle.
  3. Click the rotate tool, hold down the option key, and click in the center of your circle.
  4. A dialog box will pop up. Type in the angle you want your object to repeat at and how many times you want your object repeated. Be sure to hit the copy button. The dialog box will close.
  5. Press Cmd+D (on a Mac) until all of your objects have appeared around the circle.

You will probably want to experiment with how many objects you need repeated. This function is a fun way to create intricately detailed designs! This function inspired me to create illustrations based around a center point. Here is the back of a design (second image is a close up) I made using this Illustrator function for my husband’s ministry.

Radial pattern in illustrator - Mandala Design

I hope this blog not only teaches you, but inspires you to start creating. See an example of radial patterns we used on a logo we designed.

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How to Duplicate \u0026 Rotate Shapes in Adobe Illustrator - Dansky

Looking to create an eye-catching radial pattern for a logo, crest or badge? Maybe you want to craft an intricate radial infographic, or some circular design elements. Either way, this tip for using Illustrator's Rotate tool could take days off your workflow.

In this short video, designer Luke O’Neill explains how to copy and rotate shapes in Illustrator to create an abstract radial pattern in a matter of seconds.

“Without using this technique, you'd have to painstakingly calculate the exact distance each element needs to be from the others and the center point,” he explains. “That’s a laborious process that nobody wants to go through.”

Create a quick radial pattern in Illustrator

It's easy to make stunning radial patterns in Illustrator. In the video above, Luke shows you how. He walks through the basics of the Rotate Tool, before sharing a trick for quickly creating a radial effect. (Skip to 01:26 for his top tip.)

And as Luke explains, this technique works with strokes as well. “This is a pretty universal method that could be used by anyone from a graphic designer to a web designer or illustrator,” he says.

“It's fantastic for creating badges or circular logos, intricate radial infographics or rounded illustrative elements," he continues. "I've used this technique to create intricate radial infographics in the past. They would have taken hours longer – if not days – if I'd attempted it manually.”

Faster pattern creation

As well as a collection of time-saving vector techniques, you’ll also find a wealth of Illustrator plugins that will super-charge your workflow – whatever field you work in – on our website.

These include mirroring tool MirrorMe, with live functionality for quick and flexible pattern, fractal and kaleidoscope effects, and faster face creation; and VectorScribe – the Swiss army knife of vector editing tools.

In addition, you'll find other helpful tools for getting more out of Illustrator, such as Phantasm, for color control like Photoshop’s; Texturino, for adding and editing texture in Illustrator with the click of a button; and WidthScribe, which lets you customise the width of multiple vector strokes and taper line ends – plus a lot more.

 How to create a radial pattern using the Rotate Tool in Illustrator

Luke O'Neill

Talented graphic designer and illustrator Luke O’Neill is art editor of Guitarist Magazine. Previously art editor of T3 magazine and Computer Arts Collection, Luke specialises in art direction, editorial design and illustration. In his spare time he freelances for a wide range of clients, develops experimental personal projects, and produces pro design tutorials for industry websites like Creative Bloq.


Pattern illustrator circular

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