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Create starbursts using Polar grid tool in Illustrator tutorial

polar grid tool and starburst in Illustrator

How to create starburst designs using the polar grid tool in Adobe Illustrator CC CS6 CS5 CS4 etc tutorial. Starburst designs can be created in Illustrator using the polar grid tool. The starburst paths can be varied by changing the settings of the radial setting of the polar grid tool. You can create basic starburst designs in Illustrator by setting the polar grid to 10 and 20 and setting the concentric divider to 0. You can also create many other starburst path designs by combining multiple polar grid paths in Illustrator with different radial settings. You can also create even more interesting starburst themed artworks by using variable width profiles in Illustrator. You can also extend the design of the Illustrator starburst paths by combining the polar grid radial setting with brush strokes. This tutorial shows you how to take the polar grid tool in Illustrator and create amazing starbursts in seconds that can be then modified further using brushes as well as width tool and more.

  1. Goto the polar grid tool in the toolbar

  2. Double click to display the settings

  3. Set the concentric to 0

  4. Set the radial to 30 (as with the image on the left)

  5. Object menu

  6. Ungroup

  7. Delete the bounding circle path

If you set the concentric dividers to zero (you still get a backing circle which can be deleted by ungrouping the path and deleting the circle) and setting the radial dividers to say 40 - you get a starburst or star in seconds. Once you have the starburst design, you can then add other effects etc to the artwork

Variable width profiles and applied to the polar grid starburst in Illustrator

circular starburst minus front in Illustrator polar grid

As this is Adobe Illustrator, you don't need to stop there and you can apply live effects to the lines as well as variable width profiles (option bar) or brush strokes.

  1. select all the generated lines of the polar grid (though you can select alternate lines or perhaps the top set of lines)

  2. set the color of the stroke

  3. go to the variable with profiles

  4. select one such as width profile 4

  5. Expand apperance via the object menu

  6. select all paths

  7. go to the pathfinder

  8. unite


You can then add other paths to the design such as a circle to the centre of the starburst and then select the starburst and circle and then select the minus front in the pathfinder panel (image on the right)

Twirl and starburst effect added to the polar grid and width profiled lines

starburst and zigzag effect with the polar grid tool
  1. select the lines of the ungrouped polar grid

  2. go to the width profiles at the top of the screen and select the width profile 4

  3. set the color of the strokes

  4. go to the effects menu

  5. twist

  6. set to 45

  7. ok

  8. object menu and expand appearance

  9. pathfinder panel and unite

Many different starbursts and stars can be created using the Illustrator polar grid tool as a start point


Or use the zigzag effect such as on the right

Adding brush strokes to the width profiles and starburst created using polar grid tool

starburst brushes polar grid design

You can also use the polar grid to create starbursts with brushes. As brushes can be any kind of design, many different starbursts can be created. As with above, you can create a very basic stroke starburst but instead of adding a width profile, you can add a brush. You can use your own brushes, you can use the brushes supplied with Illustrator and so on.

  1. create a red circle

  2. create another red circle but make it smaller and place a distance away from the first circle

  3. select both and align horizontally

  4. go to the blend tool and double click and set the spacing to steps (say 5.

  5. click the first circle and then the next with the blend tool

  6. object menu and expand

  7. display the brushes panel

  8. drag the paths into the brushes panel

  9. set to artistic

  10. ok

  11. go back to the polar grid starburst lines

  12. select them

  13. apply brush by selecting it in the brush panel

  14. object menu and expand appearance

  15. pathfinder and unite

Or just create a path using the curvature tool such as a wavy / curved design and then add that to the brushes panel. Apply the wavy / curved brush to the polar grid starburst. You can also then add variable width profiles to further modify the starburst (as on the right)


Many other variants can be created such as zigzags (on the left) and using expanded type on the right

Other tutorials

1. Create circular track artwork using the polar grid tool

2. Create concentric circles using the Illustrator polar grid tool

3. How to use brush strokes with the polar grid paths in Illustrator

Sources and references

1. Starbursts on