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Concentric circles using Polar grid tool in Illustrator CC tutorial

concentric circles polar grid tool

How to create concentric circles using the polar grid tool in Illustrator tutorial. The polar grid tool can be used to create many interesting concentric circles designs in Illustrator CC 2017 2015 CS6 etc. Use the polar grid 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 polar grid tool. Once you have the circles, ungroup the polar grid paths and modify the individual concentric circles. The concentric circles can be shifted. You can set the width of the concentric circles. You can also use the Illustrator live paint bucket tool to fill the artwork with different colors so the concentric circles can be reds and greens and blues and other colors. You can also use clipping masks to mask part of the polar grid path / concentric circles to create an arc or pie slice or semi circle etc design. The Illustrator concentric circles created by the polar grid tool can also be duplicated by holding down the alt / option key to create another polar grid and shift the paths slightly to create even more interesting combinations of the concentric circles in Illustrator. That path combination can also be filled with the live paint bucket. This tutorial shows you how to create the concentric circles using the polar grid tool. This tutorial also shows how to use the live paint bucket to color the Illustrator concentric circles. There is also a link to selection of free polar grids / concentric circles

  1. Select the tool

  2. Double click the icon

  3. Set the radial divider to zero

  4. Set the concentric divider to 12 or 20 etc to get concentric rings from the polar grid tool.

  5. Hold the shift key down

  6. Drag outwards to create the concentric circles

  7. Release

  8. set the fill to no color and the stroke to black etc and the width as required

circles ringsthicker linescolor concentrictwirl polarlive paint circlesblend differencestar clipping

Ungroup concentric circles and vary the circles of the polar grid

concentric circles for Illustrator via polar grid tool

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

  1. select concentric circles creating using the Illustrator polar grid tool

  2. object menu ungroup

  3. object menu ungroup

  4. select individual rings

  5. change the stroke width etc

  6. 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 polar grid tool - I am certain that sometimes it ungroups with only one command)

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

re-color the concentric circles for Illustrator polar grid tool

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

  1. select all the rings (or all the rings you want to select)

  2. go to the toolbar

  3. select the live paint bucket tool in Illustrator

  4. Click the space between the rings to add the current color

  5. 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

Semi-circle concentric circles from polar grid and slices using clipping masks

concentric circles slice arc via polar grid tool in Illustrator
  1. Create a rectable

  2. place that over one half of the concentric circles

  3. 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 created using the polar grid tool in Illustrator. 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) (see image on the right)

Multiple copies of the polar grid paths / concentric circles

concentric circles duplicate

You can create a polar grid path with the tool in Illustrator and then duplicate that using 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.

  1. Go to the toolbar

  2. Select the polar grid tool

  3. Double click the icon

  4. Set concentric to 5 and radial to 0

  5. Set the stroke weight

  6. Create a polar grid path / concentric circle

  7. Set the stroke weight

  8. Create another polar grid / concentric circle

Effects added to the polar grid / concentric circles in Illustrator

concentric circle effects punk and bloat

You can use them 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

  1. Select the polar grid tool

  2. Double click the icon

  3. Set concentric to 12 and radial to 0

  4. Set the stroke weight

  5. Go to the effect menu

  6. Distort and transform

  7. Punk and bloat

  8. Set the slider as required

  9. Object menu

  10. expand appearance

Other resources

1. circle symbols for Illustrator

2. ring symbols for Illustrator CC 2017 etc

Free concentric circles / rings

1. selection of free symbols concentric circles etc themed

Other tutorials

1. Polar grid for Illustrator tool tutorial

2. Create multiple rings with the polar grid tool in Illustrator