7 Replies Latest reply on Aug 8, 2012 5:27 AM by MightyMouse58

    How to create a multiple segment circle?

    MightyMouse58 Level 1

      Hi guys,


      I need some advice as to how to create a segmented circle as shown in the attached image. I have it as a jpg but I want to create it in Illustrator so I can have greater control over the parts. For example, while the image shows three segments, I may have to add another one into the image (it's part of a process demo).


      Advice/help greatly appreciated.





        • 1. Re: How to create a multiple segment circle?
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          Two circles, a triangle, Pathfinder operations.



          • 2. Re: How to create a multiple segment circle?
            Jacob Bugge MVP & Adobe Community Professional



            You may (all circles being concentric):


            1) Create the two circles, inner and outer, and Object>Compound Path>Make,

            2) Create an outer auxiliary circle, extending outside the outermost parts of the arrows to be made,

            3) Create an arrowhead at the centre of the circles; to avoid its pointing (too much) outwards, you may place its centre (rather than the hindmost part/base) at the centre,

            4) Move a copy of the arrowhead by the desired gap width, cut at the side Anchor Points, and remove the base segment (and the fill) so you have a path consisting of the two angled segments,

            5) Move a copy of 4) back on top of the arrowhead 3),

            6) Move 3), 4), and 5), into position with the centre between the two circles (by the average of the radii), and rotate all of them together with the auxiliary circle so you get all the arrowheads placed in the right way (120 degrees for 3, 90 degrees for 4, etc),

            7) Hide/delete the auxiliary circles,

            8) Hide the arrowheads,

            9) Select everything (Ctrl/Cmd+A) and Pathfinder>Divide, and then delete the unneded parts, namely the gaps and the funny thingy in the middle,


            Now you have the circle parts in a simplified version as they would be without the sides of the arrowhead sticking out (some make it that way),


            10) Show the arrowheads and select each with the corresponding circle part and Pathfinder>Unite (or Add to shape area or whatever it is called in your version).


            You may colour the arrow/circle parts as desired in connexion with 9) or 10).

            • 3. Re: How to create a multiple segment circle?
              EricaLynneLarson Adobe Employee

              Hey Carl,


              Mr. Bugge's instructions are spot on. Here are some visuals to help you and the steps I took (I admit mine are more quick and dirty, his are more precise):


              Create a donut shape as Jacob described.


              Screen Shot 2012-08-07 at 8.42.42 AM.jpg


              Using the knife tool (under the eraser), divide the circle into the desired number of parts. You can draw a straight line by holding option and shift. Give each part a color.




              Create a triangle by using the polygon tool and giving it 3 sides.


              Screen Shot 2012-08-07 at 8.43.33 AM.jpg


              Color and arrange each triangle accordingly.


              Screen Shot 2012-08-07 at 8.46.38 AM.jpg


              Create a duplicate arrow to be used later.

              Screen Shot 2012-08-07 at 8.47.26 AM.jpg


              Use the pathfinder tool to unite the first segment of the circle and the triangle of the same color to create an arrow.


              Screen Shot 2012-08-07 at 8.46.58 AM.jpg


              Make the duplicated triangle white and place it behind the arrow you just made and on top of the circle segment of the next color.


              Screen Shot 2012-08-07 at 8.48.07 AM.jpg


              Select the white triangle and the circle segment beneath it. Use the pathfinder to "minus front" so the white triangle is subtracted, giving space between the first arrow (red) and the second (purple).


              Screen Shot 2012-08-07 at 8.48.28 AM.jpg

              Repeat this process for each arrow.

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: How to create a multiple segment circle?
                emil emil Level 4

                I would do it in a similar way as Jacob suggested but would create the triangle with the star tool set to 3 sides (or use arrow keys while creating) because it has a point in the middle of the sides that can be used for snapping. I would also use just one circle to use as a snapping target and later expand the width of its stroke. To position the two triangles on the circle I would use the Rotate tool with Smart Guides on as shown in the image. the top row is outline view and the red arrows show the snapping points on the circle with the center of rotation and center of the triangle's base After that rotate the two triangles along the center of the circle by defining it with Alt + click with the Rotate tool on it and rotate with 120° then repeat the transformation again (Ctrl + D). The rest is expanding the stroke, making a compound path with all three white triangles and using Pathfinder's Minus Front on the expanded stroke.


                1 person found this helpful
                • 5. Re: How to create a multiple segment circle?
                  MightyMouse58 Level 1

                  Thanks guys for your answers. They were right on the button and really saved me a lot of time. Particular thaks to Jacob whose solutioin I adopted in the end (and thanks also for the graphics - they helped heaps, and as they say a picture says a thousand words).





                  • 6. Re: How to create a multiple segment circle?
                    Jacob Bugge MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                    For my part (failing to provide the graphics) you are welcome, Carl.


                    I have a webhost issue preventing me from uploading to the website I always use for images (I know they are always available, and reusable), so my posts have been words only for a while.

                    • 7. Re: How to create a multiple segment circle?
                      MightyMouse58 Level 1

                      That's ok Jacob, your explanation was really good, the graphics filled in a couple of blank spots in the process (showing my unfamiliarity with Illustrator ).