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Library: Creative Design


Expand your drawing capabilities with the Polar Grid tool

Added on Monday 15th of February 2010 04:31 am EST


Polar grids are helpful for planning and executing rotational designs. You can easily customize a grid for any rotational design that you have in mind, especially if you use Illustrator to create your design. You can build up amazing complexity, as shown on our cover. Many types of flowers, pinwheels, Gothic tracery, Celtic knotwork, and even car hubcaps exhibit rotational symmetry. We’ll show you two drawing techniques for using the Polar Grid tool. The first is as a rotational tool and second is for generating graphics from the grid itself.

Set up a polar grid
Polar grids consist of concentric circles and dividers that you can adjust to suit many design needs.

To set up a polar grid:
1. Create a new Illustrator document.
2. Select the Polar Grid tool , which is located in the Toolbox on the Line Segment tool’s pop-up menu.
3. Click on your document to open the Polar Grid Tool Options dialog box shown in FIGURE A.

Understand the settings
In the Default Size section, you can specify the Height and Width of the resulting grid. The sizes don’t have to be identical, which allows you to make ovals as well as circles. Also in this section is the Origin Point icon . Click on one of its four corners to determine where your grid is drawn from. Most of the time, you can just leave this setting alone.

Concentric Dividers section
You can specify how many rings you want your grid to have in the Number text box. Changing the value in the Skew text box causes the dividers to be drawn closer to either the center or the outer portion of the grid.

Radial Dividers section
You can specify the number of radii that you want. (If you don’t remember back to your geometry classes, the radius is the distance from the center to any point on a circle.) Under the Number text box, you’ll see another Skew slider that allows you to push the radii toward the top or the bottom of the grid.

Check box options
At the bottom ...