So what I'm trying to do is make 23 circles in the same style as the image below, but in two concentric rings instead of one big one. The circles should be the same size and also arranged in a gradient.

I know I could just "brute force it" and make them in the obvious way, but I'm trying to learn more about using Illustrator effectively and wanted a more Illustrator-y way of doing it that utilizes the tools and methods provided in the software.

Specifically I'm interested in how you, the experienced Illustrator user, would do the job. You don't have to explain it in painful detail, just enough that someone (who knows how to Google) could reasonably reproduce it. Thanks!

Note: This question previously was asking about Photoshop, but I learned from comments that Illustrator is more appropriate for the task.

12 colored circles

  • 6
    I specifically would not do this in Photoshop. This is a job for Illustrator... or equivalent. :)
    – TunaMaxx
    Jan 30, 2014 at 0:30
  • A shot in the dark, here @ntopy - since you are not getting any answers here... do you have access to Illustrator or inkscape? Is there a particular reason why you need to do this in Photoshop? Just curious; it might turn out to be the easiest in Illustrator/Inkscape, and that you will get good answers by changing application... You can edit your Q if you want to try that instead.
    – benteh
    Jan 31, 2014 at 20:29
  • @boblet Thanks for the concern. It should have occurred to me to use Illustrator. I'm going to edit the question.
    – user19338
    Jan 31, 2014 at 21:19
  • @ntropy could you try to sketch or describe the two rings and the gradient. Are they different gradients? One longer gradient? What? Also for answering do you already know how to do the circles evenly spaced and just need help on the gradient or are you stuck on that too?
    – Ryan
    Jan 31, 2014 at 21:25
  • 1
    @Scott not entirely? the link you give explains how to create a circle of discs (and therefore also concentric circles of discs), but then the question is how to get this to work with the gradient the OP wants. I suppose he is after the blending technique for that.
    – benteh
    Jan 31, 2014 at 22:44

1 Answer 1


I am going to give this a go. Beware, there will be more elegant ways of doing it, but this works.

One alternative is to make a brush, but I imagine that will not really help you, depending on the gradients you want to use (if you want to give that a go: make your brush objects, open the brush panel, and simply select and drag).

Another alternative is to create a circle and use the rotate tool to place duplicate discs around a centre.

However, if I understand you correctly, your point is that you want a gradient, and you want different versions (discs around a centre). So a brush will not be so handy; and colouring discs manually kind of defeats the purpose.

So here is what I tried. Here, I have made four discs in the four basic colours (it could of course be any colour): enter image description here

Then, go to object - > blend - > blend options and choose the number of steps you want between each colour:

enter image description here

Click on blend tool:

enter image description here

in turn, click on each of the circles, avoiding anchor points. This is what it looks like in the process:

enter image description here

Then, make a large circle, the one you want all your discs to be placed "around". Select both discs and circle, and go to object - > blend - > replace spine:

enter image description here

This is the really silly part, because what you will get is this:

enter image description here

To sort that out is really stupid but very simple: choose the scissor-tool, and click on any anchor point on the large circle. Voilá:

enter image description here


Ups, i forgot to take into account the last gradient, from yellow to green. This is easily done by adding another yellow after the green, and proceeding as described. Here is what it looks like and what you will get:

enter image description here

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