I suck at illustrator, so this is a huge leap in my ability. I'm trying to draw a radio tower, but I want everything in the vector to be as perfect as possible. I want some waves to come off of the radio tower. I'm trying to use the pen tool and then fix it up with the direct selection tool, but I just can't get it to match up. How should I go about creating these "perfect waves" and make sure they are perfectly centered.

enter image description here

As you can see, the bottom of the shape is touching the circle. Ideas?


I'm able to create perfect circle around it now. How or "what" is the best way to go about "cutting" them to replicate this:

enter image description here

This is what I have so far: enter image description here

I don't want the rounded edges edges the waves have from the example. I'm still fine creating a "noodle" type shape with straight edges.

Last Update

So I decided that I will use the pathfinder tool to help me with this last step. I want to place a rectangle perfectly in the center of the circle (on the guide line shown) but it won't place the center point on the middle of the line. Ideas? enter image description here

  • Use the Scissors tool to cut the concentric circles where you want. Then use the Direct Selection Tool to click and delete the unwanted areas.
    – Scott
    Aug 15, 2012 at 22:22
  • Couldn't figure out the scissors tool so I updated my question once more.
    – EGHDK
    Aug 16, 2012 at 4:16

4 Answers 4


Not much different from KMSTR's answer, but I'll say it anyways.

  1. Select the same original circle.
  2. Then from the top menu: Object > Path > Offset path. ( In this case you only need to worry about the "offset" box, and you might want to enable preview as well. ) enter image description here
  3. Select the offset path and swap the fill color with the outline color.

If you want to make multiple waves, just select the prior wave and repeat steps 1-2.

  • Edited: forgot that you had 3 waves. So changed step 7 and 8.
  • Edited2: Realized that my prior edit was kind of useless.. Was looking at the example image thinking that you had 3 waves...

As far as the trimming of the circles goes, you could do something like this.

Not the fastest way, but should go through quite a few essential tools for illustrator.

On windows, just 'translate' every cmd into ctrl


From the top menu: Window > Align. Align everything to the center according to the artboard. You most likely will want to group ( Cmd + G ) some objects before aligning them.

enter image description here


Then take Ellipse tool and select the outer most circle by clicking it while pressing cmd so that you can see the points. Then while pressing alt draw ellipse by using one of the side points as the center for the circle. ( Did it this way so I don't have to center the ellipse vertically according to the circles. )

enter image description here


After that take Selection tool and while pressing alt and shift move the ellipse to the other side. ( alt makes a copy. shift keeps it in the same level. )

enter image description here


Select both ellipses and group them ( Cmd+G ) and then use the align panel to center them to the art-board just like shown at the first step.

enter image description here


Take the Direct selection tool and remove the outer points from the sides of the ellipses. Just select a circle and backspace ( delete ).

enter image description here


Still with Direct selection tool, join the two curves from the top and bottom. Select 2 points at a time and then right click inside the document and select Join. ( You can first select one point and then with shift select another. )

enter image description here


Select all of the outlined circles + the 'ellipse curves'. From the top menu: Window > Pathfinder and then use Exclude overlapping and Expand.

enter image description here


Then with Direct selection tool, select all of the extra lines and delete them.

enter image description here


And then to achieve the rounded tips. From the top menu: Window > Stroke. Select the arcs and click the Round cap.

enter image description here

Also, you should always do this after you've finished making a logo.

Top menu:

  1. Select all Cmd+A ( assuming that the logo is only thing in your document. )

  2. Type > Create outlines - Changes text into paths.

  3. Object > Path > Outline stroke - Changes strokes into paths.

The order matters by the way.

  • Awesome. Just plain awesome. Thank you so much.
    – EGHDK
    Aug 17, 2012 at 4:57

I would duplicate the original circle and then resize it and change it to stroke instead of fill. This way you get it perfectly aligned circle "waves". As for the distances of the radio waves, I would go with the size adjustment. E.g. the first circle is 64x64, make the next one 72, then 80, 88 and so on.

Then you can crop the top and bottom off in the end to get the quater circles.

  • This. is. awesome. I'm getting perfect circles around that original circle. How would you go about splitting the circle in half? Kind of like this? deltaradio.net/images/radio_tower.jpg I updated my question to reflect what I want to accomplish now.
    – EGHDK
    Aug 15, 2012 at 17:58
  • You can find the rounded ends in the stroke panel to get this effect.
    – KMSTR
    Aug 15, 2012 at 19:31
  • Thanks, but I'm not looking to round the ends. I'm looking on how to have a U shape on each side, and not a full circle. Any way to accomplish this?
    – EGHDK
    Aug 15, 2012 at 20:10
  • Basically, how to turn my circles in arcs on each side?
    – EGHDK
    Aug 15, 2012 at 20:16
  • Not sure what you mean by "U ant the end". The example you posted has rounded ends, is that not what you want?
    – KMSTR
    Aug 15, 2012 at 20:35

For concentric circles, the basic idea is that they each have the same center point. So when you want to create the "waves", you need to create larger circles which have the same center point, or - probably easier, duplicate the original circle and resize the duplicates, keeping the center point.

To resize and keep the center point of a circle, you need to hold the Alt key. This is in addition to holding shift (to restrict it to scaling the height and width equally).

You turn the circles into arcs after this point.

  • Thanks for pointing out to hold the alt key and the shift key!
    – EGHDK
    Aug 15, 2012 at 17:56
  • "You turn the circles into arcs after this point." How?
    – EGHDK
    Aug 16, 2012 at 2:20
  • Well again there are a few different ways. I'd start by making a couple of triangle shapes to use as a mask over the areas you want to cut out of the circles on the top and bottom part of them, then use the Shape Builder Tool to make your mask "cut" the circles. If it was me, I'd also keep an unharmed version of the circles on another hidden layer so you can go back to them later if you want. Aug 16, 2012 at 3:22

To center the rectangle try turning on grid and grid snapping, they are both in the view drop down.

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