Posted in Graphic Guides

Creating the Olympic Rings

Olympic Rings Exercise-01

Today in class we were challenged with an Olympic sized test: recreate the Olympic rings.

When you think about the rings, you might be like “Oh!  That’s just five circles put together to make a weird venn diagram!”  That’s only half the battle, though!  You see, those simple circles become a little more complicated since they are all interlocked together with their neighboring circles.  This was an intentional addition to show that we, the human race ranging  from Africa to Asia to Europe to the Americas, are all bound together.

Using Adobe Illustrator CC 2015.3, we conquered this Olympic task.  Below is a set of instructions for how to achieve your own Olympic rings:

Firstly, you’re going to want to create the iconic rings.  To do this, you’ll need to create two circles and center them.  One circle should be slightly larger than the second so that it creates a nice little ring in between the two edges.  Next, you’ll use the Pathfinder tool and use the Minus Front mode with the two circles selected.  This should make it where the inner, smaller circle essentially cuts itself from the larger circle in the back (much like a circular cookie cutter would do).  Now that you have one Olympic styled ring, you’re going to want to copy your ring and create/paste four more identical rings.

The Olympic rings have three rings on the top and two rings on the bottom.  Now one key is that the top three rings never touch each other and the bottom two rings never touch each other.  You’re going to then roughly space the rings so that they never touch.  Then in order to ensure the rings are evenly spaced, you’re going to select all of them and click Horizontal Distribute Center on the Align bar/panel.  What you just did is make all of the spacing even between the rings.

If the spacing is not to your liking or standards, feel free to move them and then repeat the Aligning step until they meet your satisfaction.

Once the rings are spaced how  you want them, you’ll need to ensure that the top rings are lined up and the bottom rings are lined up.  You can do this using Vertical Align Top (in the Align bar/panel) with just the top rings selected and repeat this process with just the bottom rings selected.  

Take this moment  to ensure that the bottom rings are high up enough so that there is space between the top of the bottom rings and the bottom of the top rings.  AKA: Make sure there’s an eye looking space where the rings intersect.

Now you will want to color the rings.  Order of colors of top rings from left to right: blue, black, and red.  Order of colors of bottom rings from left to right: yellow and green.  Make sure that all of your rings have a black border/stroke around them to help with the next steps.

Before you proceed, make sure you are happy with the placement and spacing of your rings!

Once you’re ready to commit, select all of the rings, go back to the Pathfinder tool, select the Divide Pathfinder.  This will create new sections within your circles, primarily around where the circles previously intersected.  Now you’ll need to look at a picture of the Olympic rings to ensure that you are creating the correct layering within your circles.

The final step once you’re happy with the new layering you’ve done via changing small sections to the correct Olympic color is to remove the border/stroke around your rings.  Now you should have the Olympic rings!

If you want to take it a step further like I did above, feel free to check out the options listed below:

To create the 3D effect with your rings, select your Olympic rings and go to Effect>3D>Extrude and Bevel…  This will pull up a new pop up that involves a lot of intimidating looking options.  The photo above has an Extrude Depth of 15 pt.

Then, feel free to add a drop shadow by going to Effect>Stylize>Drop Shadow…

Now go out there and conquer your own Olympic hurdles!


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