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Join Justin Seeley, lynda.com staff author and design enthusiast, each week for a new 5-minute, self-contained tutorial that you can use to instantly improve your design workflow. This series covers techniques for print, digital, and web design, addressing the tools that creative professionals like you use most. Learn new ways to leverage layer styles and vector shapes in Adobe Photoshop, work more efficiently with text in Illustrator, and embed videos and even tweets in WordPress posts, and much more. Check back each week for a new installment, and a new design hack.
Hey there, welcome back to another episode of Creative Quick Tips. My name is Justin Seeley and I'm a staff author here at lynda.com. This week we're going to be talking about creating interlocking shapes inside of Adobe Illustrator. And a lot of people do it in many different ways, but my method is actually really quick and really easy, and that's what I'm going to be showing you here today. So basically, what I want to do is take these three rings, and just like a magician, I'm going to magically link them together inside of Adobe Illustrator. Now first things first, we need to look at the anatomy of these rings. And so when I click on one of these rings, you're going to see here that the ring itself is just a circle or an ellipse with a stroke applied to it.
Same thing here, the green one and the blue one. Nothing fancy going on with these shapes. However, in order to make these shapes interact with one another in the manner that I want them to, I need to first convert them from stroked objects into filled objects. So here's what we're going to do. I going to go up to the Object menu, I'm going to go down to Path and I'm going to select Outline Stroke. And that's just going to convert the stroke into a path, as you can see there. Now, when you start to look at these shapes, do you see the little intersecting points? When I zoom in here, you can see like this little area here, these areas here.
These are all areas of overlap that are easily then translated into making these look interlocked by using something called the Shape Builder tool. I'm going to do that by pressing Shift+M on my keyboard. And what I'm going to do now is come in here and I'm just going to start making these things look as though they overlap. So, I'm just going to click and drag across here, and that's going to overlap. And you may see the colors change. That's totally okay with that. Let me back that up. You can actually go in and change that by double-clicking on the Shade Builder and making sure cursor swatch preview is turned on.
Hit OK. And then I can just mouse through something like this, and I can make the colors look exactly like I want them to. And so in this case, what I'm going to do is cycle through until I get to a green, and so this one's going to be green. And you can see there, they're just kind of on top of each other, just like that. And so now what I'm going to do. Find a blue color that I like, so I'm just going to mouse through until I find a blue, something like this. Click and drag across. There we go. This one here, what I'm going to do is cycle back until I get to that red color again.
And once I get to the red, I'm then going to make this interlock like that. And then I want the green one to go across here, so what I'm going to do is just mouse over until I find a green color that I like. And I can actually go down all the way to the original green color if I want to. There we go, and we'l just mouse over like that. And so now they're all pretty much interlocked with another. If I want to complete this, I'll just go to the blue color one more time and finish it off by dragging it across those two. So now I have these rings interlocked with each other very quick, very easy.
Each one is it's own individual shape as you can see. You can come in and change the color of these any time. So I could select both red segments and then change those to orange, let's say. I could take all of the green segments, and I could convert those over to blue. And then I could take the blue segments, and I could change those over to something like pink for instance. And there you see they all still interlock with one another, making it very easy to change this shape anytime I want, and making the appearance look a lot more complicated than it really is.
As you start to get more creative with your illustrations, try using the Shape Builder to sort of interlock and make these interact with one another in different ways. It's a really great way to extend the creativity of your artwork.
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