Stump Rays

Believe or not Cameron Moll is “stumped” how to create rays that taper outward. This is easily done (with Illustrator) in a few simple steps.

Step 1: Create a starburst, by option clicking with the star tool.
Radius 1: 2″, radius 2: 1″, points: 20. Change the parameters to your liking. Apply a radial gradient.

Step 2: Create an circle (a rectangle or other shape will also work). Apply a different radial gradient. Make a copy of the circle.

Step 3: Merge the starburst and the circle . Align both objects centered vertically and horizontally. Then use the pathfinder “Intersect” “Minus Back” (if the star is behind) option (this will purge the out points of the star).

Step 4: Here’s the trick: use the direction selection (open arrow tool) to select just the inside points of the intersected star. Use the scale tool (option click) to scale these points to the very center.

Step 5: Align center the new “Ray” with the copy of the circle made in step 2.

Step 6: Optional… tweak the radial gradients for both the “ray” and the circle. add a clipping mask to the desired shape.

Animate: Just change the rotation, gradient and size to animate motion with the rays.

Illustrator & PDF Files:

15 Responses to “Stump Rays”

  1. [...] « Bling Inspiration Starburst Tutorial A tutorial on how to create that pretty starburst effect in Illustrator This entry was [...]

  2. Susanna says:

    Hugh, I tried this and discovered one crucial instruction which is missing: when you select the inner points of the star, you need to just select every other point and scale them into the middle. Then, use the delete point tool to delete the “leftover” inner points. This will give you rays. When I select and scale all the inner points, I just end up with a bunch of skinny lines.

  3. Anon says:

    Bloody brilliant!

  4. Hugh Roper says:

    Susanna, your right, the pathfinder filter in Step 3 should be Minus front (if the starburst is in front or minus back if the star is behind). Step 3 will actually suffice as above if you scale the center points to 0%.

  5. ryan says:

    Very helpful tip. Thanks!

  6. Lasse Fernov says:

    Step 4 can be done easily from the beginning.
    When making the starburst first make it small,
    then hold down Ctrl (cmd) when making it larger and the center points will stay put (testet only in CS).

  7. Matt says:

    I LOVE this tutorial, but am VERY new to Illustrator. I am REALLY confused on step #3. Any chance that you can write a little more about this process?


  8. Kris Khaira says:

    Hugh.. thanks for this great tutorial.

    Those confused might understand it simplified this way:

    1. Draw a star – 15-20 points.

    2. Draw a circle in the center of the star – about 2/3 of the total width of the star.

    3. Put the circle in on top of the star. Open the Pathfinder pallete. Use Minus Back.

    4. Use the Direct Selection Tool to select all inner points of the remaining shape. Use the scale tool to “pull” the points closer to the center.

    5. Tweak the colours to your liking , add a background with a reversed gradient behind, etc.

    Also.. thanks to Cameron Moll for starting the topic.

  9. Mike says:

    It would be nice to have this in a printable format PDF. I’ll print it out, punch holes, and pop it in to my homemade reference binder.

  10. [...] to Hugh Roper for these great tutorial on how to create starburst effects in Illustrator.
    Category: Vector 9:17 pm


  11. [...] ly the best thing to use is Illustrator — and for those of you who have Illustrator, this should be a snap — but if you only have Photoshop… what do you do? In the proc [...]

  12. Jason says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial!! For a while I thought it was gone because you switched to Textpattern, but now that you’re back to WordPress… phew. I’ve printed it out in case there are problems so that I’ll still have the tutorial.

  13. I’m really confused about step 4 and even the “simplified” version from Kris doesn’t make sense to me?!?! :-(

  14. Mike says:

    I *think* these steps don’t work correctly on CS2. Has anyone gotten it to?

  15. Angelo says: