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Using the Revolve Paths

These "solar systems" can be used in so many ways. The series example uses the framework to show lack of synchronization and planning. They can also be used to show order, hierarchy (distance from central object), multiple activities, coordination, and so many more.

The paths are drawn in two fields so that the central object can be layered on top of the back part of the path and they can be animated. You can add "planets" to the paths to represent activities, events, or ...

Notice that the paths have been drawn so that the central object can be labeled in most cases. It's important to be able to identify the pieces of these frameworks so that your concepts work.

Customizing the Paths


The paths have been drawn in two fields: a front field and a back field. Be sure to group the two fields before resizing a path or group the whole solar system before resizing. Then ungroup and proceed with other formatting. If you group only one path and resize, then you'll need to reestablish the layering. The back of the path goes behind the center object and the front of the path goes on top of the center object.


Select color from your document’s color palette or a complimentary color so that the paths reflect the color scheme of the rest of your document. There is no need to use a border or outline.

If you wish to emphasize that the paths are not an object, apply a neutral color and make the paths semitransparent. This is a good practice to use if you are placing objects on the paths that "orbit" around the central object.

3D variations

The paths are already drawn in 3D, so don't apply any 3D or bevel effects.


Shadows tend to obscure the concept. Refrain from using shadows. This concept works best when the framework looks suspended in "space," and shadows tend to put the framework close to the "ground."

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

Pictures can't really be placed in the paths, but you can import photographs into the central circle.

Gradients applied to the paths tend to give more depth and dimension to the paths. The series examples used gradients for all of the paths. Here is how it was done.

  • Select both path fields
  • Apply a vertical gradient to both at the same time in the fill effects menu
  • Select only the front path and lighten the gradient as shown below

The effect is very realistic. If you have diagonally oriented paths, be sure to apply the correct diagonal gradient.


If you reveal paths one by one, you'll need to animate the path fields without grouping them. The layering will be destroyed if you group the paths. Simple reveals are best.

If you are using objects that orbit around the central object, it is going to be difficult to keep the perspective. Ideally the orbiting object should be smaller as it travels the part of the path behind the central object. This is extremely difficult to do. It's probably best to stay with the simple animations.

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