Deke’s Techniques 81: The Octagonal Rings of the Underworld

Last week, as if to demonstrate what you can do—even at the last minute—by way of a video tutorial, I dropped everything I was doing and recorded a Deke’s Techniques in which I showed you how to create the interlocking Olympic rings in my dearly beloved Adobe Illustrator. They used to look like this:

The double-stroked Olympic rings, in Illustrator

A few days later, my movie vanished. The Olympic rings—the very ones you see above this paragraph—are in fact trademarked. Fair enough. But Fair Use clearly states that I can show you how to create them because they represent a universal (not to mention, inspirational) cultural touch point and they make for an interesting project: The blue ring is at once above the yellow one and at the same time behind it. How is such a thing possible in a constrained environment such as Illustrator’s, in which one path is either forward or in back of another?

Do you understand? I’m not telling you to rip off a corporate logo and make it your own; I am teaching you how to make cool stuff based on something you know and love.

But there is the chance that the holder of this particular trademark might take offense at my use of its property for educational purposes. Which is why my original video went up one day and came down soon thereafter.

No worries. My techniques aren’t about specific files or artwork; they’re about the larger techniques themselves, which you can apply to anything you like.As if to prove my point, mysteriously, a few days later still, I learned of another event: The Hadic, also known as the International Sporting Events of the Underworld. Down, down, way down under. There they don’t believe in circular rings. Theirs are octagonal. Plus everything is inverted and upside-down.

The final logo (which The Hadic Committee gave me indefinite permission to use) looks like this:

My five interlocking octagons in Adobe Illustrator

And then they showed me something else: They told me, were you to open this Illustrator file in Photoshop, flip it upside-down, and apply an Invert adjustment layer clipped inside the octagons, you’d get this:

The flipped and inverted octagons of the underworld

It’s as if one world were the opposite of the other. Isn’t that weird? But, you know, I’m just imagining to myself. Complete with video and graphics.

Next entry:Deke’s Techniques 83: Creating a Screen Print Effect in Photoshop

Previous entry:Deke’s Techniques: The Illustrator Challenge Officially Begins


  • Technique?

    Hi Deke,

    I have really enjoyed the One on One series and your weekly Deke’s Techniques.  I’m looking forward to the rest!

    Out of interest one of the features added/enhanced in Photoshop CS6 was the video editing capability.  I imagine it may be covered in a future part of the One on One series, but do you plan to explore this in any of your future Deke’s Techniques?


    Keep up the great work!


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