Methods to Modify Live Paths


  • Global Moderator

    I couldn't find the older question I had asked before about ways to cut live stroke paths where they overlap other strokes without affecting the attributes of that stroke... @vectoradmin, you had mentioned there's no real way to solve that and that makes sense.
    I was watching a Youtube video yesterday about inking in Affinity and they had a couple interesting solutions for this dilemma. The first is queued up at the spot where he discusses the vector crop tool in Affinity Designer
    The way Affinity has it set up, it's not flexible. You can't rotate the crop shape or change it's overall shape - but I think this could be a solution to overlapping live strokes where you want to hide the overlap but maintain the width, taper and other attributes. I think it would be cool to have this feature and then have the lasso tool be available to custom clip the stroke...
    The other method he used in the same video, was going over to the pixel persona and using the pixel eraser to cover the stroke where it overlapped... this method I already knew about but it never really interested me because most of my work I require 100% vector. But I wondered if there was a way to incorporate this in a vector friendly manner? Even tied in to the first option, the vector crop, where once the live stroke is selected, you could create the mask over the section you didn't want showing, or have the option to use the edges to crop in like Affinity currently has?
    Ultimately, in the end, there would need to be a way to "bake in" the effect when the job is done so that upon exporting the vector, there was nothing but vector and it could be expanded and merged down to one final permanent state
    What are your thoughts?


  • administrators

    @Boldline Something like in the first video can be done with clipping groups.

    Just draw a brush or stroke with a width profile. Draw another (closed) shape for clipping and then in the Layers panel drag the brush object over (not before or after) the closed shape. This will place the brush (or stroke) inside the closed shape.
    All remains editable, and double clicking on the closed shape will allow selection of the brush.

    But there is an idea here that could be added in the (near) future: expanding clipping groups, by expanding all strokes, brushes and fills inside and intersecting them with the clipping shape of the group. This would also ungroup the clipping group, and the result would be pure vectors.


  • Global Moderator

    Awesome! - I had not yet tried the clipping mask in VS using the layers menu to achieve it. Dragging and dropping shapes over top in the layers menu to quickly add clipping masks. I know of it because it's one of the features Illustrator lacks and Affinity has excelled in. So glad it's in VS!

    I'm going to try this out and see how quickly I can make those edits on the fly as I am working. My immediate thought is that ideally, there would be a key command I could press while a stroke is selected (really anything that is selected) that would automatically put that stroke in a clipping mask for me and then still retain the ability to modify the mask like I can do in your example where I made a closed shape and could still modify nodes and such. I like what Affinity offers with their vector crop tool, but like I had mentioned, they don't allow you to treat it like an editable closed shape and I also do not think it necessarily needs a dedicated tool button - even in Affinity, it's a lot of work to just go click the tool each time I need it. Maybe a tool needs to exist somewhere, but I would totally maximize it as a keyboard shortcut, because I'd be using it frequently...

    Alternatively - what if this could be set up as an action? I haven't even looked to see if VS has actions and styles that can be set up lol. EDIT: It does! (I never should have doubted) I'm excited to try that out and see what I can automate

    On a related note, I've been giving a lot of thought to ways I could set up my workflow as scripts or actions that I can preset. For example for me personally, a script or action that selects all, expands strokes, divides, ungroups all, selects all taper guides and deletes them. This might be better suited in it;s own topic -but for the sake of the current one - even if the vector crop tool in affinity could be an action I set up, that would work for me.

    The other semi-related topic I wanted to mention as I was prompted by your second comment about "expanding clipping groups, by expanding all strokes, brushes and fills inside and intersecting them with the clipping shape of the group. This would also ungroup the clipping group, and the result would be pure vectors."
    This is an absolutely necessary feature for sure! When I tested out the method you first mentioned, about creating a clip using the layers with a closed shape and a stroke, i was unable to expand it and make it a fill and ultimately remove the clip entirely. I already kind of knew this was the result because you mentioned a future solution.... but I wanted to try it anyway.
    For everything I do in VS, I need maximum flexibility in creating and editing live effects and shapes and strokes and such (which it offers!) but then for final output, in any way possible, I need to be able to compress, compact and simplify the design down to a permanent final form for output to a file that I can open in any other vector app and not have issues. I hope that makes sense. Thanks!


  • administrators

    @Boldline Another way to place the stroke (or brush) inside a clipping shape is to select the stroke, then the shape (so both are selected) and then select Object -> Arrange -> Inside Last.

    The group expansion feature will solve a lot of these issues.


  • Global Moderator

    @vectoradmin Thank you for mentioning the object>arrange>inside last. I like that as well as the option next to it to basically remove an object from a clipping mask easily. I can see this being a great way to do more custom clipping. This made me think about using the pencil tool more to quickly create a selection i could use to clip inside using the object>arrange>inside last option you highlighted. A couple issues with that - the pencil tool seems to default to a black outline with no fill - even if you set it as transparent for both fill and stroke, or also when you purposely want it to be a fill no stroke.... yes I can change it after, but what keeps that from being an option to be set up initially? If I use this as a way to make custom clipping shapes, I could see myself wanting it either totally transparent, or starting out with a fill and no stroke. Yes I could use the pen tool for this - but one thing about the pencil tool that I love is how quick you can throw down a line or shape.

    I don't know how you feel about idea of improving upon Affinity's Vector crop - I think there is great value in the ability to automatically have a transparent and editable clipping box around the entire selected shape without having to always make a shape, convert it to outlines and then object>arrange>inside last. I can see a lot of uses for that automatic feature. Not trying to be bossy - just pushing where I feel I can haha! I was also thinking about it from another angle - is there value in an option to automatically create a rectangle around a selected shape or stroke anyway? if you went that way, achieving the automatic option for a clipping mask around a selected shape could be part of an action - first that - then the object>arrange>inside last

    I agree the group expansion feature will solve a lot of issues and be a great addition! thank you for that ahead of time! 🙂 I love what VS is becoming - all the things that can expedite working in vectors in other apps - you are considering and adding here. It's exciting to see


  • administrators

    @Boldline I think Affinity's Vector crop is too restrictive, with cropping into rectangular region only.

    I will think of some way of creating clipping groups around objects easier then the existing method. I think there is room for improvement here.

    For now, it is also possible to use the rectangle tool to draw the shape that is used for clipping.


  • Global Moderator

    @vectoradmin said in Methods to Modify Live Paths:

    I think Affinity's Vector crop is too restrictive, with cropping into rectangular region only.

    I totally agree! I never knew the Affinity one existed actually until yesterday when I saw that tutorial I referenced - and that was what sparked the idea of a solution for cropping live strokes with attributes. At the risk of sounding repetitive - I think you could turn that initial idea Serif came up with - with something far less restrictive and useful! thank you for letting me know it's on the long term goals


  • administrators

    @Boldline I'm open for suggestions of course, any feature idea that could improve vector workflow is welcome.
    I


  • Global Moderator

    @Boldline said in Methods to Modify Live Paths:

    the pencil tool seems to default to a black outline with no fill - even if you set it as transparent for both fill and stroke, or also when you purposely want it to be a fill no stroke.... yes I can change it after, but what keeps that from being an option to be set up initially?

    @vectoradmin this is something I discussed on this thread because it ties in with being a tool to create quick selections to clip into, but should it be it's own thread?
    Could we edit the pencil tool fill and stroke options prior to using it? so it does not default to just being a black stroke with no fill?


  • Global Moderator

    @vectoradmin said in Methods to Modify Live Paths:

    For now, it is also possible to use the rectangle tool to draw the shape that is used for clipping.

    nice1 just tried this - I like that you dont have to convert it to curves first to use it for this purpose


  • Global Moderator

    @vectoradmin said in Methods to Modify Live Paths:

    @Boldline I'm open for suggestions of course, any feature idea that could improve vector workflow is welcome.

    Thank you! I love that you respect us as VS users and design professionals and that you humbly consider all the ideas we throw at you. Like I had said before, it's really exciting to be able to think of ways to improve it - throw them at you and then see many of them appear in updated releases. Sometimes you mention specifically that an idea we contribute is a good one to add at some point now or later and that is helpful to know. I appreciate when you share an existing option already in the program. Sometimes it's hard to know if the new ideas we share are being considered when you just share the alternative method only. of course sometimes the alternative existing method you share solves the issue and the new idea is not required - other times we could be of the opinion that the existing method you share is good and helpful, but not enough to negate the need for considering an additional option be added. In those cases, it's hard to know if I should make another comment acknowledging your existing option and pushing still for the new one - or if that is not necessary. For example, I mentioned last week about seeing if a smooth tool option like in illustrator could be added at some point.... there was no reply to that specific point though there were a couple existing tools mentioned. so I'm not sure if my request for a specific tool function is still on the table as an option, or not lol. I don't want to be rude by pushing it if you already saw it and are considering it.
    Really it's just working within the limitations of typing into a forum without getting immediate feedback right away from any other participant. Respectfully, what is the most effective way to be sure you are considering the ideas without pestering?


  • administrators

    @Boldline I think the "Object -> Expand Clipped Groups" solves most of the above request.