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How to Convert JPEG to SVG in Affinity Designer
  • By Nadine Spires
  • 10 Feb 2023
  • 13 Mins
  • Intermediate
  • Affinity Tutorials

How to Convert JPEG to SVG in Affinity Designer

Discover how to convert a JPEG to an SVG in Affinity Designer with our easy to follow guide

Unfortunately there isn’t a tracing option to convert a JPEG to SVG in Affinity Designer. You may want to trace a sketch, or create an SVG cut file for your Cricut or Silhouette cutting machine. In today’s tutorial, we will show you a method for doing this.

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You would need to manually trace with the Pen tool and then edit the nodes with the Node tool. This method does take more time to complete, but you edit the sketch or image exactly as you want.

We do have a quicker option where you can trace in Inkscape and then add a color fill to the traced image. You can then save the trace as an SVG and open it in Affinity Designer.

We are using Affinity Designer 2.1 during this tutorial but you should be able to follow if you are using a previous version.

Step 1 - Prepare the Design you Want to Trace

Before we can begin “tracing” the design, we need to prepare it first. Open the design in Affinity Designer by going to File > Open and then locating your design.

We are using a JPEG image file that contains a few different cupcake designs on it. You can use the Vector Crop tool to crop out the rest of the image and leave only the one cupcake.

Use the Vector Crop tool - Affinity Designer tutorial

Next, go to the Layers panel on the right-hand side of the screen. Right-click the layer and select Rasterize & Trim. You will be unable to edit the Vector Crop Tool afterwards as this is a destructive action.

Affinity Designer - Rasterize and Trim image

If you are working with an image that contains quite a bit of detail including shading, increase the Brightness and Contrast to make it easier to trace.

Use Brightness and Contrast when tracing in Affinity Designer

When working with the Pen tool, we want to be able to see where we are drawing. Just above the Layers panel, click on the drop-down menu for the Opacity and lower to 50%.

Affinity Designer tutorial - Adjust image opacity for tracing

Now we are ready to start tracing the design and convert the JPG to an SVG!

Step 2 - Draw with the Pen Tool

Click on the Pen tool on the left-side panel. Next, remove the fill and change the pen color. Do this by going to the top panel, on the left side corner of the screen.

Click on the Fill menu, then click on the No Fill circle with a red line through it. Next to this, click on the Stroke menu and select a color (we went with a red color).

Select No Fill option for Pen Tool - Affinity Designer free guide

With the Pen active, begin “drawing” the bottom of the cupcake. Click to place the first node, then click + drag to place the second node and curve the line. Carry on to add nodes around the bottom half of the cupcake until you come back to the first node.

If you add a node that creates a curved path instead of a straight line, click back on the last node to change it to a square, then carry on to add the next node.

Use Pen Tool - Affinity Designer convert JPEG to SVG

You can switch to the Node tool or Transform tool and edit the nodes if needed. Clicking on another tool will deselect the layer. If you click back on the Pen tool, a new layer will be created.

So, make sure you have created what you need on that layer before clicking on another tool. In this case, our bottom part of the cupcake is done.

We want to create a new vector layer. Click on any other tool such as the Move Tool, then click back on the Pen tool.

Alternatively, tap on the Esc button on your keyboard to deselect. Carry on to draw the top of the cupcake. You will see a new layer appear under the Layers panel.

Create second vector layer in Affinity Designer

Step 3 - Use the Boolean Operations

We want to create a cut file that can be used with your cutting machine. To do this we will need to use the Boolean Operations.

We want to cut out the top shape from the bottom shape. So, right-click the top layer for the top of the cupcake and select Duplicate. Now, click this duplicate layer, then hold Ctrl + click the bottom layer of the cupcake to select both.

Next, go to the top panel and click on the Subtract option.

Boolean Operations in Affinity Designer - Use Subtract

We separated the design elements that we just drew. As you can see, they will be perfect for a cut file.

Convert JPEG to SVG - Separate vector elements in Affinity Designer

Carry on to draw the elements of the design using the Pen and Node Tools. Use the Boolean Operations to create cut outs of each part. This is what our final result looks like after deleting the original image.

Vector design created from JPEG - Affinity Designer guide

Add color using the Color Picker tool or create your own color palettes. After adding some color, this is how the vector design appears. The next step is to save it as an SVG. Click on File then select Export.

Export converted JPEG to SVG in Affinity Designer

Step 4 - Export SVG in Affinity Designer

In the Export window, select SVG from the drop-down menu at the top. Leave the rest of the settings as is and click Export bottom right corner of the screen.

Select SVG export settings in Affinity Designer

Test out your file in another program or upload the SVG to Cricut Design Space. After uploading to Cricut Design Space, the file was detected as a cut file.

Once opened in Design Space, we ungrouped the design. Then, we selected parts of the design, like the white highlights of the eyes, grouped them and then clicked Attach at the bottom of the screen.

We did this for the elements we wanted to cut together such as the cheek spots, and the eyes. It's a good idea to attach the elements so they remain in place to make layering easier.

JPEG to SVG in Affinity Designer - Saved file tested in Cricut Design Space

Converting a raster layer like JPEG to an SVG using this method does take time but it is definitely worth the effort. You have full control over the digital image design process. Designers can turn their sketches into digital arts of work or create cartoon style drawings from photos!

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affinity designer tutorial how to convert jpeg to svg in affinity designer

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