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How to Create Affinity Designer Brushes
  • By Design Bundles
  • 23 Jul 2021
  • 10 Mins
  • Affinity Tutorials

How to Create Affinity Designer Brushes

Learn how two make Affinity Designer brushes in 7 quick steps.

In this tutorial, you’ll be learning how you can make brushes in Affinity Designer based on your own designs and custom shapes.

Vector brushes in Affinity Designer are basically png files stretched along a path.

So the overall process involves the creation of a design, exporting it as a png file, and then bringing it back to Affinity Designer to use it as a brush.

Create the design for your brush

You can use virtually anything as a brush in Affinity Designer (vector, text, raster images, groups of objects, clipping paths, etc.), for this example we will be using a vector shape.

Step 1: Create your basic vector shape

Select the star shape tool.

Select star tool in Affinity Designer

Create a star, and fill it with any color you want.

Create a star in Affinity Designer

Step 2: Export your shape as a png

Enter the export persona on the top menu.

Enter export persona in Affinity Designer

Select your shape’s layer and click on the create slice button at the bottom of the slices panel.

Create slice in Affinity Designer

Your object should have a light blue box around it, indicating that you have created a slice that can be used for exporting.

Slice in Affinity Designer

Click on the slices tab, and expand the menu associated with your newly-created slice by clicking on the small arrow on its left side.

Slice export options in Affinity Designer

Use png as the file type and 1x as the size then, click the little white icon on the right side of the slice name. You will be prompted to choose a location to save and a name to export your slice.

Export location in Affinity Designer

Step 3: Create your new brush

In the brushes panel, click on the menu icon on the right side and select new textured image brush.

Note: Choosing new textured intensity brush will create a brush stroke based on the opacity values of a raster image. New textured image brush instead, will create a brush stroke based on the color values of a raster image. In other words, intensity brushes are used when you want to create a brush based on an image, and image brushes are used when you want to create a brush based on a shape.

New textured image brush in Affinity Designer

And, select your newly created png file.

Select png in Affinity Designer

Your brush should appear in the brushes panel.

New brush in Affinity Designer

Step 4: Test your brush

Use the vector brush tool (B) and select your new brush from the brushes panel.

Vector brush tool in Affinity Designer

You should be able to paint on the canvas with it. A vector path will be created following the brush stroke.

Use brush in Affinity Designer

You can edit this path with the nodetool (A).

Modify with node tool in Affinity Designer

Step 5: Adjust the brush and/or stroke

You can edit the properties of your brush by double-clicking or right-clicking it, to open the brush editor.

Edit brush in Affinity Designer

In the brush editor, you can alter the behavior of your brush. For example, brush width controls the size/thickness of the brush stroke. Size variance makes it so that your brush thins out to a point near the end of the stroke. Opacity variance makes your brush transition to transparency towards the end of the stroke.

Brush editing panel in Affinity Designer

For the body: stretch (default) will make it so that your png image stretches the length of your stroke. Instead, repeat will make it so that the png image is repeated multiple times along the stroke.

In the preview box at the bottom, the red lines on the sides represent the start and end points of the brush. If you move them inward only a portion of the brush will be used.

Change brush body in Affinity Designer

Step 6: Recolor your brush

Since you cannot change the color of a textured image brush (the color you export the png image in will be the color of brush strokes) you will have to use a workaround. To change the brush’s color, select the path you want to work with and add an adjustment layer by navigating to layer > new adjustment > recolor.

Recolor in Affinity Designer

Adjust the settings on the recolor panel.

Recolor settings in Affinity Designer

Step 7: Other ways of using your brush

You can also use the pen tool (P) to create a path and then select your brush to use it as the stroke.

Pen tool in Affinity Designer

If you want to make a basic, solid vector brush, choose new solid brush from the brushes panel preferences menu.

New solid brush in Affinity Designer

The new brush will appear in the brushes panel.

Solid brush in Affinity Designer

Now, you can open the brush editing panel and modify it to your liking.

Brush editing panel in Affinity Designer

Modify an existing brush

You can also customize the preset brushes but you need to keep in mind that some of them are third-party assets provided with the software and will have copyright restrictions if you plan on selling the resulting brushes. Check the license/terms provided to check what you can and cannot do with them.

To do so, in the brushes panel, select the preset brush you want to use and click on the edit brush button on the top right side, adjust the settings in the stroke section and do one of the following: Click duplicate to save the modified preset to a new custom preset, click close to save the custom settings to the current preset or click reset to return settings to those of the preset.

Next up, learn how to install and delete Affinity Designer brushes.

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