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How to Cut and Crop in Affinity Designer
  • By Design Bundles
  • 14 Nov 2016
  • 10 Mins
  • Affinity Tutorials

How to Cut and Crop in Affinity Designer

Discover two methods for cutting and cropping images in Affinity Designer.

Today we are going to show you how to cut and crop in Affinity Designer. Cropping or cutting your image can greatly change the final look of your project. You can even crop your image to a specific shape and edit it non-destructively. So let’s jump in with this great tutorial on how to cut and crop your images.

Throughout this tutorial we will be using these Greece travel photos but we have a wonderful selection of travel and adventure photos to choose from.

Method 1 - Use the Cropping Tool

The Vector Cropping tool in Affinity Designer is far more flexible than your average cropping tool. On the left hand side click on the Vector Crop tool. A bounding box will automatically be added.

Select Crop tool in Affinity

Adjust Handles of Bounding Box

You will see side and corner handles. For this example we will click + drag in from the left side to the right.

Adjust Cropping tool in Affinity Designer

When you drag from the corner, it can adjust unevenly. While holding Shift, then clicking + dragging the corner handle you can constrain the crop.

If you hold Ctrl, then click + drag, it will drag all of the corners in or out together from the center point.

Adjusting all corners of crop tool

You will also notice that unlike usual cropping methods, the canvas doesn’t crop as well. When the Vector Crop tool is applied, you will see a layer appear beneath the image. As the Vector Crop tool is non-destructive, you can resize it without needing to use the Undo button.

The crop area can also be moved around. Just click + drag. When moving the crop, your cursor will change into directional arrows.

Vector Crop tool on own layer

You can even shift the image around inside the cropped area. Click once on the image to select it, you will see the cursor change into a small crop box. This indicates that the image can be moved. Now, click + drag it to reposition the image within the crop.

Shift image around inside cropped area

Unlock the Image Layer

What if you want to move the image with the crop around on the canvas? You first need to unlock the layer.

Under the Layers Panel, click once on the padlock icon to unlock the layer.

Once you have unlocked the layer, click on the Move Tool top left toolbar.

Be sure to click on the Background image layer to select it or you will only move the crop. You can now shift the image with the crop around and resize it.

Move image with crop and resize

Here the image was resized but it didn’t fill the canvas. We will fix that next.

Resize the cropped image Affinity

Edit the Crop After Adjusting Image

You can still edit the crop layer even when you have moved and resized the image. First, click once on the Rectangle crop layer then adjust the bounding box handles.

Adjust crop bounding box of image

If you want to adjust the image within the crop, you need to click back on the Vector Crop tool. Make sure to select the Background image layer. Check that your cursor has changed to a crop box then move the image.

Shift image within crop gif

You can then save your image by going to File > Export then in the Export window choose a format.

Save Vector Crop image in Affinity

Method 2 - Cut Using the Shape Tools

You can also “crop” using the Shape Tools. There are various shapes to choose from or you can create your own with the pen tool in Affinity Designer.

Select a Shape Tool

For this example, we used the Heart Tool. After opening our image, we clicked on the Shape Tools menu on the left side toolbar. We then selected the Heart Tool and clicked + dragged the shape out.

Drag out Heart shape in Affinity

Create a Clipping Mask

We now need to create a clipping mask to “cut” the shape out of the image. To do this, click on the Heart layer thumbnail, then drag down over the Background thumbnail. You will see a blue vertical line appear. Your screen should also show the image cut out in the heart shape.

Create clipping mask of heart

The Heart shape will be placed under the Background layer as a child layer. Click on the Heart shape layer to select, then you can move it around or resize.

Adjust heart shape crop in Affinity

Unlock the Background Layer

Go ahead and unlock the Background layer, select the Move Tool then move the layer and crop around. Be sure to select the Background layer in the Layers panel in order to move both. If not selected, you will only move the crop layer.

Move heart shape crop and image

To move the image in the crop after repositioning both, you need to click on the Vector Crop Tool. If you click on the Shapes Tool, you will only draw out more shapes.

Click on the Vector Crop Tool, select the Background layer, and place your cursor over the image. Check that the small crop box appears. If not, click once then you can click + drag your image inside the Heart shape.

Use Vector Crop tool on Heart Shape

As before you can export your completed design in any format. By experimenting with different photos and shapes, you can create some amazing results.

How to Crop and Cut in Affinity Designer

You have now learned how to cut and crop in Affinity Designer. You will be able to edit your images in a more controlled way with a professional result. We hope that this tutorial has been helpful in creating a more efficient workflow and expanding your creativity.

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