Affinity Photo is a top contender for industry staple Photoshop. Both can be used on PC, macOS, and iPad, but while Photoshop requires a monthly or annual subscription, Affinity Photo is a one-time fee of either $21.99 or $54.99. With such a contender, it prompts further investigation into the features of the application and if they compare to others on the market.
Affinity Photo does not have a shape builder tool. You can still build shapes in Affinity Photo using the geometry operations.
While having a shape-building tool is an asset that can make building shapes faster and easier, there are workarounds with Affinity Photo if you want to learn how to do it in this program. Keep reading for the breakdown of how to build shapes in Affinity Photo.
The geometry tools within Affinity Photo will allow you to do anything you can do with the shape builder tool in other programs. It just takes a bit more time to learn and understand. Some designers may like using the geometry tools more than the shape builder tool in programs like Illustrator.
The geometry tools, also known as Boolean operations, are found on the top right-hand side of Affinity Photo. There are five blue icons, each with a different function.
- Add Boolean Operation
- Subtract Boolean Operation
- Intersect Boolean Operation
- Xor Boolean Operation
- Divide Boolean Operation
Let’s take a deep look into each function and what it does in reference to shape building. For ready-made templates that involve learning new operations, you can use sites like placeit.net for your design needs.
1. Add Boolean Operation
The first icon from the left is the Add Boolean operation. It appears as a circle and square overlapping with a plus symbol. The icon is self-explanatory; the function combines selected overlapping objects.
If you have two side-by-side squares overlapping, and you select them both and click on the Add Boolean operation, the function will erase the overlapping lines to make one shape, which will look more like a rectangle now.
If the squares were two different colors, the new shape might take on only one of those colors. You can use the Color Picker tool to change this if you desire.
2. Subtract Boolean Operation
To the right of the Add Boolean operation is the icon for the Subtract Boolean operation. It appears as a blue square and grey circle with a minus symbol overlapping.
Suppose you have a selected square and circle overlapping in a similar fashion to the icon and select the Subtract Boolean operation. In that case, the bottom object, the circle, will be removed from the top object, even the overlapping portion.
3. Intersect Boolean Operation
Beside the Subtract Boolean operation, you will find the Intersect Boolean operation. It appears just like the other icons with a square and circle overlapping; only the square and circle are grey apart from the overlapping portion, which is in blue. The difference is to indicate that the blue portion is what will be kept when using this function.
If you have two selected shapes overlapping and click the Intersect Boolean operation, it will eliminate everything except the overlapping section of the two shapes.
4. Xor Boolean Operation
The second to last icon is the Xor Boolean operation. It appears as a square and circle overlapping. The square and circle are blue, aside from the overlapping portion, which is grey. This function acts in the opposite way of the Intersect Boolean operation.
If you have two selected shapes overlapping and you click the Xor Boolean operation, the portion that gets eliminated is the overlapping section. Everything else remains, and the new shape takes on a single color if the previous shapes were two different colors.
5. Divide Boolean Operation
The last icon is the Divide Boolean operation which appears as a fully blue square and circle overlapping. When you use this function on two overlapping shapes, they will divide into three distinct shapes. You will have the top shape minus the overlapping section, the overlapping section on its own, and the bottom shop minus the overlapping section.
The overlapping section, now its own shape, will take on the color of the bottom object. If you navigate to the Layers Panel, you will see that each shape is on its own layer.
You can use the Boolean operations in various ways, including non-destructively, editing one or multiple operations, moving compound shapes, and so on. Experimenting will allow you to build incredibly unique shapes.