How to Fill a Shape with an Image in Affinity Designer

When you put an image inside a shape in Affinity Designer, it’s like you’re the Emeril Lagasse of graphic design. He’s the chef who exclaims “Bam” whenever he adds spice to kick his dish up a notch. A shape filled with an image elevates your entire design. But how is it done in Affinity Designer?

Filling a shape with an image in Affinity Designer is a straightforward process that only takes a few steps. Read on to find out just how easy it is. 

Filling a Shape with an Image Takes Three Basic Steps

We’ve all seen slick print or web publications where, for example, a picture of the Eiffel Tower is in the shape of a heart. Sometimes you might even see block text filled with an image. Looks quite impressive, right?

Filling a shape with an image in Affinity Designer is a three-step process summed up in three words: Draw, Fill, Adjust. And you’ll join the club of graphic designers who know just how easy it is to create such an impressive feature for any product.

1. Create a Shape

To fill a shape, you’ve got to have a shape to fill. Open up Affinity Designer to create a new document. The blank workspace will be staring back at you, waiting to be designed.

Navigate to the toolbar on the left and find the Shape Selection tools. There are a few basic shapes shown, like circle and square. Click on the white arrow to open up additional shape options.

Choose the shape you want and draw it in the blank workspace.

Tip: Hold down the SHIFT key to make the shape perfectly proportioned.

2. Add an Image to the Shape

Once the shape is sized to your satisfaction, it’s time to make the magic happen and fill it with an image. Before you take the next few steps, it’s a good idea to know where the image file you want to use is saved. My Documents? My Photos? Knowing the file location will make the filling part much quicker.

  1. Click on the shape you just drew so that it is highlighted and you see outlined by a box with nodes.
  2. Find the Fill tool located on the toolbar on the left side of your workspace. It is a multi-colored circle with a dropper-looking thing piercing it.
  3. From the drop-down menu that appears at the top of the screen, choose Bitmap.
  4. Navigate to the image you want, select it, and click Open.

Tip: Only PNG and JPG file types can be used to fill an object in Affinity Designer.

Voila! Your shape is now filled with the image you wanted. 

3. Adjust the Image as Desired

Now that you’ve filled your shape with an image, you can tweak it to get the desired effect. Notice that the shape has several lines and nodes running across it. These are known as adjustment handles and can be used to manipulate the image within the shape.

The center node allows you to adjust the position of the image in all directions inside the shape. The object itself doesn’t move – just the image it’s filled with. For example, if your image has an obvious focal point, you can use the center node to move the picture up and down or side to side to position the focal point just right.

The two additional nodes are for scaling and rotating the image. Scaling makes the image larger or smaller within the shape. Rotating spins the image around within the shape. You can put the image upside down, sideways, or at an unusual angle.

Tip: Press the SHIFT key during scaling or rotating to limit movement to the vertical and horizontal axes. You can also prevent rotations from being more than 15° at a time.

How Do I Change the Fill in a Shape?

Don’t like the image you chose? You can easily change the image that fills your shape with a few clicks.

  1. Start by clicking on the filled shape that you want to alter.
  2. Click on Bitmap again under the Type menu. It looks like Bitmap is still the chosen option, but you actually have to select it again.
  3. Find the new image and click Open. The current fill in your shape will be replaced by this new image.

Final Thoughts

Bam! Just like Emeril, you’ve taken your design up a notch and given it style. Your shape is now filled with an image and all it took was three simple steps. Remember these words – draw, fill, adjust – to design unique graphic elements for your publication.