My Favorite Affinity Designer Blend Mode

My Favorite Affinity Designer Blend Mode

If you read this site you know I love the Affinity Products, specially Affinity Designer. Here I am going to talk about my favorite blend mode. I usually use it in Affinity Designer but this blend mode works on Affinity Photo and Affinity Publisher too.

So without further ado, I present to you: the erase mode.

What is it?

The erase mode does just that. It takes a layer or shape and it erases it from your document. "Why would I bother creating a layer if I'm just going to erase it?" you might ask. Well, because this way, you can change the shape of the layer or shape (remember, the magic of vectors) and create some cool effects.

There are other ways to erase a shape or a layer in other software (masks, subtract on the geometry menu...) but I think the erase blend mode is a better option.

Why? Let's take a look...

Working With Silhouettes

I started with a very simple document: a blue background and a yellow star.
Let's say you want to say that a dog is a super star (because dogs usually are). You have a png of your dog and you place it above your star. This looks great, your dog is super cute. However, people may only feel identified with this dog if it looks just like this one: brown, white and fluffy.

Using a silhouette instead can be extremely useful to REPRESENT an idea. So we used the erase blend mode on the png layer. Now we only have a silhouette! In this case this silhouette could represent any fluffy dog with floppy ears! Now that's great, but using the erase blend mode erased the background too. I only wanted to erase the shape from the star!
Fear not, just group the star and the dog in one layer and make sure the dog is on top of the star and the star is still in normal blend mode. Ta-da! problem solved. 

Want to change the dog? Go ahead. Uncheck the previous dog, add another png with the new dog and use the erase blend mode. Just make sure you stay in same layer group and the star. 

Now let's try some vector magic!

Here I made a very simple ice cream cone using three shapes: a triangle, an oval and a circle. I added some color and and grouped them.

But let's say I want to change that oval. It looks to ovally and I want to make it look more natural. 

Select the shape you want to change, convert it to curves and adjust using the node tool

Let's make it a double scoop!

Now that's a nice ice scream scoop. Mmmm. pistachio! What? you like chocolate? Ok, it IS chocolate then. It can be whatever you want! It's just a silhouette!

Now for a cool trick with text...

Write the text and copy it (Command or Control + J). Create an outside stroke for the bottom layer text. Go ahead, make it a little wide. Now take the top layer text and eliminate the fill but make the stroke thick enough that you can see it. Make the stroke on the top layer and inside stroke.

You can adjust the strokes as you want.

Now take that top text layer and erase it. Oops! It erased the background again. 

Do not panic. Remember you need to group the items you want the erase mode to affect. Now isn't this cool?

And for even more text awesomeness...

You can change the font. (Do it on both text layers of course)

You can even change the text! This is great for scaled designs!

What do you think?

I'd love to know what you think of using this blend mode. Have you used it already? Leave a comment below!

1 comment

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