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Subtracting Area to Expose Background

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I'm new to Affinity and I'm hoping y'all can help me with this. I've traced a sketch in AD which includes a lot of lettering. I'm running into a problem with letters that have empty spaces inside them (like R, A, O, etc. - letters that have an empty space entirely surrounded by the letter form).


I've created these letters with the pen tool by drawing the outside of the letter, then drawing the outline of the inner empty space, but this seems to create one shape on top of another, so that when I go to fill in the letter shape, I can't get the space in the middle to be completely empty, revealing the background behind the letter. I can only "empty out" one layer, as it were - I can make that inner space empty to reveal the fill color of the letter itself, which obviously isn't what I want. I guess what I'm looking for is a way to draw a shape and fill it in with a color, and then cut out part of that shape to reveal the background color behind it. 


Seems like there has to be an obvious way to do this that I'm missing, but I've been stuck on this for almost a day now. Thanks!

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Hi Imk,

Welcome to Affinity Forums :)

You can select both shapes, then go to Layer ▸ Geometry ▸ Combine, or simply click the Combine icon on the main toolbar on top, in the Operations section.


Another way to achieve the same thing is making sure the inner shape is above the main outline shape, then select both and press the Subtract icon on the Operations section, in the main toolbar. If you do this, while pressing and holding ⌥ (option/alt), a compound shape is generated instead, that is, rather than generating a single shape, you will be able to access the original shapes used to create the compound. To access them go to the Layers panel and click on the small arrow on the left in the compound layer. It should expand to reveal the original objects. Click on them to adjust/transform the objects individually. See attached screenshot.





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