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Kathrin

Use of Pen, Pencil and Vector Brush

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Please dont think I am dumb, but this question I think seems for most of you a little bit foolish.

 

I dont know the reason, why there are different tools: Pen, Pencil and Vector brush.

In which scenario which of theese tools is the best?

 

I sketch all my lines and the most of my shapes with the Pen Tool. I use a Wacom Tablet with pressure sensitive function. I was never in a situation to use the Pencil Tool or the Vector brush.

The first time I use they for a try, I was disappointed how they work. I switched back to my Pen Tool I am more confident with.

 

I know the different kinds of work from this different tool, but I have no clue, why we need Pencil or Vector brush.

 

Can you bring me some light :blink: ?

 

Thanks a lot! :rolleyes:

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There are no foolish questions...


 


The Pen Tool gives you more control over your lines. You have to place each point individually and thus define the shape of each path with a great level of precision. You can assign pressure profiles, but you can't control them directly (the width) while you draw them. The result is pure vector paths.


 


The Pencil Tool gives you freedom. You don't place nodes individually. You draw the lines in their entirety. It leads to more expressive paths, like in hand-drawing. You can control their width with pressure sensitive tablets while you draw them. But, they are still simple lines (paths) with variation in width. The result is pure vector paths. It's great for inking or free-drawing where the expressiveness given by the width variation is important (cartoons; for example).


 


The Brush Tool is similar to the Pencil Tool regarding the freedom to control the tool while you draw. But, here you can attach a bitmap texture to create a multitude of organic/natural effects. The pressure (or other controller) define how those strokes will be drawn. The result is a bitmap based stroke. If you zoom in enough you will start to see the smoothing effect applied by AD to the pixels (to avoid pixelation). So it's wise to use high-res textures if you want to keep the detail of the texture used to create the brush. There's a multitude of uses for this, but the end goal is to get a more natural, less synthetic look. Since you can create you own brushes, it allows a more personalized/distinct result. It lets you develop a style if you will.


 


In all the three cases you can still change to the Node Tool to correct/adjust the nodes/paths created by those tools, which gives you more control than painting/drawing directly with pixels.


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Great question Kathrin and great answer. Let me ask some more details:

 

I am drawing a portrait of a dog right now with the vector brush tool using a Wacom tablet. I successfully created a brush that does a great job on the hair. I have drawn the outline of a big brown spot that has a fuzzy line due to the hair. I wanted to give that spot a brown base color. So I thought I just group these brush lines and set the fill color with the color tool. I could not figure out a way to do this however.

 

I can easily create a brown spot with a vague shape using the pen tool. The nodes I create with the pen tool will connect as a shape that has a body or surface to fill. The vector shape is really far from the hairy drawing I can do with the brush though.

 

Is this a difference between the tools? Can you please suggest a way to group my brush lines into a shape that I can fill?

 

Thanks

 

Mark

 

Thanks

 

Mark 

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Hello takacsmark,


Welcome to Affinity Forums,


Assuming your brush is truly vector (and not based on a bitmap texture), you will have to set the color of the stroke to brown and not the fill. Lines are just paths (they aren't closed shapes) so they don't have a fill area (this is not entirely true since you can still fill open-paths in Affinity Designer but that's another subject).


 


You can however convert these lines into shapes that is, Affinity will use the contour of the line to generate a shape that can be filled.


To do this select, a line (or bunch of lines) and go to Layer -> Expand Stroke. Now that your lines were converted to shapes you can fill them as any other ordinary shape.


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Thanks, 

 

Is there any special requirement for the brush lines? I tried Expand Stroke yesterday, but could not make it work. First I tried to expand the entire drawing, meaning all lines in a dogs face, this may be really complex. Then I tried to expand parts of it, but I got single lines when I clicked the drawing to select a shape. I did not have a shape. Do you have an idea what I am doing wrong? Thanks Mark

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Hi, thanks for your help, I figured in out. I used the expand tool that gives me a shape of my lines. I added a rectangle on top of this shape and used the divide tool. This way I got shapes of my lines plus additional shapes of for the area between the lines. This way I have everything I wanted.

 

Thanks 

 

Mark

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It depends on the effect that you like.

 

The pen tool is good for the outlines of your lovely dragons. It is precise and it is easy to control.

 

I want to be able to draw pictures, just like I draw with a real pencil. So I use the pencil and I sketch, I use it to make lots of light and dark marks on the paper, I do not want it to be precise. Then I use the brushes (I think the third brush, a solid brush is good for this) and reduce the opacity to about 15% or even less, to add colour. Again, I do not want to be precise. This is how I made the face in "Face Time" in "Share Your Work".

 

When I tried painting "Formby Sunset" I used lots of different brushes because I am learning, like you, how to use them. Again, I did not need to be precise all of the time.

 

But if I create a dragon, like you, I would use the pen and I would fill the shapes with colour, too.


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Hi, needing help on the vector brush. I can see above that it's meant to vary with pressure. However, I genuinely can't see a difference no matter how hard I press with it - I've tried acrylic, watercolour and inks and can't see a difference on either. I'm using a pressure sensitive Wacom tablet and the pressure is varied in other applications. What might I be doing wrong?

 Thanks :)

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5 hours ago, gemwelsh6 said:

Hi, needing help on the vector brush. I can see above that it's meant to vary with pressure. However, I genuinely can't see a difference no matter how hard I press with it - I've tried acrylic, watercolour and inks and can't see a difference on either. I'm using a pressure sensitive Wacom tablet and the pressure is varied in other applications. What might I be doing wrong.

To know what you might be doing wrong, a screenshot might help.

But for a first guess, have you set the Controller in the Context Toolbar to Pressure? 

image.png.0d93333eafc0a6fd4da7e468961fb5e9.png

If that's not it, what OS do you use? And what release of Affinity Designer do you have?

 

 


-- Walt

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