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I've been a customer of Affinity for a while now, but I still don't fully understand refinement for pixel selections. I was viewing different help videos and the section in the index topic that talks about it, but as far as I am aware, there is no discussion on pixel selections on vector line work. Seeing how there is the feature on the roadmap to convert pixel selections to vector objects (which I assume will be for a coloring technique), I figured it would be helpful for all of us to understand in advance how refinement works and how to get the selection down to the very last pixel. How would that be accomplished?

 

599ca50e2cec0_ScreenShot2017-08-22at5_30_22PM.png.5dbf38a69e60cc6b91f84c4965f5ea6e.png

 

For this simple drawing, I tried something different. While I didn't use refinement, I colored the vector line work in with pixel selections. Both the line art and color are vector objects. I used masks to place colored shapes inside the pixel boundaries made from the line work. However, you can that the edges are far from perfect.

 

If the above information confuses you, here is an example of what I'm talking about. Baby Gator.mov The only reason I keep switching from Designer to Photo is because the Flood Selection Tool in Photo is more direct. And that is why I duplicated and rasterized the Line Art layer. So I could use the tool (it doesn't feature 'All Layers like the Selection Brush Tool).

 

So my question is how to get precise pixel selections on vector line work?

 

 


The website is still a work in progress. The "Comics" and "Shop" sections are not yet ready. Feel free to connect with me and let me know what you like or what can be improved. You can contact me here, on my contact page, YouTube channel, or Twitter account. Thanks and have a great day!

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Why would you use pixel selections at all for colouring a vector drawing, Brian? In your example, you have a closed green shape with white and brown shapes (also closed) on top of it, plus a few black strokes for added detail. The closed vector shapes are all easy to fill without making any pixel selections.

 


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5 minutes ago, Alfred said:

Why would you use pixel selections at all for colouring a vector drawing, Brian? 

 

Mostly to save time. Even though the selections are pixel based, they work similar to vector flood fills if masks are applied. However, that example was merely to demonstrate what to expect from the future update (convert pixel selections into vector objects). Even when that comes around, there will still be unwanted gaps. That is why I am curious to know the best refinement option to work around the gaps.


The website is still a work in progress. The "Comics" and "Shop" sections are not yet ready. Feel free to connect with me and let me know what you like or what can be improved. You can contact me here, on my contact page, YouTube channel, or Twitter account. Thanks and have a great day!

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I think what Alfred is asking is why bother with pixel-based fills or masks at all when you can fill your vector shapes with solid colors or gradients if your goal is to get colors that perfectly fill your vector shapes with no gaps? Below is a rough example I made using your gator screenshot as a tracing template.

599d49bf69d0b_vectorgator.png.bd92e0dcec40e85d111999c7249209af.png

It is not intended to be an exact match -- I had to guess about how many vector shapes you actually used & how many black strokes you used for details, & I was not super careful about trying to match the gradients, but it is 100% gapless & would remain so if scaled up or down, or viewed at any zoom level.

 

If you want, I can upload the .afdesign file to a post, but since it is your design I won't do that without your permission.


Affinity Photo 1.6.7 & Affinity Designer 1.6.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
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11 minutes ago, R C-R said:

I think what Alfred is asking is why bother with pixel-based fills or masks at all when you can fill your vector shapes with solid colors or gradients if your goal is to get colors that perfectly fill your vector shapes with no gaps?

 

You've hit the proverbial nail squarely on its proverbial little head.

 

11 minutes ago, R C-R said:

It is not intended to be an exact match

 

Apart from the solid (instead of linear or radial gradient) brown fill for the eyes, it looks pretty good to me!

 


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Affinity Designer 1.6.5.123 • Affinity Photo 1.6.5.123 • Windows 10 Home (4th gen Core i3 CPU)
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Hi Bri-Toon,

I believe you want to shade vector art with raster brushes. If that's the case you don't need to create any pixel selection for this since you can use the vector shapes as clipping layers, restricting the painted area to inside those shapes. So in the case of the crocodile's body for example, create a new pixel layer, then drag it over the crocodile's body shape layer in the Layers panel. Then pick a raster brush (Pixel Persona) and paint on that pixel layer. As you can see the painted area will be restricted to the crocodile's body.

 

I've attached a sample file with a single shape to show you the process. I've added a stroke to the shape so you can see it better (since i've left some areas untouched/not shaded) but you can remove it for cases where you don't want it visible.

raster_shading.afdesign

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5 minutes ago, Alfred said:

Apart from the solid (instead of linear or radial gradient) brown fill for the eyes, it looks pretty good to me!

Thanks, but if you compare the green gradient on the body & leg parts, it isn't as close a match as it could be. I also drew each of the legs as single, open shapes so the detail lines at the creases of the two nearer ones are not as clean & sharp as in the screenshot. That is most obvious in the back leg.

 

As an aside, I actually like the style effect created by the gaps more than the gapless version. It looks more hand drawn, & with a little more sloppiness I think the effect would be even better.


Affinity Photo 1.6.7 & Affinity Designer 1.6.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
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The other big advantage of vector fills is noise.  Surely the ease of applying a vector fill, applying a gradient and noise makes it much faster and you can edit it later, rather than having to recreate.

 

noise.jpg.07d95ba3126af9b1f5698e4daa485362.jpg

And as MEB says, you can use the shapes as clipping layers.


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It seems other people have answered your question with regards to vectors.  So this is just for info really, if it were all pixel based (I.E. You just had pixel line work and wanted to create a new colour layer from it), after using the Flood Select tool you can go to Select > Grow/Shrink Selection and increase the selection by a couple of pixels.  That way as long as your colour layers are below the line work layer, when you fill the selection with a flat colour, the edges will be underneath the line work and therefore you won't see the white gaps.  Once the flat colour is applied, then clip a new layer to it and whatever you do to it will stay within the constraints of that layer.

001.thumb.png.46a954299dcd837a8fcaa8aa172be1f6.png

002.thumb.png.0df76fb36b0bfb60362681cd1320203d.png

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@MEB and @toltec

Thank you for everyone's responses, but I think that there might be some confusion in why I am choosing to use use pixel selections. When I first started drawing in Designer, I drew closed shapes so I could apply color, and I even used clipping as MEB and Toltec mentioned. Over time, I changed my style. I started drawing more freely (open shapes), but the color of course would have to be closed. So I now draw the line art in one layer, and I make the color in the layer under it (still vector). The reason I use pixel selections now for coloring is because I find it faster than using the Pen Tool and two other functions I know of. Just as I would normally use the Pen Tool to create a border around the line art, the flood selection will create a border immediately; of course, more as a window. However, the color that is being placed in the selection is still vector; not raster. So whether I want to create clipping or noise, I would still be able to. Additionally, since the colored shape is in a mask, then after making adjustments to the line art, I will not have to make adjustments to the color layer as well since there is more space on the colored layer. If I want to edit my drawing at all, then I can adjust the line art or color without having to edit the other.

 

Does this make more sense?

 

2 hours ago, R C-R said:

If you want, I can upload the .afdesign file to a post, but since it is your design I won't do that without your permission.

 

Sure, I don't mind, but thanks for asking.

 

25 minutes ago, Sima said:

It seems other people have answered your question with regards to vectors.  So just for info really, if it were all pixel based (I.E. You just had pixel line work and wanted to create a new colour layer from it), after using the Flood Select tool you can go to Select > Grow/Shrink Selection and increase the selection by a couple of pixels.  That way as long as your colour layers are below the line work layer, when you fill the selection with a flat colour, the edges will be underneath the line work and therefore you won't see the white gaps.  Once the flat colour is applied, then clip a new layer to it and whatever you do to it will stay within the constraints of that layer.

 

This is exactly what I was talking about! Thank you so much!

 

 


The website is still a work in progress. The "Comics" and "Shop" sections are not yet ready. Feel free to connect with me and let me know what you like or what can be improved. You can contact me here, on my contact page, YouTube channel, or Twitter account. Thanks and have a great day!

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14 minutes ago, Bri-Toon said:

I started drawing more freely (open shapes), but the color of course would have to be closed.

That is not necessarily true. Since it is OK with you, check out my attached vectored gator.afdesign file. Note that all four leg shapes are open, as are the two curves above the eyes. Nothing is masked, so there is no need to spend any time making mask layers, & the only thing clipped are the brown parts of the eyes. Everything else is done with layer stacking & applying gradients using the Fill tool on multiple selected objects in one operation for consistency.

 

I am still trying to figure out exactly what you mean by using pixel selections for color, how this is faster, what a border "more as a window" means, or why "more space on the colored layer" means you won't have to adjust them if you make adjustments to the line art. If you don't mind, maybe uploading a sample .afdesign file of the gator (or whatever) using your method would help me with that.


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Quote

That is not necessarily true. Since it is OK with you, check out my attached vectored gator.afdesign file. Note that all four leg shapes are open, as are the two curves above the eyes. Nothing is masked, so there is no need to spend any time making mask layers, & the only thing clipped are the brown parts of the eyes. Everything else is done with layer stacking & applying gradients using the Fill tool on multiple selected objects in one operation for consistency.

 

I see, and that's not a bad technique. Thanks for sharing. I may try this for myself, but the only trouble that I personally have with this is that I don't always use a rough sketch to start with, so it can be very difficult knowing what to connect in advance. Each toe in my version was a separate object, and in a much more complex example, it can get confusing knowing what to close and what not to close.

 

Coming from drawing more freely, this is more of what I am use to (you don't have to watch the whole thing). Up until the part he expands the lines, this is what I do.

 

58 minutes ago, R C-R said:

I am still trying to figure out exactly what you mean by using pixel selections for color, how this is faster, what a border "more as a window" means, or why "more space on the colored layer" means you won't have to adjust them if you make adjustments to the line art. If you don't mind, maybe uploading a sample .afdesign file of the gator (or whatever) using your method would help me with that.

 

Professor Hauntedly.afdesign

 

Here is an example. I could've done things like the hat and jacket separately, but I created a mask for only each color.

 

However, I did make a mistake with this quote.

 

Quote

Additionally, since the colored shape is in a mask, then after making adjustments to the line art, I will not have to make adjustments to the color layer as well since there is more space on the colored layer. If I want to edit my drawing at all, then I can adjust the line art or color without having to edit the other.

 

I said you could edit the line art without having to change the color object. That is not true. Place your cursor on the line art, and manipulate it. In the color layer, it will almost look as if I traced around the line art to make the color, because the mask is same shape as the closed regions of the line art. Now select the color object, and move it around. You will see that it is just a square object made to look like it is the same shape. So by window, I just mean looking through closed regions to see another room of objects. Kind of like how you can take the Circle Tool and use the Crop Tool on it. Creating such a small cropping region will make the circle look like a square, but you are actually looking through a square window at a circle in another room.

 

So my mistake was thinking that the mask would have the same effect as clipping. With clipping, you can edit the line and still not see any gaps (depending on how large the nested object is).


The website is still a work in progress. The "Comics" and "Shop" sections are not yet ready. Feel free to connect with me and let me know what you like or what can be improved. You can contact me here, on my contact page, YouTube channel, or Twitter account. Thanks and have a great day!

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47 minutes ago, Bri-Toon said:

Each toe in my version was a separate object, and in a much more complex example, it can get confusing knowing what to close and what not to close.

 

You are never obliged to close a filled curve: if you don't, the fill will have a straight edge where the curve is left open. Apologies if I've misunderstood and you already know this.

 

47 minutes ago, Bri-Toon said:

So my mistake was thinking that the mask would have the same effect as clipping. With clipping, you can edit the line and still not see any gaps (depending on how large the nested object is).

 

If you crop or mask a layer, the cropping/masking object becomes invisible; with clipping, the 'clipview' object remains visible outside of the space occupied by the target object(s). Again, apologies if I've misunderstood and you already know this.

 


Alfred online2long.gif
Affinity Designer 1.6.5.123 • Affinity Photo 1.6.5.123 • Windows 10 Home (4th gen Core i3 CPU)
Affinity Photo for iPad 1.6.12.86 • Affinity Designer for iPad 1.6.4.45 • iOS 12.2 (iPad Air 2)

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17 minutes ago, Alfred said:

You are never obliged to close a filled curve: if you don't, the fill will have a straight edge where the curve is left open. Apologies if I've misunderstood and you already know this.

 

I'm afraid I did, but I may have used the wrong words. I was saying it can be hard to decipher the right vector method when creating a complex drawing from scratch and not use a reference image (not that I would call these complex). With open filled curves, maybe not as much. With the drawing already provided, it gives users the ability to trace over it and have a better understanding on how to approach the vector methods from an already existing art.

 

Quote

If you crop or mask a layer, the cropping/masking object becomes invisible; with clipping, the 'clipview' object remains visible outside of the space occupied by the target object(s). Again, apologies if I've misunderstood and you already know this.

 

Yes, but there are two different types of masks. Cropping masks have a slightly different effect than pixel masks, and that is where I went wrong. Clipping could not be done with what I was attempting since it only works for individual objects, but with masks, you can mask out of any region at all. And so, the mistake I made is that I thought masking a pixel selection would crop it and just set everything behind.

 

If you place a drawing to the right of a custom shape in the Layers panel, then you create a cropping mask of that shape (which I know you already know). Furthermore, if you enlarge or manipulate the shape, you can see more of the drawing. However, if you made the mask out of a pixel selection, then I would not get enlarge or manipulate the region.


The website is still a work in progress. The "Comics" and "Shop" sections are not yet ready. Feel free to connect with me and let me know what you like or what can be improved. You can contact me here, on my contact page, YouTube channel, or Twitter account. Thanks and have a great day!

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19 hours ago, toltec said:

The other big advantage of vector fills is noise.  

This effect also now in latest beta exports to PDF right, having vector edge and pixel fill, not anymore all rasterized.

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