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Subtract tool not working as it should


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Hi,

I'm using Affinity Designer and have 2 closed shapes, one on top of the other. I select both, and click the Subtract button, and the top most shape seems to become combined with the bottom shape (same path color and fill). What I want to happen is for the top most shape to be knocked out of the bottom shape. This is how Illustrator behaves.

What am I doing wrong?

Thanks for your help!
Colin

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‘Subtract’ and ‘Combine’ both work as expected here. If you want to retain the smaller shape, you need to copy it before subtracting/combining. Alternatively, use the ‘Divide’ command and then subtract the smaller grey shape from the larger one.

Alfred spacer.png
Affinity Designer/Photo/Publisher for Windows 1.10 • Windows 10 Home/Pro
Affinity Photo for iPad 1.10 • Designer for iPad 1.10 • iPadOS 15.6.1 (iPad Air 2)

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Hi CPritchard,
You have to set the Fill mode to Alternate (go to menu Layer ▸ Fill Mode ▸ Alternate after performing the boolean operation or alternatively set the bottom shape Fill layer mode to Alternate before performing the boolean operation).

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I don't want to retain the top smaller shape. I want it to be cutout or knocked out of the bottom shape. This is not happening when I click on Subtract.

Enclosed is what I see after I hit Subtract. 

Shouldn't the smaller shape be white, as in is now knocked out of the bottom shape?

If not, and this is how it is supposed to work, then how in the world do I get the top shape to be knocked out of the bottom shape??

Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 6.47.55 AM.png

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  • 9 months later...
On 6/8/2018 at 5:49 AM, MEB said:

Hi CPritchard,
You have to set the Fill mode to Alternate (go to menu Layer ▸ Fill Mode ▸ Alternate after performing the boolean operation or alternatively set the bottom shape Fill layer mode to Alternate before performing the boolean operation).

THIS!

I have fought this same thing in the past and was always baffled. The fill mode is now the instant fix when this pops up.

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  • 5 months later...
1 hour ago, scdbs said:

Im having this same issue only the "Alternate Fill" isnt working. Im trying to cut the paisley and dots out of the guitar.

Vertex inside vertex and separate vertex, that's the reason.

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I believe the problem you are having is that the body of the guitar is made up of a combined 16 pieces.  AD doesn't know which pieces you want to subtract from.  Also what is being subtracted, the white layer, is a combined 7 objects.  Usually we can just select a layer that is a type Curves and use the Divide tool to separate them, for some reason the combination of the dots, bar and paisley that divide doesn't like.  Okay it's the bottom right dot.  Something about that dot is causing a problem with divide and subtract.  

So I copied the combined (white) layer and from the copy deleted the bottom right dot.  Then from the original I deleted all but the bottom right dot. 

Then I used divide on the black layer. 

Then I selected the black neck layer and the two white layers and did the subtract.  Everything worked.

iMac (27-inch, Late 2009) with macOS Sierra

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  • 2 months later...
  • 6 months later...
On 6/8/2018 at 1:49 PM, MEB said:

Hi CPritchard,
You have to set the Fill mode to Alternate (go to menu Layer ▸ Fill Mode ▸ Alternate after performing the boolean operation or alternatively set the bottom shape Fill layer mode to Alternate before performing the boolean operation).

This is hidden so far you have to have read this thread in order to know this feature exists. (there is a usability hint hidden in this statement)

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  • 2 months later...

Hi guys! 

I bumped into the same problem. I wanted to cut out these small elements from the flower shape to make a ragged outline (subtract1). I tried selecting all elements and clicked subtract. Subtract0 shows the result. Changing this Fill mode thing does not solve anything. Using Divide seems okay, but still you need to delete the items you wanted to cut out. (I know, I can select them at once in the layers panel, but it's still one more step.)  

In Illustrator I select all objects and click "Minus front" (=subtract), so the whole operation is just one click. I hope, these kinds of features get better in time. Now I could solve the problem, but it's really time consuming to search for solutions - and it's probably the most frustrating factor. 

Of course, I'll be here waiting for developments. These Affinity software already have some lovely features! 

subtract0.png

subtract1.png

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@Groovecrafter Go a slightly different route, once all the “nibble" curves are selected go to Layer > Geometry > Merge Curves once they are merged then subtract them from the main object.

You can also set a keyboard shortcut in preferences for Merge curves to streamline the process.

You might also want to make sure all curves are closed prior to subtracting.

iMac 27" Late 2019 Fully Loaded and running Monterey 12.6.1, iMac 27" Late 2013 running Catalina 10.15.7 - Affinity Designer, Photo & Publisher V1 & V2, Adobe, Inkscape, Blender, C4D, Sketchup + more... XP-Pen Artist-22E, - iPad Pro 12.9 B|  

Affinity Help - Affinity Desktop Tutorials - Feedback - FAQ - most asked questions

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1 hour ago, firstdefence said:

@Groovecrafter Go a slightly different route, once all the “nibble" curves are selected go to Layer > Geometry > Merge Curves once they are merged then subtract them from the main object.

You can also set a keyboard shortcut in preferences for Merge curves to streamline the process.

You might also want to make sure all curves are closed prior to subtracting.

It works, I like it! 

Thanks for the tip, I appreciate it! 😍😍😍

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38 minutes ago, Groovecrafter said:

It works, I like it! 

Thanks for the tip, I appreciate it! 😍😍😍

You’re  welcome.

iMac 27" Late 2019 Fully Loaded and running Monterey 12.6.1, iMac 27" Late 2013 running Catalina 10.15.7 - Affinity Designer, Photo & Publisher V1 & V2, Adobe, Inkscape, Blender, C4D, Sketchup + more... XP-Pen Artist-22E, - iPad Pro 12.9 B|  

Affinity Help - Affinity Desktop Tutorials - Feedback - FAQ - most asked questions

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  • 3 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/8/2018 at 1:46 PM, Alfred said:

‘Subtract’ and ‘Combine’ both work as expected here. If you want to retain the smaller shape, you need to copy it before subtracting/combining. Alternatively, use the ‘Divide’ command and then subtract the smaller grey shape from the larger one.

Like this. ✔️

Anleitung Substract.png

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  • 1 year later...
  • 6 months later...

Good morning, so I am trying to subtract pencil markings to a shape and it is not working. I am unsure what I have to do to get it to work. I am also using an iPad Pro and fairly new to this app so a step-by-step would be much appreciated. I will also attached the file if needed.

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2 hours ago, CArrellin said:

Good morning, so I am trying to subtract pencil markings to a shape and it is not working. ...

Good morning and welcome to the forums.

I am going to assume that you are using the Pencil tool in Designer. Most likely you'll have to expand the stroke on the pencil markings before using the Subtract function.  If you are not using the Pencil tool in Designer then we will need more information, is this a scan with actual pencil marks on a scan of an object?

Mac Pro (Late 2013) Mac OS 11.7.1 
Affinity Designer 2.0.3 | Affinity Photo 2.0.3 | Affinity Publisher 2.0.3 | Beta versions as they appear.

I have never mastered color management, period, so I cannot help with that.

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@Old Bruce Yes that is correct, I am using designer. After posting my question I figured it out by “merging curves,” I got the result I was looking for. However, I am designing svgs for the purpose of circut or silhouette, would you recommend that I make it a shape and cut from the base or leave it as pencil markings?

Green face.pdf

Edited by CArrellin
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