This kind of noise texture is very much in trend from material design to modern vector illustrations. Some call it grain texture, some call noise brush and some call it "salt and pepper" technique. Still for the record, here is an example. https://www.behance.net/gallery/55599139/Tornado-Chasers https://www.behance.net/gallery/66265897/Mark-Boardman-Carrefour

[The illustrations may not be vector illustrations but you got the idea.]

What it actually does is create a gradient of noise or spots and blotches to shape up the colour-values more definitively. This is pretty easy to do in Photoshop and Illustrator I believe. But for Affinity Designer, the options are scarce. And none of them quite yields the desired effect.

  1. Paint the layer in Pixel persona with a grain brush.

    Now either I couldn't use it well or something else is wrong but the pixel brushes give me very pixelated brush-marks (I tried both default and paid brushes).

  2. The other option is to duplicate the layer, fill it with noise from color tab and then use the transparency tool to control the opacity.

    This doesn't work very well because the noise is computer generated and it lacks the artistic impression that we see in wild (any modern flat illustration which uses the effect)

Is there any way I can make it work to look like the examples (painterly noise texture)?

2 Answers 2


Affinity D. has noise option for coloring vector shapes, as you already know. That noise hasn't other parameters than depth. Obviously somewhere under the hood sits a generated or fast to regenerate full page noise pattern which is taken to renderings in the fly. It cannot be different for separate objects because that would make everything slow. This, of course is only guessing, but it explains the non-editability and why the noise pattern do not move when one moves a noisy shape.

To get different noises to Affinity D. you must take them from pixel persona side or more preferably from other place which has more tools or variation.

You can use imported noise patterns as masks for your arty vector shapes. You need only one color, because vector shapes define colors. Complex noise patterns are more effective as bitmaps, because a big vector pattern can freeze your program. High resolution bitmaps do the same if you have plenty of them.

In Affinity D. you can reduce the file complexity by having your noise patterns as symbols or brushes (=for strokes). You need only one copy. That makes also vector noise patterns worth to consider; you can tile small shapes enough to cover the needed area.

An elementary example:

enter image description here

A brown shape has greenish overlay which is masked with a grainy pattern. If we separate the parts, we can see them better:

enter image description here

There's a brown egg in the bottom with normal fully opaque gradient fill. That layer has been duplicated and the duplicate has got bright greenish gradient fill which ends to transparency

The greenish version was masked (=Mask to Below) with a group. The group is tiled of identical squares. The square is taken to the symbol collection in the beginning.

In this case the square is a PNG image with transparent background. It's made of pixel noise in Affinity Photo. (= add noise, blur, emboss, treshold, delete black areas, darken white to grey) But a piece this simple can as well be a vector shape.

The same noise pattern is traced to vector in Inkscape, scaled to smaller size and copied via clipboard to Affinity D. There it was taken to symbols and about twenty of them was tiled to have large enough vector noise pattern. That was used to mask the greenish egg:

enter image description here

The noise symbol is shown in a bigger size in the middle.

An opinion: Only bitmap noise texture image is acceptably handy. That's because the image can cover large enough area with no tiling. Vectors need too much tinkering. The situation is different with programs which allow vector pattern fills as easily as solid colors.


Affinity Designer supports noise in colours and in gradients, in each individual colour stop, and I’ve found it highly effective in my illustrative work.

enter image description here

I used it for this illustration to get a less glossy appearance on the printer’s plastic parts:

enter image description here

Hope this helps.

  • Hi, you demonstrated a technique which I already said I did at #2. It doesn't give the desired effect because the noise is generated by computer, I'm rather looking for a brush-splatter painterly noise texture like in the examples. But all the brushes I used seem pixelated.
    – Bluebug
    Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 16:37
  • Whoops - sorry. Gotcha. So when you are trying to achieve a more painterly noise, you're finding that your pixel brushes are overly-pixelated - what is your document dimension set to? Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 17:04
  • Hi, I always start working at 1000 sq px and since it's vector, I export it to desired size. But the particular object I was working with was a 100px circle. Now I do understand since the brushes are "pixel brushes", decreasing the brush size or zooming will reduce the quality. That's why I was looking for a way to create the painterly effect in vector so that I don't have to worry about resizing.
    – Bluebug
    Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 17:49
  • Right - well you might try the Grave Etcher vector brushes by RetroSupply, as there's some nice dotting and stippling possible there.... but for the splatteriest, spottiest stuff you will want the pixel brushes, and your document will need to be a fair size, as that will drive effective resolution of your brushes. Good luck! Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 18:08

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