In the attached picture, #1 is a complex object (made with 24 shapes, converted to curves, joined or added together) and the #2 is a simple circle shaped object also converted to curve.

No. 2 is at bottom, No. 1 is at top. When I want to subtract #1 from #2, both the objects disappear. Why is that happening?

enter image description here

  • I often encounter this difficulty in Affinity Photo, and I've found that if the shapes are listed in the layers panel as "curves", the geometry functions fail, but if I redraw them as shapes (eg "ellipse", "rectangle", etc), they work.
    – 2540625
    Apr 9, 2020 at 20:26

3 Answers 3


Select all the relevant curves to be used as cutters:

enter image description here

Choose the Add Button:

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This results in a single curve layer:

enter image description here

When you select these two layers... being sure that the cutter is above in the layer stack, and then select the Subtract Button:

enter image description here

You should get this result:

enter image description here

Or at least, I reliably do; hope this helps.

  • 1
    True, I also expected that.. But for some reason, as I press the subtract button, the whole selection disappears and the layer tab shows one blank layer.
    – Bluebug
    Jan 29, 2019 at 17:58
  • 1
    I'd look for stray points or other unseen elements you've created outside your main geometry... or look for places where the combined objects reverse path definitions (lines cross one another) in a way which the program can't calculate final boolean results... but also I'd reach out to Affinity's tech support people - this is no longer a Graphic Design technique or advice question - this is a glitch with your specific file, install or process. Jan 29, 2019 at 18:13
  • Are you also using the v1.6.5.123?
    – Bluebug
    Jan 29, 2019 at 18:38
  • V1.6.3.103 on Win 10, Affinity Designer for iOS on iPad Pro 1st generation running the latest iOS pushed for iPad Pro 1st gen, and I'm not at my Mac (at home) to check version there... Jan 29, 2019 at 18:46
  • Then must be some bug. I bought from Microsoft store.
    – Bluebug
    Jan 30, 2019 at 0:30

The answer from @GeradFalla works on some instances, but I don't know why sometimes it doesn't. I found the trick a long time ago and have since forgotten it, but this is another approach that works for me:

  1. Select all the individual objects you want to be cut out and group them (or select the add button)
  2. Make sure the new group is above the background object in the layer stack
  3. With the node tool, double-click the background object first (causing the nodes to be displayed)
  4. Hold shift, and double-click the new group (should see a bunch of node points that don't look like normal nodes), pause a second, then double-click again on that new group (should see the regular node points now)
  5. Select "Subtract"

I had this issue trying to subtract two curves. It would just combine both curves but still show the nodes of the curve that I was trying to cut out.

I found this answer on Affinity forum. A commentor said to check the fill mode of the curve and change its setting to Alternate if it was set to Winding.

Layer > Fill Mode

Mine was set to winding so I changed it for both curves and it worked.

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