I want to create a graphic, which consists of multiple, not equal curves [1], that have multiple faults [2]. In the end each color should be one unified area (can be cropped or extended to the document dimensions [3]). The resulting shapes shall in the end be used to mask (not distort) and tint images below (see example). This is done in Affinity Designer (Desktop or iPad) as a aesthetic design (book cover). Sketch of faults across curves

Here is what I came up with yet (colors and images changed):

Please notice, that the images themselves are not distorted by the faults, but only their unified clipping shape has faults.

What I have come up with yet

I tried to divide the areas by creating "cut-line-objects", but this seems to be a lot of copying, deleting of unnecessary by-products and manual shifting of nodes. This process is complex to replicate, if e.g. the curve shapes or fault-angle should be changed. Also this is not exact, and the only way I see is to calculating and positioning each point manually.

Is there an easier, more flexible way, than my described workflow?

  • I don't use Affinity Designer, but in Illustrator/InDesign this could be made quite easily by placing 4 copies of your graphic in 4 separate clipping paths and then shift them. Is this for aesthetic or scientific purposes?
    – Wolff
    May 18, 2019 at 9:37
  • You say that each color needs to end up as a unified area. That isn't necessarily possible since the curves could be shifted so they don't touch each other anymore. Seems to be happening in your image 3 in the bottom.
    – Wolff
    May 18, 2019 at 9:43
  • @Wolff Sorry for not clarifying; I want to use the objects as a mask (and filter etc.) for other images grouped below. I updated the sketch and question. For simplicity you can just ignore the purple color. The graphic is a aesthetic design for a book cover and not data driven.
    – Ahrdie
    May 18, 2019 at 11:05
  • Your question is good, but there are still things that seem unclear to me. Are the curves going to be just an overlay which just affects the colors of images and objects below? Or are the images below supposed to have the same faults as the curves? Are the curves vector shapes or a raster image like in your sketch? I'm asking because I suspect that you are too focused on flattening and snapping everything. It doesn't matter if your graphics have "ragged edges" and sloppiness if those parts of the graphic lies outside the format.
    – Wolff
    May 18, 2019 at 11:26
  • Thank you for those questions; this has not been clear yet. The curves shall just be an overlay, and not distort the images below (the images should not have the faults). I agree, that it doesn't matter, if the edges are ragged, because they can be scaled away. I have added to my initial question and added an example, I already created.
    – Ahrdie
    May 18, 2019 at 17:45

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure that I fully understand your question, but I'll post this as inspiration. I don't mind if you can't accept it as an answer. It's done in InDesign, but the technique should be possible in Affinity Designer.

We start out with a set of vector shapes:

Then we place the images in each of the shapes and apply whatever coloring we want:

Now we regard this as a "finished" group which we want to apply faults/shifting to.

We group the shapes (or, to keep it editable, save it as a separate file and place it in another document) and rotate them (here I rotated 20 degrees):

Now we create 4 rectangles and place a copy of the group inside each one of them:

We can now easily shift the parts up and down to create the faults:

The whole thing is then grouped and rotated back (in this case -20 degrees):

To get rid of the ragged edges we can place the group inside a rectangle (or simply scale it until it exceeds the format):

Hope this helps!

  • I will definitely try your great idea to tilt the whole thing to create the faulted masks. I only see two problems: how do I cut multiple objects in Affinity Designer? Is there a way to reliably unify the cut-out parts after shifting, without generating artifacts?
    – Ahrdie
    May 18, 2019 at 17:48
  • I'm not sure... I've only tried Affinity Photo and watched videos of Affinity Designer. I don't how these functions perform. You should be able to first somehow intersect the rectangular masks with the curves within and then ungroup everything and join the pieces of each curve using add.
    – Wolff
    May 18, 2019 at 17:58
  • 1
    It worked! I only found a bug, that the intersection had to be done while inside the canvas, otherwise some parts would just disappear. I guess this is the easiest way to achive this.
    – Ahrdie
    May 18, 2019 at 18:09

Here's a workflow specifically in Affinity Designer.

First I draw the layers using the bezier pen tool - colour set to multiply to make compositing easier. enter image description here

Then I set up my rotated rectangles for the angled cuts I will do using the Divide command (equivalent to Illustrator's pathfinder divide). enter image description here

As is typical with such tools, be sure your final cutting body layer is on top for easy predictable results - then click divide - I then hide those layers to make my life easier, then continue the same process throughout to get all my final shapes. enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

After doing all my divides, these are my tectonic layers before disturbing them with shifts along their respective angles. enter image description here

Then I copy an image, and drag it directly into/under a shape layer, which clips it to that layer - equivalent to an Illustrator clip-to-path. I then hide that result to make for easier work. After that I paste my image copy, and do it again: alternatively, you can select one image and Cntrl-J the relevant number of times en masse - up to you. enter image description here

Here I've now clipped images into all the shapes, then grabbed the shapes; I've then slid them (snaps on set to using geometry keypoints but not grids or spread) the relevant angle to move them in-plane relative to the others. enter image description here

Finally a I draw a rectangle with snaps on to spread to be exactly the spread dimensions. enter image description here

I then grab ALL my other lower shapes with clipped images, and en masse move them all into/under that red rectangle shape layer, thus clipping everything to that rectangle. enter image description here

I then highlight that rectangle in the layers palette, and turn strokes and fill to "none". enter image description here

WHOOPS - forgot to tint the layers to easily discriminate the tectonic layers... quickly copied the vector shapes and set them to colour burn blend mode - and NOW we're...

enter image description here


Hope this helps.

P.S. to address query in comments: nope, cannot confirm - my boolean reconnection of the tectonically disturbed shapes neither had issues containing an image, nor any boolean artifacting - sorry.

enter image description here

  • 1
    Your solution works great if you want to "cut" the images placed in the shapes. However, the difficult thing is how to unify all corresponding pieces into one shape, after the faults are added, without creating wild random artifacts. For reference, in my example image, the images are not distorted by the faults; only the shape.
    – Ahrdie
    Oct 24, 2019 at 19:51
  • That far easier than what I did in fact - you don't clip multiple images into the shapes in the process as I did - you hold back that step till near the end - you do all the other steps, then you boolean add the related shapes together to get your one disturbed stratum, and then clip the one whole image for that stratum into it. Boom. done! Oct 24, 2019 at 22:49
  • Thats what I thought as well, but when I tried, a lot of artifact objects were created when boolean adding. Can you reproduce this?
    – Ahrdie
    Oct 25, 2019 at 23:16
  • 1
    Added P.S. to answer to address this query of yours - but I can report that nope, I cannot confirm - my boolean reconnection of the tectonically disturbed shapes neither had issues containing an image, nor any boolean artifacting - sorry. Nov 4, 2019 at 16:24
  • 1
    Well, then I guess this has been fixed by Serif. Thanks for adding your P.S.!
    – Ahrdie
    Nov 7, 2019 at 19:06

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