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I recently bought Affinity Designer; I have a fair amount of experience (I used to use it for work) but occasionally I run into a problem.

What I want to do is create a shape like a cookie with a bite taken out of it.

If you have used TinkerCAD this is the same as combining a solid and transparent shape.

For those who haven't, basically what is does is the transparent shape is just like acid. It takes a chunk out of the shape without leaving behind more. I want to take a chunk out of a circle without having another circle grouped to it, leaving a mark on whatever else goes next to it.

Again, I am sorry if I am too confusing, I really don't know how to put this. Thanks in advance!

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In vector drawing programs you have boolean operations for closed Bezier curves and the available preset closed curves like rectangles or ellipses. In Affinity Designer circle is a special case of ellipse.

Simply select 2 closed curves and click "Subtract" icon in your toolbar (Customize your toolbar back if you have removed it), the topmost shape is bitten off from the bottom shape and none of the originals is left

Before:

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After:

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Not asked: The idea of shape combinations and other edits which can be disassembled if needed are something that many of us have learned to see valuable. In CAD programs it's common and Adobe's Photoshop and Illustrator have it implemented to some degree. In Inkscape one can use clipping paths and opacity masks as a workaround. I haven't still found any convenient workaround to make the presented subtraction non-destructively in A.D. But the Booleans work and it's not a big deal to keep spares.

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The Boolean operators are in the top right corner of the toolbar.

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Just select the objects you want to combine and click on the chosen operation. The order of the objects matters: the bottom one in the layers panel is the one the operation is done to, the other is the parameter.

If it must be a single shape you simply select the compound and click Convert to Curves and the Boolean is made permanent. (Thanks user287001)

You can apply Boolean operators non-destructively by pressing the Alt/Option key when clicking on an operator. It creates a compound that stores the shapes and the operation and that can be edited in the future. You can add and remove objects and even change the operators for each object in the compound.

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The simplest straight ahead method is the boolean add and subtract tools in the toolbar at the upper right in the default Affinity Designer Configuration.

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This is a destructive workflow (one in which once an action is taken, it cannot be easily modified or undone later upon file re-open) as it directly edits the shapes or paths.

@user287001 suggests looking for a non-destructive method - turns out this is dead simple.

Many thanks to @Stéphane Bura for pointing this out in the comments - there is already an existing non-destructive boolean workflow in Affinity Designer - what I initially showed (and will leave up after this step) is a minorly-clunky workaround - the actual in-built non-destructive boolean is super-simple and elegant.

Use the same boolean subtraction method I already outlined above, only as you click the subtraction button, hold the Alt(PC) or Option(Mac) key down.

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This creates nice compound shapes which you can easily see and manage in the Layers Studio - exactly what the doctor ordered!

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Oh for those who might wonder - this also allows for nesting of this non-destructively - that is, compounds within compounds - just remember to hold Alt or Option when you use any boolean and you're in business.

Here I made a non-destructive boolean union of the base bite circle and some teeth (more ellipses rotated around the centre of the bite circle) by holding Alt or Option when clicking the boolean union button, then once I had that compound in front of the base cookie circle, again holding Alt or Option when I clicked the boolean subtraction, and here we get the whole composition non-destructively, so you can keep editing for example tooth positions or shapes later on if you wish.

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My older workaround before knowing about the Option approach: same as previous but with one extra step: do the same boolean with the same cutter shape to a rectangle large enough to enclose your target positive shape, and once the cut's been made, put your target shape inside that in the layer studio, making it a clipping mask.

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The last step is then selecting the fill and stroke of the container (which was a cyan rectangle in my example) and setting it to "none" - the red slash through white symbol in the colour picker.

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Your cookie is still complete, live and editable, as is its alignment with its cutter, and the cutter shape is too - so this is a non-destructive workfow in which maximal flexibility is maintained.

To demonstrate that, here I've changed the clipping shape's curves to add some rough teethmarks to the bite, but if you look over at the layers studio you can see that the cookie is still a simple circle.

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Hope this helps.

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  • The non-destructive workaround destroyed one copy of the red shape. It needed a new rectangle. As well one could keep spares of both shapes. But at least the Booleans work, which is most important. – user287001 Apr 15 at 21:50
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    You can apply Boolean operators non-destructively by pressing the Alt/Option key. It creates a compound that stores the shapes and the operation and that can be edited in the future. – Stéphane Bura Apr 19 at 11:08
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    @Stéphane Bura it would be useful if you wrote an answer. Maybe the questioner changes the accept mark to it. At least I would upvote it . – user287001 Apr 20 at 16:14
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    Sure and thanks for the advice :) – Stéphane Bura Apr 20 at 16:22

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