How To Use Rough Shaders For Affinity Designer

Rough Shaders Basics

Rough Shaders for Affinity Designer have been designed to add a bumpy and organic shading pass to flat vector illustrations in a quick and flexible manner. Get a FREE demo HERE.

Rough Shaders for Affinity Designer
FTOON – Shader 12

As you can see on FIG.1, Rough Shaders don’t behave like regular brushes, to make them stand out, you’ll need to clip them onto other shapes. Fig.2.

Preparing Your Shader

Affinity Designer Vector Brushes

First, let’s add the texture that will be clipped. First, create a path using either the Pen Tool or the Vector Brush Tool directly (Fig.3). 

If you use the Vector Brush Tool, you can select the brush you want beforehand. You can change your selected brush at any time.

Affinity Designer Vector Brushes

For these kind of textures, we prefer the Pen Tool method. It gives you more control over your strokes and keeps your paths cleaner.

Select any brush you want from the Frankentoon – Rough Shaders. Fig.4.


Affinity Stroke Panel
Left: Stroke Panel Mac, Windows. Right: Stroke Panel iPad OS.

To have more control over your nodes and general appearance, we strongly recommend setting your stroke’s Cap to Butt Cap in the Stroke Panel.

Affinity Designer Vector Brushes

Round Cap. As you can see in the image above, Round Cap tends to stretch Rough Shader for Affinity Designer textures horizontally. Also, the stroke’s control points appear misaligned in relation to the texture’s edge.

Affinity Designer Vector Brushes

On the other hand, the Butt Cap option, keeps our texture’s aspect ratio more uniform and the stroke’s handles aligned in relation to the texture’s edge.

Rough Shaders for Affinity Designer
Stroke Width: 60 pt.
Rough Shaders for Affinity Designer
Stroke Width: 45 pt.

Also, from the Stroke Panel, you’ll be able to change your stroke’s width to taste.

Applying Your Shader

Line up the Rough Shader texture on top of your target shape. Go to the Layers Panel and drag the texture curve onto the target shape to create a Clipping Mask.

Your layer structure should look like Fig.3. The target shape is now clipping the Rough Shader texture.

Now, our flat shape has a nice texture to it and we did it in just a few seconds! 

Keep reading to learn a couple of tips on how to manipulate these shaders to make them look more interesting and appealing.

Work The Same On The iPad

However, there’s a slight difference. On Fig.1 you may notice that your texture must be dragged up to the middle of the target shape. The ending layer structure looks the same. Fig.2.

Editing Rough Shaders for Affinity Designer

To change your path’s texture, just double-click or double-tap (iPad), the target shape. Alternatively, you can select the textured path directly from the Layers Panel.

FTOON – Shader 60, FTOON – Shader 66, FTOON – Shader 51

Once you have your path selected you’ll be able to “audition” different Rough Shaders by selecting them from the Brushes Panel and see which one looks better on the target shape.

Play With Your Stroke’s Width

1. Shader 59, original size. 2. Shader 59, stroke width 300pt. 3. Shader 59, Stroke Width 70 pt.

Just by increasing or decreasing your stroke’s width you’ll be able to change the look of your shape dramatically. You can also play around with your path’s position to create different effects.

TIP: To increase the stroke beyond the default slider, you can input your values manually.

If you want a more traditional approach to add some rough line work, maybe you’d like to try our Octopus Brush Pack for Affinity Designer kit. A tutorial on how to use Octopus brushes can be found HERE.

Try Different Colors

Rough Shaders for Affinity Designer Colors

Changing the colors of both, the target shape and your Rough Shaders, will produce quite interesting results. Even when using the same shape-texture combo. Experiment yourself to come up with different materials.

Go Beyond Straight Paths

By drawing curved paths, you’ll get more dynamic results if that’s what you want. You can follow along the contour of your target shape to get a more accurate shading.

The default width of Rough Shaders has been set up super high by default. If your texture looks weird when applied on curved paths, just decrease its stroke width to make it fit your path.

Add More Than One Texture

Extra textures can be added and layered up within Affinity’s clipping structure. This way you can create more intricate details just by duplicating or creating an extra texture from scratch.

Alternative Shaders

Regular Rough Shader
Alternative Rough Shader

Rough Shaders for Affinity Designer includes a set of 12 alternative brushes. These shaders can be used if you need your light source to affect the narrower side of your target shape.

Main light source hitting the narrow side of these tube-like shapes.
Rough Shaders for Affinity Designer
Light source hitting the narrow side of the tree trunk Fig.1 and the flame Fig.2.

Well, this is basically everything you need to know to start using Rough Shaders for Affinity Designer right away. Remember these brushes were designed to get quick and dirty results. 

Don’t worry too much about which specific brush you need to use on certain shape. Just apply any and start testing them all. This is the only way you’ll get to know the pack and therefore, find your favorite ones. You can also use Shaders to enhance your graphic designs, try using them on this tutorial, instead of the regular texture brushes.

Overall, don’t forget to have FUN. That’s the ultimate goal of all of our packs. Creating art without having fun makes no sense at all. If you want to learn how to transform a simple doodle into a usable illustration, check this Affinity Designer tutorial.

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