Linearity Curve's shaping tools provide the means to alter the appearance of existing vector shapes and lines by combining multiple shapes. These shaping tools encompass Boolean Operations, the Masking Tool, and the Shape Builder Tool. By utilizing these tools, you can create intricate and complex shapes by masking or configuring the intersecting behavior of multiple shapes.
The term “Boolean” in computer programming is a data type that can be either “true” or “false.” But, regarding graphic design software like Linearity Curve (formerly Vectornator), we use the term “Boolean” to describe how shapes are combined. Those operations are often used in Icon and Logo Design.
There are five types of Boolean Operations:
- A - Unite merges two selected shapes into one.
- B - Subtract removes the top shape from the back one. As you can see in the image above, the area of the top shape is removed from the one underneath.
- C - Intersect removes everything that doesn't intersect and shows only the part where the shapes overlap.
- D - Divide separates the intersecting parts of the overlapping shapes into separate objects.
- E - Exclude removes everything that intersects. The area where the shapes don’t touch is retained. It's the opposite of Intersect.
These operations allow you to create new complex paths with just one tap.
In Linearity Curve for iPad, you can find these options (2) at the top of the Path section. Anytime you select multiple objects simultaneously, the boolean options will also appear automatically inside the Quick Actions bar.
You can perform a Boolean Operation only with shapes with overlapping areas.
Boolean operations are a powerful tool for any product or graphic design project. Using the five boolean operations, a complex shape can be constructed in no time. Creating complex shapes is something you’ll inevitably come across in icon or logo design, go over to our tutorials section to take a deeper look at how to use booleans in your marketing assets →
Clipping masks are the simplest way to mask any objects and photos. A clipping mask is a shape that only reveals artwork within its boundaries - in effect, cropping the artwork to the shape of the mask.
Applying a mask to an image in Curve can help create a beautiful texture or pattern.
What defines a mask in vector software?
Masks show parts of an object contained within a specific shape. In Linearity Curve, the Mask and Unmask buttons can be found in the Arrange Tab inside the Inspector.
How to create a mask
Any closed shape can be turned into a mask. When you select two objects simultaneously, the Mask button will be highlighted. Select first the element you want to mask and, secondly, the shape you want to define as a mask and click the Mask button. You can access the Mask button from the Arrange Tab or the Quick Actions Bar.
Once you have converted your shape into a mask, a tiny mask icon will also appear in the Layers Tab.
In Linearity Curve there are three available options for creating a mask:
- Use the Mask button in the Quick Actions Tab.
- Long-press on the oval (masking shape) in the Layers Tab, and in the Popup Menu, tap the Mask button.
- Create a Mask by using the Mask button in the Arrange Tab.
How to identify if an object has been masked
In Linearity Curve, you can immediately recognize if there’s a mask applied when you can spot the letter
When you see the Unmask button highlighted, the selected object is a mask.
How to edit a mask
To edit a Mask, double-tap on it to enter the Isolate State. Then double-tap again on an empty area of the canvas to exit the Isolated State.
Practice with Masking and Boolean
Since play is the best way to learn anything, let's create a nice Instagram post banner using Masking and Boolean operations. The easiest way is to practice with simple shapes to get the hang of this seemingly complex design concept.
The Shape Builder is a potent tool for creating elaborate shapes fast and efficiently. You can merge or erase different parts of intersecting shapes with the Shape Builder Tool.
Create elaborate shapes seamlessly with the Shape Builder Tool. You can merge or erase multiple shape parts and create an entirely new shape. This feature is handy for creating geometric logos, illustrations, and lettering shapes. The Shape Builder Tool functions similarly to Boolean Operations, where you merge two shapes into one.
The Shape Builder Tool is located on the iPad below the Shape Tool in the Toolbar.
When you tap the tool icon , you have the two following modes available:
- The Merge Mode
- The Erase Mode
If you have a keyboard on your iPad, you can hold the
Another option is to hold one finger after you start the shape-building process, and then you can switch between both modes seamlessly.
The Merge Mode is set by default in Linearity Curve (formerly Vectornator). When you switch between tools, Curve remembers the mode you selected last. For example, if you set the Erase Mode, use another Tool, and switch back to the Shape Builder Tool, the Erase Mode will still be active.
When you close and reopen a saved document, Linearity Curve automatically reverts to Merge Mode.
Below, let us explain the differences between the Merge Mode and the Erase Mode.
The Merge Mode
With the Merge Mode , you can merge the intersecting parts of multiple selected overlapping shapes and convert them into a single elaborate shape. This technique is comparable to the Boolean Operation Unite. The Merge Mode is set in Curve as the default mode of the Shape Builder Tool.
First, select multiple shapes, and then you can draw (by tapping and holding) along the shapes to connect the overlapping parts. Release, and you’ll automatically get one united shape.
Select multiple shapes before merging the intersecting shape parts with the Shape Builder Tool by using the Multi-Select Mode .
The Merge Mode won’t influence unselected shapes.
The final shape will automatically display the colors set in your document’s Fill and Stroke section.
As soon as you activate the Shape Builder Tool, the outer lines of the selected shapes will be displayed with a blue stroke, regardless of their current set stroke color. When the Merge Mode is activated, a thicker blue outline marks the overlapping shape parts you are currently merging.
How to create new shapes with the Merge Mode
- Use the Shape Tool to create the shapes you want to merge with the Shape Builder Tool.
- With the Multi Select Mode, you can select the multiple shapes you want to unify with the Shape Builder Tool.
- Tap the Shape Builder Tool in the Toolbar. By default, the Shape Builder Tool is set to Merge Mode.
The Erase Mode
As the Boolean operation Subtract, you can subtract the overlapping parts of your selected shapes with the Erase Mode . If you want to erase a single overlapping element of your selected shapes, tap once, tap, and drag across your selected shapes to erase multiple shape intersections.
When the Erase Mode is activated, a thick red outline marks the intersecting shape parts you are currently erasing. The Erase Mode won’t affect unselected shapes.
Practice with the Shape Builder Tool
In Curve for iPad, you don’t need to draw complicated shapes on your canvas for hours; you can speed up your workflow by fusing the overlapping parts of basic shapes with the Shape Builder Tool and reconstructing them into elaborate artwork with only a few taps!
Masterfully combine the Merge Mode with the Erase Mode for your specific needs to create a visual arrangement or a logo. Use the Merge Mode to generate complex shapes and the Erase Mode to subtract intersecting parts you wish to remove from the resulting shape.