When you have designed a logo, illustration or other graphic artwork, it’s often necessary to trace an image from bitmap to vector. The main reason to vectorize a bitmap image is because vector images can be resized without losing quality, making them ideal for use in print or web design applications. Another great advantage is that vector images can be manipulated with ease, allowing for greater control over the design. This is especially important when trying to achieve a specific look or effect. They are more efficient when it comes to storage, since they take up less space. In this guide we explain you how to vectorize an image with Affinity Designer by tracing the image.

If you like to know how to trace an image in Adobe Illustrator, visit our guide here. Keep on reading if you want to learn it yourself or check out the Tracing with Affinity Designer Course.

trace image in Affinity designer
Tracing an image in Affinity Designer from bitmap to vector has many advantages, like scaling and customizing.

What is Affinity Designer?

Affinity Designer is a vector graphic design software developed by Serif Europe Ltd. It is available for macOS, iPadOS, and Microsoft Windows and works with vector files. It is commonly used by creative professionals to create concept art, logos, icons, UI designs, and print projects. Affinity Designer serves as a lower cost alternative to Adobe Illustrator, and is full-featured and powerful, allowing users to manage documents, create vector designs with gradients, and work with both vector graphics and raster images. It has won several awards and is making big waves in the design world as an efficient and user-friendly tool. Affinity Designer also has two “siblings” – Affinity Photo and Affinity Publisher – that complete the Affinity Suite.

Tracing an image with Affinity Designer Course

Learn how to trace an image with this great course by Monja Wessel, teaching you how to trace an image – step-by-step- using Affinity Designer.

Learn More

What is ‘Image Trace’?

Image tracing with Adobe Illustrator is a process of converting raster images into vector files. It is a useful tool for creating graphics that can be easily edited and manipulated. The Image Trace option in Illustrator allows users to turn hand-drawings and raster images into vector images. It scans the image to convert it into a scalable vector graphic. Additionally, Illustrator’s Auto Trace feature makes it even easier to quickly transform any image into a vector graphic. With Live Trace, users can quickly trace existing artwork and photographs. In conclusion, image tracing is an efficient way for users to convert raster images into vector graphics with Adobe Illustrator.

Does Affinity Designer have ‘Image Trace’?

Unfortunately Affinity Designer doesn’t come with an automatic ‘image trace’ like Adobe Illustrator does. You will need to do the tracing manually. Good news though, because the process is quite simple.

In the following paragraph we explain you step by step how to trace an illustration in Affinity Designer.

How do you trace an illustration in Affinity Designer?

Tracing an outline in Affinity Designer is a straightforward process. You need to follow these steps:

tracing in affinity designer course
Tacing using the pen-tool in Affinity Designer (screenshot from the course from Monja Wessel)
  1. First scan the image you want to trace, or take a picture of it.
  2. Open the image you want to trace in Affinity Designer.
  3. Select the image by clicking on it.
  4. Go to the “Layer” menu and create a new layer. This will create a new trace layer above the original image layer.
  5. Next select the Pen Tool, we need this to vectorize the image by tracing the outlines manually.
  6. Select a thickness for the lines and decide whether you want to use a color filling or only no filling.
  7. Use the pen tool to trace the image. It might take some practice to get the hang of it and get some pace.
    • Click on the artboard to create anchor points, which will form the shape.
    • Hold down the Shift key to constrain the angle of your next point to 45° increments.
    • To create curves, click and drag on an anchor point to create direction handles. The curve will follow the direction of these handles.
    • To close a shape, hover over the first anchor point and click when a circle appears next to the pen cursor.
    • To edit a path, select the Pen tool and hover over an anchor point or direction handle. You can then move or adjust the handles as needed.
    • To add more points to a path, use the Add Anchor Point tool from the toolbar, or press the Plus (+) key on your keyboard while the Pen tool is active.

The Pen tool takes some practice to master, but it is a powerful tool for creating precise vector shapes in Affinity Designer.

If you have tips to make tracing easier, let us know in the comments!

How to trace an image with Affinity Designer Course

If you are having trouble tracing your artwork in Affinity Designer, then why not take this course from Monja Wessel. Besides the fact she’s a talented artist, she’s also a great teacher on our Academy. She has created the Tracing with Affinity Designer Course which shows you step-by-step how to trace an image. You will learn some of the basics of Affinity and together with Monja, you will trace an image.

Take a look at the introduction video to see what you can expect:

She has also created courses that will help you get more experience with creating vector styled artwork, like how to create a vector based rainbow or how to create a heart with Affinity Designer.

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