Design Tips
<path d="M17.014 16.1972L20.9566 12.3098C22.1061 11.1627 22.0738 9.81384 20.9029 8.62426L20.3443 8.07195C19.2915 9.41023 16.2835 11.014 15.7034 10.4405C15.6174 10.3449 15.596 10.1643 15.7356 10.0263C16.9603 8.81544 17.766 7.62586 17.9594 5.71404L12.7384 0.552114C11.7286 -0.456904 10.0097 -0.0957815 9.52632 1.74169C8.88175 4.31203 8.30165 5.82025 7.72154 7.02045L17.014 16.1972ZM1.42629 22.7824C3.0377 24.3862 5.13254 24.4074 6.72246 22.8355C7.94714 21.6247 9.12884 18.9162 10.042 17.5249L12.4483 19.904C13.2326 20.69 14.1779 20.69 14.9192 19.9359L15.7893 19.0756C16.5521 18.3002 16.5413 17.4186 15.7571 16.6433L7.6356 8.62426C6.85138 7.83829 5.93824 7.82767 5.16477 8.59239L4.30535 9.44209C3.55336 10.1962 3.54261 11.1096 4.33758 11.885L6.74395 14.2641C5.33665 15.1669 2.608 16.3459 1.38332 17.5461C-0.206602 19.1287 -0.195859 21.1998 1.42629 22.7824ZM4.17643 21.4016C3.4889 21.4016 2.93028 20.8599 2.93028 20.1908C2.93028 19.511 3.4889 18.9693 4.17643 18.9693C4.85323 18.9693 5.40111 19.511 5.40111 20.1908C5.40111 20.8599 4.85323 21.4016 4.17643 21.4016Z" fill="currentColor" fill-opacity="0.5"/>
Boolean vs. Masks

Boolean vs. Masks

In this post, we will look at how to handle vector graphics Boolean operations. But more importantly, we will compare Boolean operations vs Masks and show you when one needs to be used over the other.

At its core, “Boolean” is a logic term that can be either “true” or “false,” and is commonly used in computer programming.

In terms of graphics design, the meaning is quite similar. We use “boolean” to describe how shapes are combined, using values such as “and”, “or,” “not,” or a combination of these. Getting too technical?

Simply put, Boolean operations are a very powerful tool for any product or graphic design project. A complicated-looking shape can be constructed in no time using the five Boolean operations present in Vectornator, namely Union, Subtract, Intersect, Difference, and Divide. You’ll find these operations at the top of the Path Tab.

Creating complex shapes is something you’ll inevitably come across in icon or logo design, so let’s take a deeper look at these 5 options:

Boolean Unite

This combines two input shapes into a new shape. The order of the layers does not matter in the case of Unite operations, but the output shape converts to the style of the bottom layer.

Boolean Subtract

This operation subtracts the shape on top from the shape below. As you might have guessed, the order of the layers does play a role in this operation; the bottom layer is treated as the base and the top is subtracted from it.

Boolean Intersect

This outlines the path of the shape shared by both layers. You will be left with only the portion where the two layers overlapped. Just like the Unite operation, the order of the layers does not matter.

Boolean Difference

This is the opposite of Intersection. It deletes the path that overlaps when two shapes are combined. The order does not matter here either. If we think of this mathematically, Difference is Subtracting the Intersection from the Union shape. We’ll let that marinate for a minute.

Boolean Divide

This operation is quite unique in itself and results in the most amount of vector shapes that you can then play around with and use in your designs. Divide splits selected objects into individual objects created by intersecting paths. Below a comparison of all operations so you visualize it easier:

Since the best way to learn anything is through play, we propose you check out The Boolean Game -  a super fun tool that lets you practice with simple shapes so you can get the hang of these concepts. All the gifs you’ve seen until now were from this nifty little tool.

After playtime, head to Vectornator to bring life to your project with shapes and Boolean operations!


Masking is another essential function you need to understand in order to create more complex professional work. There are also different principles to it, which we’ll explain below.

Clipping Masks

Clipping masks are the simplest way to mask 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.  So for example, if your object is an apple, once the mask is created the shape underneath gets clipped into the shape on top.

Transparency layer masks

A transparency layer mask is basically a single large graphic that acts as the transparency mask.

The light and dark values in the layer (textures are a prime example here) determine the amount of masking applied to your artwork.

Artwork by Seamus Lloyd

Which one is best?

It really boils down to your project’s type.

Let's say you want to achieve a certain shape. One way to think about it is from the perspective of raster images; you can edit individual pixels and create an image mask. And that's about how far the story goes. You cannot use boolean operations with raster-based graphics, and you cannot really edit the resulting shape without using further operations like cropping or applying another mask.

However, if your graphics are vector-based, you can use both masks or boolean operations (or a combination of both) in Vectornator. Both methods will give you newly-created vector shapes, which you can continue editing by manipulating individual points, or by changing their color.

And that’s the beauty of working with vectors: they remain infinitely editable and infinitely scalable.

Images simply cannot compete with that. If you mask with vectors and use the Boolean operations regularly in your workflow, we promise that your productivity will skyrocket!

For a more in-depth analysis of why you should use vectors, refer to this page of our Learning Hub.

Download the PDF version here.
Something went wrong while submitting the form. Try again.