Vectornator allows you to import images into your document that can be used as an inspiration or as an additional design element while creating your own masterpieces.
You can import images directly into the Vectornator document. We will show you further along how to import them and which tools you can use to modify these imported images.
To import an image, open the Library Popover (1) by using the icon to the far right in the Inspector Bar and then navigate to the Photos (A) or the Unsplash (B) Tab.
When you select the Photos Tab (A), a Window displays the camera roll of your device and all the albums and folders you have previously stored in your Photos App. Simply click on your desired image (1) to import it into your document or drag and drop it directly onto the canvas.
Drag & Drop
You have the option in Vectornator to drag & drop your images directly onto your canvas. Choose the image that you would like to import from any folder on your Mac, and then drag the image directly onto your canvas. Done! Now you can start to make adjustments to your imported image.
Resizing an Image
You can resize any imported image by dragging on one of its corner handles. If you want to keep the aspect ratio of your image intact while resizing it, hold ~key~ ⇧ ~key~ while dragging on one of the handles.
If you want to rotate your image, activate the Rotate Mode and then drag one of the Corner Handles clockwise or counterclockwise.
Vectornator is a vector-based editing software and offers only a small selection of raster-editing tools. Below you’ll find some of the alternative methods for cropping and removing background by using some vector functionalities as Masking.
Cropping an Image
You can use the Masking feature in Vectornator to crop a Raster Image in Vectornator. First, you need to position a clipping mask on top of your raster image. Then you need to select both the shape and the image and click on the Mask button in the Inspector.
Your image will be automatically cropped by the shape you defined and a small M will appear at the bottom right corner of the masked object.
If you want to edit the mask, simply double-click on it with the Selection Tool. When in Editing Mode, you can easily change the position of your masking element. Also, all the other elements present on your canvas will be automatically greyed out. To exit the Editing Mode, double-click again.
Blend modes influence how the pixels of an image are affected by a painting or editing tool. The image below showcases how two different images interact when the circle shape as the top layer has different blend modes applied.
The overlying layer is the Blending Layer, the underlying layer is the Base Layer.
In our example below the circle is the Blending Layer, the dog is the Base Layer.
Here are a few examples of blend modes that you can use on your images in Vectornator:
The ‘normal’ blend mode is the default setting in most software applications. It obscures the underlying base layer by covering it with the content from the overlying blend layer.
In the Normal Blend Mode, the color of the blending layer is simply placed on top of the color of the base layer. No special blending takes place, only a change in opacity affects the layers. In this mode, the Opacity Slider controls the blend between the layers.
This blend mode shows the darkest values of the underlying base layer and the overlaying blend layer. It will not change anything if the colors on both layers are the same or if the overlying layer is lighter than the original.
The Darken Blending Mode compares the colors of the Blending Layer and the Base Layer and keeps the darker colors. If the colors of the blending layer and base layer are identical, nothing will change visually. White is completely invisible on the Blending Layer when you have activated the Darken Layer Mode.
The Multiply Blending Mode multiplies the colors of the blending layer and the base layers, resulting in a darker color. This mode is very useful for darkening shadows.
If you want to quickly import an image with a white background as the Blending Layer of your composition you can use the Multiply Blending Mode to remove the white background without having to do it manually. White is completely invisible on the Blending Layer when you have activated the Multiply Layer Mode.
The Vectornator Auto Trace feature allows you to convert any image into vector shapes. With Auto Trace, you can create amazing illustrations from a reference photo without having to trace the vector shapes by hand.
With the recent update in version 4.6.0, you can now trace photographs and black and white sketches. You have the option to select if you want to trace a sketch or a photograph. Each mode contains different parameters that are specifically designed for each image type. This approach will give you optimal results when tracing an image.
How to Access the Auto Trace Panel
The Auto Trace Panel is a context-aware menu. It is only visible when you select an image. The panel will appear automatically at the top of the Inspector. Inside the Auto Trace Panel, you can select one of the two following modes:
- A – Photography
- B – Sketch
The Auto Trace Button inside the Top Toolbar (2) will enable as soon as you select an image.
The Sketch Mode Parameters
When you’re in Sketch Mode (1), you have two sliders available that enable you to adjust the following properties:
- A – Complexity. A lower value will group smaller areas and vice versa. Images with a simple composition of shapes (a foreground and a simple monochromatic background, f.ex.) need a lower complexity value. Images with a complex composition of shapes (a foreground with a complex city panorama as a background, f.ex.) require a higher complexity value.
- B – Contrast. The slider defines a threshold at which numeric value a color is considered black or white.
Concerning the contrast slider, a lower value will define more colors as white and a higher value will define more colors as black.
To start tracing your image, click the Auto Trace Button (2).
Below you can see examples of different parameter settings
The Sketch Mode generates only a black and white vector output.
⚠️ The Auto Trace feature is a destructive operation, which means that once you convert the image into vectors, you can no longer access and adjust the tracing options. If you want to revert the changes, your only option is to undo the operation.
The Photography Mode Parameters
In this panel (1), you have two sliders available that enable you to set the number of paths and the path size:
- A – Complexity. This slider defines how many paths your vectorized image will contain. By moving your finger along the slider, you can adjust how many paths your vectorized image will have. A lower number on the slider will result in a more abstract result, and a higher number will produce more detailed paths.
- B – Minimum Path Size. This slider manages the threshold for the path size. A higher value will create longer paths between points and a less detailed image. A lower value will generate shorter paths between points and a higher level of detail.
Once you have adjusted these two settings, click the Auto Trace Button (2) and wait a few seconds for the process to finish.
A testing example of the Auto Trace parameters when using the Photography Mode.
Please take note that the Auto Trace feature does not support RGBA images that contain an 8-bit Alpha Channel. Auto Trace interprets 8-bit Alpha Channel pixels as black instead of white.
How to Edit the Vectorized Image
Once you have converted the image into vector shapes, you can edit the paths afterward.
To edit your traced image, you can either add or remove nodes by using the Node Tool, or you can go to the Path Tab and edit your vectorized shapes by clicking the Remove Nodes button.