Something that characterizes a vector-based design tool from a raster one is that you can create, edit, and re-edit existing shapes by modifying their points and paths.
Creating a path
There are four different tools to help you create a path depending on your need: the Pen(1), the Pencil(2), the Brush(3), and the Shape(4) Tool.
Tip: All these tools are on the left side of the Vectornator’s UI inside the Action Bar.
Creating a path using the Pen Tool
The Pen Tool is maybe the Vectornator's most powerful tool. It allows you to create path as straight lines or curves.
Selecting Anchor Points
All lines or shapes in a vector-based software are made up of points connected by paths, which make up the outlines of a shape. In Vectornator, it’s really easy to select and edit those points to modify and polish your design.
By selecting the Node Tool, you will be able to see those Anchor Points. Then, tap on them, tap-and-drag an area or activate the Multi Selection Tool to select more than one point.
Moving Anchor Points
After selecting any point, you can move it around by dragging it by moving the Mini Joystick you find at the bottom right of your canvas or changing the XY coordinates from the Arrange Tab.
When dragging a point around, you may see the Smart Guides appear which allows you to align that point to other points, edges, grid or your personal Guides.
Adding Anchor Points
By selecting your path with the Node Tool, every Anchor Point will appear.
To add a new point into the path you have two ways:
- Simply tap anywhere on the vector path.
- Open the Path Tab and tap the button “Add Anchor Points”. Your shape will immediately have more points for you to edit.
This action allows you to give more detail to your vector element.
Deleting Anchor Points
To delete any of the anchor points that form your path you have two options:
1) Select your path with the Node Tool so that every point will appear highlighted. Then tap on the point you want to delete and then tap on the Delete Button inside the Action Bar.
2) Alternatively, open the Path Tab and tap the button “Delete Anchor Points”. Your shape will immediately have less points.
TIP: The "Delete Anchor Points" button can be very helpful to further edit your traced image and easily adjust the vectors to remove the unneeded nodes.
This action will, instead, smooth your shapes.
Editing Anchor Points:
As soon as you select an anchor point, at the top of the Style Tab, a specific panel to edit the Node Types will appear without having to use gestures.
You can choose different type of Nodes in Vectornator:
To change node type, activate the Node Tool, then tap or drag to select the anchor points.
Choose one of the 4 Node Types in the Style Tab section that just appeared. (See the image above)
Tap the type you want to change the point and edit the handles.
To change the Node Type of a selected anchor point, there are a few gestures & shortcuts that will speed your workflow. Check them out here.
Show Node Handles
when multiple anchor points are selected
To show the handles of multiple anchor points, activate the Node Tool and select the anchor points by dragging an area on your canvas that contains those points or simply tap on each point (by activating the multiple selection tool).
This option displays the Vectornator handles of points immediately and helps you figure out what the node types are. Otherwise, the handles are not displayed.
Tip: You can only display the handles of one path at once.
Editing paths in Vectornator basically works the same way whether you're on the iPad, Mac or iPhone. The only minor changes between the devices are essentially due to the gestures depending upon tools you would like to use and the platform you've selected.
In Vectornator you can edit a path at any given time but there's a difference between closed and opened paths.
The basic drawing tools as the Pen, Pencil, Brush, Line and Spiral Tools all draw open paths by default and, since closed shapes enable features that open shapes can't use - like Boolean for example - you may want to close an open element to make it more versatile.
Extend an open path
Open paths always have a gap between the endpoints.
To extend an unclosed path, select the path with the Selection Tool (first icon from the top in the Toolbar).
Then, select the Pen Tool (forth icon from the top in the Toolbar) and tap on one of the end Anchor Points of the path.
Then tap anywhere on the canvas to create the next point.
The path will be extended directly from this node.
Joining two open paths
Steps to do:
- Select two open and separate paths
- Open the Path Tab
- Tap the Join Paths button
Remember that the bottom-most path will stay in position while the paths above it will move accordingly to fit together. Also, when the Anchor Points are not overlapping, Vectornator automatically adds a line segment to connect the paths.
Tip for Vectornator Pro on Mac: You can also use the keyboard shortcut ⌃⇧J to Join Paths quickly and easily.
Closing an open path
Along with using the Join Path button to connect elements, you can connect them by using the Pen Tool.
Steps to do:
- Select the path with the Node Tool
- Activate the Pen Tool and tap one of the two anchor points at the end of the line
- Once that the node is selected, tap the other end node
- The path will be now closed
Editing a closed path
Select multiple paths
Located at the right of the Selection and the Node Tool, inside the Toolbar, you will find the button Multiple Selection (A).
This will allow you to select multiple paths by tapping the objects you need to select.
Duplicate a path with one tap
While the selection tool is active, tap the Duplicate button (B), placed at the right of the Selection Tool (1) inside the Toolbar, to enable duplicate mode.
Now you can drag any selected object to create a duplicate of it.
Resize a path keeping the aspect ratio
While drawing or resizing objects, hold the canvas with a second finger in order to lock the aspect ratio of the shape. Now you can resize while maintaining the aspect ratio, and draw perfect circles, squares and more.
Alternatively , you can also resize your path by using the "Resize Tool", after you select it using the Selection and the Node Tool.
Combine & Separate
Combine creates a compounded path of all the selected paths. They are still treated as single path sharing the same visuals. Compunded paths holes are appearing in areas where the paths are overlapping. The reverse path direction can influence this.
The Separate button will simply reverse the Combine function.
TIP: Using the combine action can be really useful when you want to change the color properties of a repeated path in your design at once.
By tapping this button, you can reverse the starting and the ending point of the selected path(s).
Outline a path
This button lets you convert the stroke of any path into an editable new path with a fill.
Note: Please consider that this action is not reversible.