Cog Tool in Affinity Designer Tutorial
By Andrew Buckle, Updated : 2022
How to use the cog tool in Affinity Designer application to create stunning cogs and gears. How to create a star design. How to modify the nodes of the cog and as well as round the corners of the shape and much more.
1. Where ?
The tool is found beneath the triangle tool in the application. As with the applications in the suite of applications, you can find the tool with the crescent, star, cloud, donut, arrow etc. Simply click the tool and then apply the tool to the current art board / document to create a vector shape
2. Interactive vector shape creator
It creates a vector design and is an interactive tool which means the generated artwork can be changed via the small setting dots on the side of the generated shape as well as along the top of the application. You may find the interactive features to use or the options bar (I generally alternate between them)
Or use the dots on the shape itself (accessible only when the tool is selected)
3. Color of the shape
You can set the color of the fill and stroke to anything. You can fill it with gradients as well as patterns as well as images. To fill with a gradient, select the design with the move tool and then go to the gradient tool and click and drag the line and release. You can also copy a design and then paste that inside the vector design by using the paste inside command (edit menu). You can also paste inside pattern layers as well as other layer designs
You can also change the type to bitmap and the fill then can be filled with a bitmap pattern, browse for the design and fill with any image. You can also paste text into the vector artwork to create all kinds of unique text designs.
4. Scaling and Rotation
Use the move tool to shift and scale and rotate the shape. You can also do the same via the cog tool. Resize or select top extended indicator and rotate. You can also use the large white dot on the vector to rotate it. Use the blue dots on the sides to scale it and squeeze it. You can also select the artwork and go to the transform panel and set the horizontal and vertical values as well as the rotation and the x and y position.
5. Curvature, radius etc
With the shape selected and the tool selected, you can modify the curvature, inner radius etc. The number of teeth can only be changed using the teeth setting. The other settings can be changed via the small dots : notch size and tooth size as well as inner radius and hole radius.
There is a curvature setting and it can be used to create some interesting curved designs but it depends on the tooth size and notch size.
6. Star creation
You can set the inner radius to the hole radius and the result will be a starburst design. Many different star designs can be generated using the teeth settings.
Here are some suggestions
chunks: teeth 29, inner 83%, hole radius 83%, tooth size 38%, notch size 43%
sharp separate triangles: teeth 29, inner 83%, hole radius 83%, tooth size 4%, notch size 43%
thin lines: teeth 45, tooth size 4%, inner 83%, hole radius 83%, notch size 100%
long thin lines: teeth 45, inner radius 43%, hole radius 43%, tooth size 4%, notch size 100%
curved edges: teeth 9, inner radius 84%, hole radius 0%, tooth size 47%, notch size 100%, curvature 100%
7. Setting up presets
You can also add to your presets. Go to the little gear (settings) wheel at the top of the application in the options bar
With a tool / shape selected you can create a preset. You can also manage the preset and you can just select one of the presets.
8. Creating a star burst in Affinity Designer
Select the tool and draw a vector shape and keep selected. Set the teeth to 48 & inner radius 69 & hole radius 60 & tooth size 0 & notch size 0 and then goto the Ellipse tool and create a circle in the center of the artwork
This creates a star burst design. You can change the notch setting to create different star artworks. You can also add other paths to the center of the star and then combine them using the union button.
9. How to round the corners of the design
You can modify the shape by using the corner tool. The corner tool can turn the sharp nodes into smooth, curved path. Once you have used the corner tool, the shape can no longer be changed using the interactive features so the inner radius, curvature are no longer accessible. You can use the different corner types to create many variant artworks
Select the tool and draw a path and select corner tool and drag and manipulate the sharp nodes with the corner tool - rounding them to smooth paths
10. node tool
Once you have finished with the tool, you can click the convert to curves button or right click and select the convert to curves. After the conversion, you can no longer use the tool to edit the artwork but you can use the node tool to move the individual nodes.
You can drag the nodes in all kinds of different directions. The path can also be manipulated further via the actions at the top of the application such as breaking the curve apart, smoothing the curve, reverse curves etc. You can also use the node tool to add additional nodes to the path by just clicking on the path in between the existing nodes.
11. text frame
Vector designs can be quickly turned into a text frame where you can add text, filler text and more. Go to the layer and convert to text frame command
12. Adding effects to the artwork
You can effects or layer styles to the artwork path. I would love to see more effects added but at preset only blurs, bevels, shadows etc are available. Goto the view menu and studio and effects. With the effects panel open, click the Gaussian blur check box and then set a value. Repeat with the other effects that you wish to use such as adding a bevel
Click the little gear design at the right side of the bevel etc to display a bigger range of options such as directions, highlights, profiles etc
You can combine the live tool in numerous ways with text as well as other shapes by using the layer menu and create compound command. Once you have a compound shape, the artwork within that can be moved around and re-sized and the tool can be quickly modified such as the number of points by using the points value or the interactive setting. You can still then shift the shape around and duplicate and more and build up a complex design
You can also add all kinds of strokes to the artwork by selecting the path and going to the stroke setting and clicking the style and setting the width as well as setting the path with an arrow as well as adding dashes and gaps to the design as well as modifying the stroke width via the pressure setting as well as changing the opacity variance to create a shimmery line instead of a solid line and also change the size variance and more. You can also use the appearance panel found via the view menu and studio to add additional strokes to the artwork. To do this, go to the bottom of the appearance panel and click either the add stroke (+) and add fill buttons. You can add multiple additional strokes though the ordering as well as the size and opacity and blending mode for each will change the end result.