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Add Sub Brushes in Affinity Photo Tutorial Beginner's Guide

By Andrew Buckle, Video Tutorial Creator / Designer

Updated : 2021


Sub brushes can be added to brushes in Affinity Photo. Sub brushes allow you to modify any brush in countless ways and is a super useful feature of Affinity Photo.


Select the paint brush tool found in the tools bar in Affinity Photo. Go to the brushes panel, you can find this via the view menu and studio and brushes and then doube click one of the brushes or go to the right side menu and create a new brush. In the brush editor panel you will notice there are four tabs and the sub brushes is the last tab.


You will probably see an entry or two or more already. You can remove any of the entries by clicking the sub brush entry and clicking the remove. You can also add a new sub brush to your Affinity Photo brush by clicking the add bitmap option or add round. Click the add bitmap option and then browse for a file such as brush stroke PNG file but it can be anything such as a lot of text or a rough image or one of your photos etc. Click open and yu will see the sub brush has been added to your sub brushes. Select it and you can change how it draws with the 'at current nozzle' or behind or at end of stroke, the difference is often very subtle.


Ypu can also blend or use the sub brush to erase which is actually quite effective in create some very unusual brushes as it cuts away from the current brush. You can see the result in the preview top screen.


Some images such as standard square images are rarely that effective, I generally go for sub brushes PNG files that have transparency such as a circular or arc design etc. You can create an image and save it as a PNG file and then use it as a sub brush in Affinity. Remember to change the spacing for your sub brush otherwise the end result can be much the same whatever image you use. You can add more and more sub brushes to your brush stroke and you can build up a complex design with blending and erase


You can edit the sub brush to change the spacing etc as well as the size and dynamics etc and this is for each sub brush added. Simply select the sub brush and then click edit and you will see three tabs this time, the sub brush does not have a sub brush as that would get complex)


Close the panel and then use your new brush with the sub brushes in Affinity Photo. It should be noted that if you want to keep both the old brush as well as the new brush, it is best to duplicate the brush before you start changing the sub brush settings.


You can also export the brushes via the right side menu of the brushes panel and save your brushes / sub brushes for future use.