Using The Christmas Paper Cutout Collection For Affinity Designer

Creating a new scene using the Christmas Paper Cutout Collection for Affinity Designer is very straightforward, and only a few points need to be covered here for beginners. First we'll look at importing the assets into Affinity Designer, and then move on to a few basics of creating a festive scene. 

Before we start, if you haven't yet grabbed your copy of the Christmas Paper Cutout Collection, hit the Ko-fi store button below and get a 25% discount

Importing The Assets Into Affinity Designer

1/ With Affinity Designer open, make sure you're in Designer Persona. 

2/ Towards the top right of Affinity Designer select the Assets tab. Now hit the four lines icon to the right of the tabs, highlighted in green.

3/ If you don't see the Assets tab go to View > Studio and from the menu select Assets. If any of the other tabs mentioned here are missing in your version of Affinity Designer, this is where you'll find them.

4/ After clicking on the icon to the right of the tabs, (the icon highlighted in green above), this drop down menu will appear. Select Import Assets.

5/ Navigate to where the paper cutout collection is stored on your PC, and select the Assets file. Now hit Open.

6/ The Christmas 1 category will now appear under the Assets tab, along with all the subcategories.

7/ Importing all the elements that make up the paper cutout collection is the same as above. Just make sure the relevant tab is selected first.

For example, to import the brushes, select the Brushes tab. Now select the icon with the horizontal lines, then select Import Brushes.

8/ The vector brushes will now appear under the Brushes tab. When the raster brushes are imported they will appear under Pixel Persona.

9/ The process is exactly the same for the styles and the colour palette. Just make sure the relevant tab is selected before hitting the horizontal lines icon.

Using The Christmas Paper Cutout Collection For Affinity Designer


1/ Using the assets we've just imported into Affinity Designer is mostly a case of dragging them from the Assets tab.

Before you begin, its helps to know which of the borders you want to use, because some are landscape and some are portrait. Most of them are A2 in size, so this should be selected when creating a new document.

2/ Drag a border or empty scene onto the canvas area, then use the Align tool (highlighted in red) to place it centrally.

3/ Right click on the scene/border in the layers panel, and from the drop down menu select Ungroup (Ctrl > Shift G). This is so we can edit its components. 

4/ The Layers panel now shows the ungrouped sections of the scene. You'll see however, that there are still some grouped items. These are the parts that make up the foreground (Border 1), middleground (Border 2), and far-ground (Border 3), and they each have two layers. This is to give them a sense of having a little depth, much like a real paper cut scene.

5/ We won't create a full scene here, but to demonstrate how the Paper Cutout Collection works we'll add a few houses and join them to the far-ground.

Under Assets, click on the Paper Cut Houses subcategory and drag a house onto the scene. It will probably need to be resized. Hold down Ctrl > Shift and drag a corner.

6/ There are two ways of showing items in a scene. To appear part of a far-ground, middleground, or foreground, an item can be placed just behind the appropriate layer. For example, for this house to appear part of the far-ground it could be positioned just behind the far-ground layer.

However, in this example we're going to use the second method, which is to join the house to the far-ground layer. To do this first we need to ungroup the two layers that make up the house (Ctrl > Shift G).

7/ Just to make things a little more scenic, we'll drag another house into the scene and ungroup that too.

8/  Since we're going to join the houses to the far-ground layer (here named Border 3), we need to ungroup that item too. 

If you get confused with which layer is which, click on one in the scene and see what its called in the Layers panel, (naming layers saves a lot of time).

9/  As we already know, each item is made up of two layers. What we want to do is join the lower layers of the houses with the lower layer of Border 3. We then want to join the top layers of each item.
First in the Layers panel, move the lower layers of the two houses so they're next to the lower layer of the Border 3 item.
10/ Select the three layers by holding down the Shift key. Then select Add from the boolean options, (highlighted in red, above. These are also known as Geometry in Affinity Designer).

11/ Repeat this with the top layers of the two houses and the top Border 3 layer. Now the two houses and the Border 3 items all consist of just two layers.

As can be seen above, the houses and land now have a colour and gradient that looks out of place.

12/ Using one of the Styles included with the Christmas Paper Cutout Collection can help to fix this.

13/ The style already has a gradient, but by seelcting the Fill tool (highlighted in red), this can be adjusted, so the layer blends in better with the scene.

 14/ The shadow effect on the lower layer will also need adjusting.

15/ With the lower layer selected, hit the Effects (FX) tab. The Outer Shadow option is already ticked because these lower layers already had the Outer Shadow effect applied. After having been joined together however, this effect is not what it should be.

16/ Click on Outer Shadow and the above area highlighted in red will show. Editing the shadow using the settings available is quite intuitive, but the image above gives some idea of what was used here.

17/ To keeps things nice and tidy, the two layers with the houses have been grouped.

Adding A Tree

1/ Not all items will look good when joined to another layer in the scene, examples of which are the snowman and the robin. The tree however is a special case because the top layer only forms the left side of the tree, and has its own shading.

2/ The best way to utilise the tree is to ungroup it, along with the layer you want it placed on.

3/ Join the lower layer of the tree with the lower layer of the corresponding border layer. Keep the top layer of the tree on its own layer.

That covers pretty much all you need to know about using the Christmas Paper Cutout Collection for Affinity Designer. Everything is a simple and intuitive process, so if you find a way of building up scenes thats more suited to you, then feel free to ignore everything here. Enjoy creating your festive scenes, and sharing them with others.