Using vector layers





Hello, welcome to this new TIPS, this time I will present the concepts to master vector layers. These can be used for a wide number of ways, such as maintaining the resolution of a lineart, drawing backgrounds in a simple way, making stickers, reusing resources, etc. Today we will learn about them. Without more to say…

Let's start!!

1. What is a vector layer?

As you already know, art programs are cultural software programmed with knowledge of programming and mathematics. But, you will say, what does that have to do with vectors? Well, vectors are geometric representations that are represented by mathematical formulas. Given their nature, vector layers allow us to manipulate lines at will without losing quality in the process, which normal (raster) layers do not.

I recommend using vector layers for exceptional line handling in the early stages of an illustration.


In CLIP STUDIO PAINT we will find two types of layers: raster layer and vector layer. Normally, we use the raster layer to do the normal rendering process; it has all the functions and tools of the program to use, but, on the other hand, the vector layer is limited, there are functions and tools that cannot be used in it.


In these layers we can use the tools, line creation functions, coloring, adding filters, etc. It is the layer in which we can always draw, paint and process. But in terms of its operation, it turns out that a raster layer is made up of a set of invisible points (bitmaps) that we normally know as pixels that are contained in a table. These points contain one or more values that describe their color.

The canvas would look like the following if the bitmap were visible:

What does this mean? Well, it implies that we fill in the pixels and this brings with it a weakness. Although in this layer you can do everything, it has a weak point; that is, when we scale the image with the "Transform" tool in any of its variants (transform mesh, skew, etc.) it loses quality, suffers a loss of information called distortion, becomes blurry, pixelated.

Let's see with the bee below, when we increase its size with respect to the original line, the line loses clarity. This is why these layers are recommended for inking and post-production of illustrations.


On the other hand, the vector layer does not have that weakness, no matter how much we scale the image, it does not lose quality, but it also has its defects; In it you cannot use all the tools or fusions of the program as in the previous one, but we can make a mixture between both layers, use the vector layer for lineart and the raster layers for ink.

The lines of a vector layer record the trajectory and the pressure, which means that the program makes the calculations that make it possible for the images not to lose quality regardless of the scale they have.

The points that can be seen when passing the cursor with the «Object» tool over the lines are called «Control Points», with them we can modify the information of the line (I will explain about it later).

The features that make this tool special, apart from maintaining the quality of the line, is the editing of drawn lines, such as: Control point, simplify line, connect line, modify line width, redraw line, reduce width, etc. We will see each of them later.

► Create vector layers

In the layer window we will find three important options:

1. New raster layer
2. New vector layer
3. New layer folder

These layer functions will help us to maintain order in the work process.
Note: When we create a new canvas, a raster layer appears by default.

There are three ways to create vector layers.

① First method: After creating a new canvas we will go to the following path: Layer (L) > New Layer > Vector Layer.

② Second method: This is the easiest way to open a new vector layer; we have to click on the second icon, the one with a cube in its center in the «Layer» palette.

This icon will always indicate that it is a vector layer. You'll see it appear on the layer's thumbnail.

③ Third method: We will go to the three stripes that are located in the upper left part of the «Layer» palette. When clicking, a menu will appear where we will follow the following route: New layer > Vector layer.

This form will show us a window that will allow us to choose the color of the expression and a combination mode, in addition to naming it before creating it.

2. Vector Eraser


There are three ways to use the eraser. The vector rubber is found in the subtools of "Rubber" is named as "Vector".

Note: If we erase with another eraser that is not the vector one and that does not have the "Vector Eraser" box active (explained in the following note), what will actually happen will be another transparent vector line to hide that part.

With the vector eraser this doesn't happen, as seen in the GIF below, the vector eraser creates empty space and splits the line into new independent segments.

Note 2: Although there is specifically the vector eraser, if we look at the properties of the other erasers we will find that they all have a section called "Vector eraser" that allows us to use the same functions as those of the vector eraser; To activate it, you just have to enable the box; With it we can make any eraser work as a vector eraser, this means that another vector will not be created when erasing as explained above.

If this setting doesn't appear in the eraser properties, we'll go to the wrench at the bottom right of the tool properties. A window will appear, from there we will go to the "Eraser" section, we will activate the eye of the "Vector Eraser" function. We can add this setting to the other drafts in the same way. Done, now we can use any eraser as a vector eraser.

In the "Tool Properties" window of the vector eraser we will find three functions:

① Standard Eraser: This function converts the vector eraser as a normal eraser.

② Delete until intersection: This, on the other hand, deletes the line that touches until the intersection with another line. This is the most interesting of the three functions because it allows us to do many things, but we will see concrete examples later.

③ Delete complete line: With this function we can delete a complete line, even if there are other interposed lines in it.


By having the vector eraser we have the advantage of not being so precise when drawing the lines, that is, leaving longer lines on the edge of the building and then quickly erasing them. It's not easy to be precise so we can get off, so the rubber will help us. But in general any unnecessary trace can be erased very easily.

With the vector eraser we can erase even the smallest line to have a clean job.

Another way to create cities is by just using 2D artwork and attaching it to a sketch of a city with one or more vanishing points. Furthermore, this is a technique that does not require a graphics tablet at all, the very tools used in the process have the wonderful feature that they automatically stabilize the lines to make them straight and wobble-free.

Some time ago I did a tutorial on how to make a futuristic city using this method, I leave the post below:

3. Manipulate Lines (Line Correction)

With the sub tool «Line correction» it allows us to modify the lines of the vector layers. Although this is not the only way to edit the lines, it is undoubtedly the most used.

To get to these settings we will go to the icon with an arrow pointing to a node in the tool palette.

Another way to access it is by clicking the second (Control Point), third (Pinch Line) or fourth (Modify Line Width) icon in the “Tool Navigation” section on the “Layer Property” palette, which are the shortcuts for those functions found in the line correction sub tools.

Note: If you don't have the Layer Property palette open on your desktop, you can open it in the following path: Window > Layer Property. Then you can dock it behind the layer window like I have it, or somewhere else.

► Checkpoint

The vectors in CLIP STUDIO PAINT are formed by control points, the function of this section precisely allows us to control them. By selecting this tool we can see in the "Tool Property" window a series of options to modify the control points.

I will explain each of them below:


This is the easiest of all, since it allows us to move the control points of the stroke.


Clicking on any empty segment of the line will add a control point.


This function, on the other hand, removes, control points; by clicking on the point you want to delete, it will disappear. When we make a stroke with the brushes, many control points are created in the lines, to eliminate some of them we use this adjustment, but try not to delete so many because the original shape of the line can be lost.


With this we can change the curve from a line to a straight line or vice versa. Useful for giving lines a rough or smooth look.


Long-clicking and dragging to the left on a control point makes the line width thin, while dragging to the right makes it thick on the other hand.


Dragging the cursor to the left over a control point makes the opacity of the control point lower, while dragging to the right makes the opacity higher (if it was previously lowered at that point).


By clicking on a control point we can separate it from the continuous line to which it belongs.

► Pinch line

The pinch line function allows us to drag a line as if we were picking it up on pincers.

In the tool properties we will find three sections to modify the clamp, below an explanation of them:


Within this menu we find three options:

① Set Both Ends: Holds both ends in their home position while dragging the center.
② Repair 1 end: Holds one end in its starting position while lifting the other end.
③ Release both ends: Move both ends at the same time.


This function adjusts the curvature of the gripper when moving the line. It has five levels, the first gives us a small area, the higher the area increases.


On the other hand, this function regulates the size of the pinched area.

► Simplify line

The Simplify Line tool below transforms the lines in the vector layer into simpler lines.

This tool has three functions.

① Simplify: Selected lines lose control points, causing the figure to be simplified. Displaying the menu we can adjust the details of the simplification by activating and deactivating "Smooth the corner" which, as its name indicates, smoothes the corners and "Process full line", on the other hand, applies the effects to the entire line and In addition, if we have this option active, it allows us to access a new function "Convert curve" that helps us to give other shapes to the line already drawn.

Simplify has five levels, the first one removes virtually no control points, while the highest removes a huge amount.

② Delete the shortest line: With it we can delete lines that have a length less than a specific one. For example, setting the tool to 50px will erase lines that are no more than 50px long.

③ Brush Size: Adjust the size of the brush.

Note: The higher the “Simplify” value is, the more control points will be removed, which can lead us to lose the original shape as we see at the end of the GIF above.

► Connect line

An easy function: connect two drawn lines.

As in the previous one, this tool has three functions.

① Simplify: Selected lines lose control points, causing the figure to be simplified. Displaying the menu we can adjust the details of the simplification by activating and deactivating "Smooth the corner" which, as its name indicates, smoothes the corners and "Process full line", on the other hand, applies the effects to the entire line and In addition, if we have this option active, it allows us to access a new function "Convert curve" that helps us to give other shapes to the line already drawn.

② Connect lines: This setting must be enabled, otherwise it will not be possible to connect the lines. Also, we can specify the distance between the lines that it can detect.

③ Brush Size: Adjust the size of the brush.

Example 1: To connect two separate lines we have to raise the percentage of the "Connect line" bar. as seen in the GIF below.

Example 2: To connect two nearby lines we have to lower the percentage of the "Connect line" bar. Thus we reduce the number of lines by grouping them to have a faster handling with the "Object" tool that we will see later.

► Modify line width

Increases and decreases the thickness of the line. Each of these settings has a percentage bar with which we can measure the amount of change in the lines.


Increases or decreases the width of the line by the given length of the line outline. With this setting the tip of the line can be rounded.


Increases or decreases the width of the line by the given length of the line outline. With this setting the tip of the line cannot be rounded.


Wrap the line depending on the width specified in the option by rounding both corners.

► Reduce line

Redraw the ready-made vector lines.

This function has the options: ① Set end ② Connect lines ③ Simplify. In addition, the functions of this setting are the same as those already explained above.

4. Manipulate lines (Operation > Object)

Unlike the previous point, where the tool and its multiple options allowed us to correct the line, now the "Object" tool allows us to control the lines.

To access it, we must go to the following route: In the “Tool” palette, we choose Operation > Object.

Another way to access it is from the layer properties, as mentioned in the line correction section. In this case, the icon is the first of the “Tool Navigation”.

When clicking on a line, the control points and a bounding box will appear that will allow us to access the modification options that we will see below.

First of all we must learn that the most basic thing we can do with the object tool: is to precisely move the selected object, dragging it will move it to the indicated place or move the control points as in the “Move control point” function.

In the properties of the subtool we will find the following settings that will allow us:

But first, in order to use it we have to have the “Vector” option active in the “Selectable Object” dropdown menu.


Changes the color of the selected line.

TRICK 1: To select several lines and thus be able to change their color quickly, you have to hold down the SHIFT key while selecting the other lines with the cursor. This method of selecting lines is time consuming, but useful when we want to select only certain lines, but if we want to select everything, the following trick is indicated.

Note: With the “Connect line” setting we can join them so as not to have to select so many separate lines, as shown in the example in that section.

TRICK 2: This method to select multiple lines is the easiest to use. To do this we will go to the properties of the "Object" tool, once there we will display the menu: "Operation of the transparent part", in the options that will appear we will activate "Select the dragging area" and we will indicate "Object" in the options to be enabled.

Done, we already have an effective way to save time activated. Every time you click and drag the cursor using the «Object» tool a bounding box will be created, all the lines that are inside this box will be selected automatically. This way we avoid selecting one by one manually.


Changes the width of the selected line. This function can be used to fix the line of a smaller or larger scaled figure.

It often happens that when scaling a shape the lines appear wider or thinner with respect to the proportion of the size. To improve it we can use this brush size adjustment, after scaling the figure we select the line or lines and lower or increase the size. Doing this every time we scale can be tedious, so let's look at another, easier method for maintaining line aspect ratio next.

Another way to maintain the proportion of the line in an easier way than the previous one is while we have the object in the process of transforming, in the "Object tool properties" palette we will find the option "Change vector width" this will help us to maintain the proportion of the line, because if we do not have this option activated when reducing the scale the lines will be wider and the shape will be lost or if we increase the scale the line will be thinner and thinner. But with this action active the line maintains an appropriate width with respect to the scale.

If we leave this option active whenever we scale the line, it will have a proportion according to the scale, in this way we will not need to use the previous method always, only in specific cases.


Change the pattern of the brush after the line is painted. With this setting we can easily change the textures of the lines.

The program brings some preset shapes, but if we want to add our brushes what we have to do is select a brush from the brushes palette, then we will go to the wrench that is in the lower right part of the «Tool property» palette », when clicking, a window will appear where we will go to the «Brush shape» setting, once there we will click on the «Register as preset» option. Done, we already have a new brush to change the shape of the line.


Within mode we find the same options as the "Transform" and "Line correction" tools (seen above), these are: Manipulate bounding boxes and control points, scale (increase) / scale (decrease) / rotate, transform free.

The option "Adjust the thickness of the line when scaling" will help us so that the line maintains a proportion of width with respect to the original to avoid some lines that are wider than others.

5. What tools can we use on vector layers?

► We cannot use

In vector layers we cannot use all the tools, and some functions are exclusive to vector layers, such as those mentioned in the previous sections. Some tools that we cannot use are:

➜ Filters
➜ Mix Colors/ Blur
➜ Fill Tools
➜ Block transparent pixels
➜ Gradients
➜ Tonal corrections

Note: All the functions or settings of the mentioned tools cannot be used in vector layers.

As can be seen in the GIF below, with the cursor I go through and open the menus of the mentioned tools, but they appear disabled, an indication that they cannot be used. To use them we would have to use a raster layer.

➜ Snap to layer below and then snap to layer below

If we create a vector layer, then we draw something and finally we create a new vector layer above and adjust it to the lower layer, when we want to couple it with the lower one, the normal clipping effect will be lost, since what was hidden until then will appear instead of disappearing when snapped to the bottom layer as it normally does. This may be due to a merge problem. So I don't recommend flattening vector layers, it's better to group them in a folder and use them separately.

► Yes we can use

Now let's see what tools we can use. All the functions or settings of the tools mentioned below can be used in vector layers.

➜ Shape tool

Note: The fill functions of this tool cannot be used. If we have these options active, when we capture the figure in its vector layer, only the outline will appear, the fill will be non-existent. As you can see, within vector layers this function appears disabled, an indication that they cannot be used.

➜ Curve tools
➜ Selection
➜ Rubber
➜ Blend
➜ Rules
➜ Blending modes
➜ Opacity
➜ Transform
➜ Refer to multiple layers
➜ Layer mask
➜ Vector tools mentioned above (Correct Line, Object, Eraser).
➜ Dialogue balloons
➜ Bullets

Although if we can use the brushes, they have some points to consider, let's see what they are:

➜ Brushes

Certainly, we can use several brushes, but it must be emphasized that not all of them, some are not available, and also the texture that they give us can only be seen and modified in a vector layer within CLIP STUDIO PAINT because when we want to export it in format SVG to use the vector in another program we will lose that information, only the line will remain. Also, by not being able to mix the colors we will find ourselves with another difficulty if we want to do more than comfortably control the lineart.

Another point to keep in mind is that since you can't use blending tools, we won't be able to match the colors very well with each other in the best way. The best we can do when painting on vector layers will be jerky results.

The reason we can use some brushes is because it's actually a line similar to a constant brush stroke. As we see in the GIF below, the colors of the bee are actually continuous lines because we can see the control points when we hover over the pointer, this means that we can modify them with the tools explained above.

6. Lineart con mouse

We usually think that if we don't have a graphics tablet we won't be able to do our illustrations, but that's not true. In CLIP STUDIO PAINT there are a series of tools that will allow us to use the mouse effectively.


The figure tool allows us to create shapes and borders that we can implement in our lineart, the subtool that we will address in this section will be "Curve".

To use it, you simply have to keep a sustained click and sweep it to the length you want, once there we release it. We will see some semi-transparent guides attached to each end of the line, these will allow us to modify its curvature.

The main reason we are using this tool is because of the “Vector Magnet” setting. This allows us to connect the ends of the lines automatically without the need to use the “Connect line” function seen before. As we see in the following GIF, the green lines made with the deactivated adjustment are separated, while the pink ones are united despite being created by multiple strokes.

The function has five levels of strength, the first being able to connect extremely close lines, while the fifth can join lines with a considerable level of distance between them.

To make the lineart of the bear I used, apart from the figure, the "Symmetrical ruler" tool, it works like a mirror, what is drawn on one side, is reflected symmetrically in the opposite coordinate to the center of the ruler's location.

Note: The other line, curve and brush tools can have this function active, to add it to the other tools what we have to do is go to the wrench that is located in the lower right part of the "Tool Properties" palette » When clicking, a window will appear in which we will go to the «Correction» section, once there we will enable the «Vector magnet» option by clicking on the eye icon. Done, now we can make different strokes, for example with the G nib, but that they all remain united.

Clarifications: You cannot join lines that are created with different brushes or that have different colors and also, you cannot join two lines that have a different level of smoothness.

To make a lineart with a mouse, I would advise you to first make your sketch on paper, then take a photo or pour it over, and then import it into CLIP STUDIO PAINT.

When I already had my paper illustration imported into a layer, I lowered the opacity of the layer and then created a new vector layer above the sketch. I started by making the lineart with the curve tool and the "Vector Magnet" setting active.

Once I had the complete lineart, I modified the width of the line and corrected some errors by moving the control points using the tools explained in previous sections. The final result is the following:

7. Create a Vector Fill Brush

As we already saw, we can't use the fill tool and the brushes inside the vector layers are often not efficient to give it color, but it's not a problem because we can create our own fill brush. It should be noted that this brush is only useful for giving simple colors, rough lights and shadows, ideal for flat illustrations or similar, if you want more realistic finishes it is essential to use raster layers for color.

Let's see the steps:

① First, in the brush sub tool window, there we will click on the three lines that are in the upper left.

② In the menu that will appear we will choose the option “Create custom sub tool”

③ In the window that will appear we can choose the name, I will put "Vectorial fill". Now I will explain the important settings to create the brush:

1. In the output process we will choose the option: "Create sandwich".
2. In the entry process we will choose: «Continuous curve».
3. In the tool icon we will choose: «Sandwich».

As an extra we can choose a color for the icon by activating the "Icon background color" box. The color box will be activated where we can choose it.

④ Immediately after accepting, the "Sub tool details" window will appear. In the left menu we will move to the “Create sandwich” option. Here we will choose in the "Line / fill" section "Create fill" and we will make the palette visible by clicking on the first box of the options, we will also make the "Add" palette visible.

Ready. We already have our brush, now...


First, within the tool properties we will activate the “Create new layer” option. This way new layers will be created automatically. This will help us to have an order, but if you wish you can keep the option “Add to selected layer” which will allow you to fill everything in the same layer. Now, in a layer below the lineart we will delimit the area that we want to fill.

Note: The layers that will be created are of the type Bubble (text).

Ok, using the method of keeping the color layers below the lineart we will start to fill.

As I mentioned at the beginning, the layer created will be vector, so we can modify the fill as explained in previous sections.

The process is as follows: We can add shadows with the same vector fill tool and combine it with the blend modes and layer opacity for greater realism.

When we already have our vector illustration, to improve it we can add a border. To do this we will group all the layers in a folder. Now, with that folder selected, we will go to the "Layer Properties" window where we will activate "Border Effect" which is the circle icon. In the lower bar we can modify the width of the border and below it is the option to change the color.

8. Convert Layer

Another thing we can do is convert vector layers to raster layers and vice versa from raster to vector, but I don't recommend this second one very much because the quality of the line is not very good.


To make the convention we will place ourselves with the cursor over the vector layer that we want to transform, we will right click; A series of options will appear from which we will choose “Convert layer (H)”. A window will appear where we can name the layer and change the following settings:

Type(K): Here we will change the vector layer to raster by pulling down the menu and selecting the “Raster layer” option.

In the other options we can change the “Expression color” and “The combination modes (Fusion)”. Finally, at the end of the options we will find a box that allows us to keep the original layer, this means that a raster layer will be created separately, leaving the vector layer intact; this can be useful to keep the vector information for any changes you want to make.


To convert to a vector layer we will follow the steps previously described to convert from vector to raster, only this time in the "Type(K)" setting we will change the option to "vector layer". After selecting "vector layer" a new setting is enabled: "Vector settings", here we can modify the line width, smoothing, correction, density threshold and determine if we want everything in black.

Ready. We can now make use of the vector properties (change line width, change color, etc.) in our illustration.

As you can see at the end of the previous GIF, the lines after converting the layer to vector look shaky, very poorly defined; This is where the vector settings can help us improve the line a bit, but in general converting a raster layer to vector does not have the best quality.


1. Line width: Change the width of the line.
2. Correction (S): Simplifies the line. Vary the value to get various levels of simplification. The correction range varies from 1 to 20.

Here we have a convention with the values "Line width: 30" and "Correction: 10"

3. Export All Black (B): Makes all lines black.
4. Include White in Convention (W): White lines are included when converting the layer and they turn black.

Now we have a colorful fruit that when converted with these settings activated, it lost its colors turning into pure black lines.

5. Smoothing: Smoothes the finish of the lines. It has four levels from: "Nothing" to "Strong".
6. Density Threshold (T): This is a slightly more difficult function to use, it allows us to measure the value of the colors for the conversion of the line. It has a range from 1 (white) to 255 (black).

Let's say we have the density set to 200, when converting the program will do a comparison, colors that have a value that is below 200 will be ignored and colors that are above 200 will be used as a fill and the The resulting line will appear at its maximum width.

Conclusion, the various settings should be varied as needed to get the best result from the line. Let's see in the following GIF how we convert two blocks, the first in vector adjustments has smoothness at maximum, which results in a clean line when converted to vector layer; while the second block has the smoothness set to nothing, this results in a shaky line, plus it has the “Export all black (B)” option active.

Note 1: When converting a raster layer to vector, the fills will be lost, only the outline, the line, will remain.
Note 2: Layers that have more than 16 colors cannot be converted.

9. Export Layers as SVG

The SVG file is compatible with other programs such as Illustrator, which allows us to handle vectors made in CLIP STUDIO PAINT in other programs. So, let's see how to export in SVG.

① We will select the layer; we can also select several layers, but these layers have to be vector.

② Then we will go to the following path: File > Export Vectors. Done, the layers will be exported as a single SVG file.

Note: SVG files only save line and pressure information, not fills, so opening it will only show the outlines of the fills. Also, Speech Bubble layers cannot be exported by themselves as an SVG file.

Let's also see that, for example, if we change the reason of the line for another brush (explained previously) when we export it, only the information of the line will be saved.

10. Registrar material

With vector layers we can do many things, such as stickers or landscapes that we can reuse in other jobs. To make them easily accessible, the program allows us to save them as materials that we can later upload to the cloud to use them on other devices. Let's see how to do it:


① We will select the active layer of the illustration that we want to make material, if, on the contrary, we have several layers, we will group them in a folder.

② We will go to the following path: Edit > Register Material > Image.

③ In the window that will appear we can name the material, choose the position in the Layer palette (by adding it to the canvas the layer will be ordered above or below the priority compared to the others) and choose the save location within the same program .

Once the configurations are established, we will accept and it will appear in the materials folder we chose.


① We will go to CLIP STUDIO (we have to access within our account), there we will go to "Manage materials", within the options we will enter the "This device" tab.

② We will activate the synchronization by clicking on the slider that is in the lower left part of the material to be saved. Then, we will click on the cloud icon that is on the side. The material will be uploaded to the cloud (you can see the upload process in the "Data transfers" tab).

Ready. If we go to the "Cloud" tab we will see all the synchronized materials.


Whether it is for an Android/ Galaxy/ Chromebook/ macOs/ iPad/ iPhone device, we will be able to download the materials from the cloud. Let's see how to do it:

① First we will access the account where we have saved the material from the device. Then, we will go to: Menu> Manage materials. Now, we will access the cloud tab, there will be the materials.

② We will download the materials by clicking on the cloud at the bottom left. The material will be downloaded (you can see the download process in the tab: Menu > Data transfers).

③ The materials will appear inside the download folder, we can see them in the “This device” tab or in the materials inside a canvas, ready to use.


I hope that what you have seen in this tutorial is to your liking and helpful, sorry for being so long. Well, nothing to say. Thanks for coming this far! ପ(๑•̀ुᴗ•̀ु)* ॣ৳৸ᵃᵑᵏ Ꮍ৹੫ᵎ *ॣ

Vibrate high!!! We don't see each other another time ( •⌄• ू ) ✧



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