Convert shape outlines to paint strokes

You can convert a shape outline into a paint stroke by modifying the brush type in the Inspector. After you assign a different brush type, paint stroke parameters become available. You can modify and animate the paint stroke’s brush parameters.

Convert an existing shape into an editable paint stroke

  1. Select an existing shape in the Layers list, Canvas, or Timeline.

  2. In the Shape HUD or Style pane of the Shape Inspector, select the Outline checkbox.

    Modify any Outline parameter you want. In this example, the outline is widened and colored orange.

    Canvas showing circle shape with and without Outline checkbox selected
  3. In the Style pane of the Shape Inspector, click the Brush Type pop-up menu, then choose Airbrush.

    After you change the brush type to Airbrush (or Image), the following occurs:

    • The shape fill options are disabled.

      Note: The shape fill options are not available unless the Brush Type pop-up menu is set to Solid.

    • The shape icon in the Layers list becomes a paint stroke icon.

      Layers list showing circle shape with paint stroke icon
    • The stroke softens because it’s using a soft brush type. You can modify the brush profile to vary opacity within the brush, or apply a custom opacity gradient to the brush profile in the Style pane of the Inspector.

    • The Stroke pane becomes available in the Shape Inspector. Use the Stroke pane to set the Stroke Color Mode and Brush Scale parameters, and to adjust other options.

    • The Advanced pane becomes available in the Shape Inspector. The Advanced pane contains a single group of Dynamics controls that allow the dabs of a paint stroke to be animated like particles. For more information on Dynamics, see Advanced pane.

  4. Use the controls in the Style, Stroke, and Advanced panes of the Shape Inspector to modify or animate your paint stroke.

    In the example below, the Additive Blend parameter is enabled in the Style pane. Additionally, the Color Over Stroke, Spacing Over Stroke, Width Over Stroke, Brush Scale, and Brush Scale Randomness parameters are modified in the Stroke pane.

    Canvas showing circle transformed into animated paint stroke