Concepts is a vector-based app, which gives you the powerful freedom to pick up and move, tweak or change any stroke at any time, even after it’s drawn. It allows you to make changes to your designs with minimal effort - instead of redrawing an entire project, you can just select what needs to be adjusted and change it. Perfect for design iterations, reorganizing mind-maps, or preparing materials for clients after feedback, Selection frees you to accomplish more.
There are four ways to Select (aka pick up) a stroke or multiple strokes in your sketch.
- Use the Selection tool. In the Brushes menu, you can choose the Selection tool (the arrow) and set it as a separate tool on your tool wheel or bar. Touch the screen to use it like you use any tool.
- Tap+hold anywhere on canvas to activate Selection. This is a really nice shortcut so you don’t have to interrupt your drawing flow by changing tools.
- If you’re using an Apple Pencil, configure your Finger Action to Select (Settings → Gestures). Your finger will work as the Selection tool while the Apple Pencil follows your selected preset in the tool wheel.
- If you want to select all strokes on a single layer, you can tap on the active layer to open the Layer Selection pop-up. Tapping the cursor icon will select everything on that layer.
The Selection Menu
Once you’ve activated selection by any of the above options, you’ll find a popup at the bottom of the screen. This is your Selection menu. The Selection menu helps you to filter the strokes you’d like to select from, so whenever you select something, this menu will hang around.
- When using the Selection tool from your tool wheel, the menu will remain on screen as long as the brush is active.
- When Selecting via the tap+hold, the menu will remain for as long as your finger rests on screen. With a second finger, you can toggle the menu buttons to set your filters (we’ll talk about those below).
In the Selection menu, depending on which toggle you have active, you’ll find from left to right:
- A Selection Type toggle, for which selection method you’d like active. Tap it to toggle between Item Picker (single item selection, with the ability to add or subtract strokes individually), Lasso (multi-select using drag to lasso your strokes), and Color Picker (select color and vector properties from strokes).
- A Stroke Type toggle, allowing you to choose whether you’d like to select Partial or Complete strokes inside your selection.
- A Lock toggle, which includes or ignores any strokes you may have locked while drawing.
- A Layers toggle, so you can choose whether to select inside your Active layer only, or inside All layers at once.
On the first, left-hand toggle is your Lasso. The lasso allows you to select items by dragging your finger across or around your strokes. Whatever the blue lasso touches will be part of your selection. Lasso again to subtract from the selection.
If you lasso a selection and decide you want to add further individual strokes, toggle the button back to Item Picker via the Filters toggle, and continue making your selections.
If you tap the Selection Type toggle again, you’ll find the Item Picker. This is a single item selection mechanism that allows you to add and subtract individual strokes to your selection.
To use Item Picker, set your finger or stylus on the screen. A small crosshairs or plus (+) will appear above your finger, or at the tip of your stylus.
When you touch the crosshairs to a stroke, a circle will appear, telling you it has located a stroke. Tap the screen to validate the stroke, and lift your finger from the screen. The stroke will be selected.
To add strokes to your selection, just drag the crosshairs to your next stroke and tap the screen to select it. It doesn’t matter whether you have lifted your finger from the screen or not, you can select as many strokes as you’d like.
To subtract a stroke from your selection, drag the crosshairs to an already selected stroke. You’ll see the plus turn to a minus. Tap the screen to accept it.
The third Selection toggle is the Color Picker. This is a vector color picker with a few more capabilities than standard color pickers in other apps. It allows you to select and remember color, brush and stroke properties, and set them to your tools.
In addition to the Selection toggle, you can activate the color picker from the Color Wheel. Open the wheel, find the eyedropper, and tap it to use it.
When Color Picker is active, drag the circle with crosshairs across the screen. You’ll see the top half of the picker changes colors and transparency according to the character of the color beneath it, while the bottom half of the picker displays your active tool’s current color. When you let go of the color picker, the new color will be assigned to the tool.
In the selection menu at the bottom of the screen, you’ll see an option for “Alpha On”. This means the color reflected will be calculated as if the color were against a transparent background. It grabs the actual flat color without applying opacity to the brush
Finally, you’ll see a tool tag floating above the color picker. This tag recalls the exact tool you used to draw each stroke in your drawing. If you’re having trouble remembering which tool you used in what color, tap the tag and the tool will be applied to your tool slot.
You can find an illustrated tutorial about the Color Picker here.
Adjusting a Selection
Once you’ve selected a stroke or group of strokes, you’ll notice the Selection menu at the bottom of the screen has shifted to give you a few more helpful toggles.
- Rotate. Allows you to rotate your selection. Tap it on or tap it off.
- Scale / Stretch / Off. Toggle between these to scale strokes ( changes the stroke width while scaling the selection), stretch strokes ( maintains the original stroke width while scaling the selection), or lock your strokes from scaling or stretching.
- Filters. Tap this to return to the original Selection menu filters — Item Picker, Lasso, Color Picker.
You can use a two finger gesture to scale and rotate selections. If you don’t want to rotate the selection, you can also use the four corner handles to adjust the selection.
These handles are your Control Points. You can drag a single point to scale/stretch the selection but they also allow you to distort, skew and warp your selection just by tapping a corner or two, and pulling with one or two fingers. They are excellent for tweaking size and shape to make your drawing proportions exactly right. They’re also helpful for aligning strokes, text or other images into your sketch’s perspective.
- Scale/stretch. Drag one of the corner points to resize the selection. Put another finger on screen to lock the aspect ratio while resizing.
- Distort. Tap one corner and drag anywhere on screen to pull it around.
- Skew. Tap two corners at once, and use one finger to pull the entire side about.
- Warp. Tap two corners at once, and use two fingers to either pinch or expand your selection. This makes your drawing act like the Star Wars credits.
The Selection Popup
Above the selection box is a Selection popup. This has many useful features you might use to adjust your strokes.
Clipboard. The clipboard copies your selection to your main device’s clipboard, just like when you copy text from an email or link. Tap Paste in any email, message, document editor etc. to paste in a transparent PNG version of your selection. Inside the app, you can find the clipboard from your Gallery, at the top of your current object library, from inside the Import menu → Imports, or just by a tap+hold on the screen. You can also attach colors from other apps to your clipboard, and access them on the Color wheel.
Lock. The Lock button locks your selection from all other selections and adjustments you might make in the future. You can access it again by selecting and unlocking it, or by changing the Lock filter on the Selection menu.
Duplicate. Anything you select, you can also copy, as many times as you’d like. Just touch Duplicate and it will create an exact match for fast iterations. Drag the duplicate to a new layer to keep or hide your old selection, and iterate on the new.
Delete. The best way to erase a vector stroke is to delete it. At this point, our erasers work as movable layer masks, so if you truly dislike a stroke and want to banish it to the far nethers, just delete it from your life and drawing. Of course, you can Undo.
Group. This chain link button allows you to group all items inside your selection together, into a single “object.” You can then select the entire object with a single tap, instead of having to re-select multiple strokes. To separate them again, just select the object and tap the button again to ungroup them.
Flip and Mirror. The final two buttons allow you to flip your selection from side to side, or to mirror it vertically. Great for creating reflections and shadows, as well.
Highlight selection allows you to clearly see the strokes you have selected. When you have an active selection, the selection maintains its actual colors and everything else is greyed. The active selection also pops to the front, meaning that if the stroke you selected is behind other strokes, it will be presented on top for as long as the selection is active. If you turn off Highlight Selection, the only thing differentiating the selection from other strokes is the bounding box.
You can also use Highlight Selection with the Nudge tool. When it’s turned on, you’ll see both before and after strokes as you nudge lines on your screen, with the original stroke slightly greyed out. Turn it off to only see the adjusted stroke.
You can turn Highlight Selection on or off in Settings → Gestures.