I have a lot of polygons representing Forest land use type. Is it possible to style these polygons in such a way like on this picture?


Example polygon I have now:


So the polygon doesn't have edges, rather curves. Is this effect possible to obtain without redrawing all the features using a circular string and other specialized digitizing tools?

  • 2
    Can you show an example how it looks currently and how it should look like afterwards? How should the precision of the borders be handeled? – MrXsquared Nov 10 at 15:59
  • The second question is the one I would ask. I have regular polygon (traced forest from topographic map). So any feature that gives me curvature of the stroke/polygon border would be helpful. – icelandico Nov 10 at 18:21
  • 1
    Have a look at this question that try to do something looking really similar : gis.stackexchange.com/questions/300990/… ; the first answer part may get you close – J.R Nov 10 at 22:03

You can play with the .


Here, I use the following expression:

        $geometry, false), 50, 2),
    $geometry), 10, max_angle:= 180)

I extract the nodes of the geometry with nodes_to_points(), create a buffer() of 50 units at each node, perform the union() between all buffers and the $geometry of the feature, and smooth() the union generated.

About the radius of the buffer: select the radius that you want, think in it like an offset of the geometry, and Densify by interval the layer with the double of the radius.

  • That's a great answer. Very customizable, thank you! – icelandico Nov 11 at 14:10
  • @icelandico You are welcome. If you have a lot of geometries and need to improve performance, you can reduce the number of iterations of the smooth function (10 in my answer); 5 iterations seems to be good enough. – Gabriel De Luca Nov 11 at 16:46

1. Buffer

The first picture looks like a buffer. You could try this, just play a little with the buffer size. You could also create a negative buffer for example.

enter image description here

2. Smooth

Or smooth tool located in processing toolbox -> vector geometry. Try out different settings to find your best result.

enter image description here

3. Generalize

Another option I heard about is v.generalize in processing toolbox. But my first test wasnt very promising. However, it offers lots of settings, so you might get what you want with this tool.


Using Gabriel de Luca's answer as a starting point, I set out to find a way to increase the number of nodes. But the geometry generator doesn't have a way to increase the nodes density. I was looking for an equivalent of the densify or points along geometry tools. But then I found another way:

Use the geometry generator to display the polygon border as a line, with this expression: boundary($geometry). Display that outer ring as a marker line with circular symbols. Make the symbol size the same as the symbol spacing (in this example, both are 3mm).

Note: After I did the rest of my testing, I realized there's no need to use the Geometry Generator for this method. Instead, use Symbol Layer Type: Outline: Marker Line. All other settings should be the same.

enter image description here

Put a simple fill polygon on top of the geometry generator symbol layer. Set the boundary line to 'no pen'.

enter image description here

So far so good. The corners are little wonky. It gets a little bit better if we add another geometry generator layer, the same as the first, but with the markers on every vertex instead of evenly spaced. Well, maybe not better, just different.

enter image description here

I added an interior ring to see what that would look like.

enter image description here

Now the only missing feature from the symbology we were trying to re-create is having some randomness in the size of the bumps. Let's try making the point marker size random, with the function randf(). With a bit of tweaking to find the right size range, I think it looks pretty good with randf(2.5, 5). The marker spacing is still 3mm.

enter image description here

enter image description here


  • Top symbol layer is Simple Fill with outline set to 'no pen'
  • Bottom symbol layer is Outline: Marker Line
    • Circular marker type
    • Marker placement is "with interval" 3mm
    • Marker size is data-defined with the expression randf(2.5, 5)


With the randomly generated marker sizes, each marker is a different size every time you pan the map. If you pan the map around a lot it looks like the trees are moving; not swaying in the wind so much as rearranging themselves. (Here there be treants, perhaps.)

When you zoom out, any interior rings start to look like...well...let's call that an orifice.

enter image description here

So maybe a scale-dependent symbology would be a good idea, with the interior rings removed at small scales. To display the bumpy line (cloud/tree texture) only on the exterior ring, use exterior_ring($geometry) in the geometry generator instead of boundary($geometry). Of course now there's an empty hole in the middle, which looks a bit weird.

enter image description here

So add yet another geometry generator layer, polygon geometry type, with the expression make_polygon(exterior_ring($geometry)).

enter image description here

Make all the symbol layers scale dependent, with data-defined override for the "display layer" setting, using an expression like @map_scale >10000000 or @map_scale <=10000000 (substitute an appropriate number depending on your data).

enter image description here

  • that looks like a real forest! well done! – Taras 6 hours ago
  • @Taras Thanks! I had fun with this answer. – csk 5 hours ago

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