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Designers and scrapbookers will be happy to know that you can make vector-based shapes in Elements' Editor using the Shape tools. Because these shapes are made up of points and curves, rather than pixels, they have smooth, professional looking edges. And because they're vector-based, rather than pixel-based, you can change their shape and size without harming their appearance. The Shape tools are located here in the toolbar. There's a whole list of Geometric Shape tools that you can use to draw rectangles, rounded rectangles, circles and ovals, straight-edged shapes, like triangles, and lines.
My favorite of the Shape tools is the Custom Shape tool, which you can use to draw objects. I'll select that tool, and then in the Options bar for the tool, I'll go up to the shape picker, and I'll click the arrow to the right of that field. That opens the shape picker with a few shapes. You may have different shapes than I do, but there are many more shapes to choose from than the initial ones. To see more shapes, click the double-pointed arrow, and choose All Elements Shapes, and then click on the bottom right corner of the shape picker, and drag down.
There're all kinds of shapes to choose from here; from animals, to cartoons, to arrows, and if you scroll down, lots more. I'm going to choose one of these shapes by clicking on its thumbnail in the shape picker, and then I'll go up to the tool Options bar, and I'll click to dismiss the shape picker. Now I'm going to select a color for my shape. I'll click the arrow to the right of the color picker, and I'll click on one of these color swatches to choose a color. Alternatively, you can click More Colors to open the color picker, and have a choice of lots more colors. I'll click in the tool Options bar to close the color picker and now I'm going to come into my image, and I'm going to start drawing my shape, which is a deer.
I can make a small deer, I can make a long thin deer, I can make a tall deer, depending on which direction I drag. If I hold down the Shift key as I drag, that will constrain the proportions of the deer to the original. I'll release my mouse, and there is my custom shape. The line that you see around the shape is a path that defines the shape. I'll go over to the Layers panel, and there you can see a new layer; my shape layer. If I click off that layer onto another layer, that path goes away, and you have a better view of the shape.
Notice how smooth its edges are, because it is a vector-based graphic. If I want to change something about the shape -- maybe add a style to it, or change its color -- again, I'll click on the shape layer, I'll make sure I still have the Custom Shape tool selected in the toolbar, and I'll go up to the Options bar, and change an option. Maybe I'll select a different color here, and if I want to, I can add a style. When I open the style picker, the first styles that I see are bevels. I can click one of those to apply it to the shape, or if I want to see other styles, I can click the double-pointed arrows on the right side of the shape picker, and choose from other categories of shapes, like drop shadows, or glows.
If I want no shape at all, I'll choose Remove Style from this menu, and I'm back to the no shape symbol in the Style field. I'll click in the Options bar to close that picker, and again, I'll click on another layer in the Layers panel to see the shape without its path outline. Because it's on its own layer, if I select the shape layer, I can move it by getting the Move tool, and clicking and dragging it to another place in my image, and again, I'll click off it. One of the great things about objects drawn with the Shape tools is that they can be made larger and smaller without harming quality.
To do that, I'll go back over to the toolbar, I'll click on the Custom Shape tool, and I'm going to select another tool from the same flyout menu: the Shape Selection tool. With that tool, I'll double-click on my object, and that brings up this bounding box, and shows the path with anchor points. If I click and drag on any of the corner anchor points, I can make the shape much smaller, or much bigger. So I've made it small, and I'm going to click the green check mark to accept that. Because I don't want to see the path with the anchor points, I'll go up to the Options bar, and I'll click the green check mark there too.
So there's my tiny shape. Now, if this were a pixel-based object, if I now made it bigger, it would probably look quite blurry, and perhaps you'd even be able to see the pixels that make up a pixel-based object. But this is a vector-based object. So if I want it to be larger again, I'll double click it again with the Shape Selection tool, move my mouse over one of its corners, and drag. I'll click the green check mark here, and up here again, and you can see that it is just as smooth-edged, and non-pixelated as ever.
I can even distort it. Again, I'll double-click it with the Shape Selection tool, and now I'll go up to the Image menu, and I'll choose Transform Shape, and here I can choose to skew it, or distort it, or change its perspective. I'll try Distort, and then I'll move over one of these anchor points, and drag, and that actually reshapes the object. So now I've got a thinner deer that's rising up further on its hind legs. I'll click the green check mark, and this green check mark up here, to hide the bounding box, and the path with its anchor points.
So explore the shape picker, and all the options there for making flexible, vector-based shapes that will come in handy for cards, invitations, and lots of your other projects.
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