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Join Justin Seeley, lynda.com staff author and design enthusiast, each week for a new 5-minute, self-contained tutorial that you can use to instantly improve your design workflow. This series covers techniques for print, digital, and web design, addressing the tools that creative professionals like you use most. Learn new ways to leverage layer styles and vector shapes in Adobe Photoshop, work more efficiently with text in Illustrator, and embed videos and even tweets in WordPress posts, and much more. Check back each week for a new installment, and a new design hack.
Hi, there. My name is Justin Seeley, and I want to welcome you back to Creative Quick Tips. This week I'm going to be showing you how to take artwork from Illustrator and put it into Photoshop not as a smart object as you might think but as a completely vector shape layer. It's really easy and it's really awesome as well. So I have a bunch of icons that I've designed here inside of Adobe Illustrator, and I think they would serve a great dual purpose as shape layers inside of Photoshop. The problem is, most people just know that when you copy and paste from Illustrator to Photoshop, it comes in as a smart object, or as pixels.
But nowadays, in Photoshop, you can actually export out, or copy and paste out, rather, Illustrator artwork as a complete vector shape layer into Photoshop. I'm going to zoom in here. And I'm just going to grab an icon. So let's just grab something like this little alien face right here. And I'm going to copy that to my clipboard with Command or Control c. Then I'm going to jump over into Photoshop. I'm just going to create a new document. Does not matter how big or how small. And this case, I'm going to do about 800 by 600, and then hit okay. Then we're going to choose Edit > Paste.
Once I do that it's going to ask me what I want to paste it in as. In most cases most people are going to choose a Smart Object. But in this case, I have the option to paste a Shape Layer. So I'm going to do that. And hit OK. Once I do that, it pastes it in. There's my Shape Layer. If I wanted to save this as a complete custom shape in Photoshop, I can do that as well. Just go up to the edit menu and you'll notice that define custom shape is actually grayed out. Well, what's the deal here? We've got the shape, why can't I define it as a custom shape? Here's the trick. You have to either come over to the paths panel and select the path or come over here and grab the path selection tool.
And I'll zoom in so you can see it. And you have to click on the path. To make it select it and then go to Edit>Define Custom Shape. You can then call this alien head. Hit okay. And now I'll go back to the Layers panel. I'll actually throw this layer away. Don't need it anymore. Pick command or control zero to view all this on screen. I'm going to press the letter u on my keyboard to access the shape tools. You're not going to press Shift-U until I get to the custom shape tool, which looks sort of like a little starfish down there. I'm then going to go up to my shape dropdown, and the alien head should be at the bottom.
There it is. And if I mouse over it, you can see it says, Alien head. I'll select it. Then I'm also going to select my color. So let's do a fill color of green. And then, for this, we're going to set it to no stroke. So we'll just set it to zero points. And we'll make sure that the color is none as well. Now I'll just hold down my Shift key, click and drag. And there is a vector shape. The same as the alien head that we had in Illustrator. And the best part about it is, it is a vector object. So it will scale infinitely, without penalty, even in Photoshop.
Because it has a vector mask applied to it. I can also change the color at any time by double-clicking on the shape. And then. Changing up the color, any way I want. It's really quick and really simple, and you can build yourself some really nice shape libraries completely from your Illustrator artwork. I move over logos, I've done my signature this way. There's all different types of use cases for this. My suggestion is just to start bringing stuff over; start building up your own shape libraries, and see what you can come up with.
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