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In this course, author Nigel French covers the ins and outs of creating professional designs and artwork using crisp, scalable vector graphics in Photoshop. The course demonstrates the fundamentals of drawing and manipulating shapes; achieving various artistic effects using blend modes, layer effects, and Smart Filters; and combining shape layers with pixel-based imagery and photographs. The course also showcases practical applications for shape layers, including posters, logos, and web buttons, and includes tutorials on building custom shapes and making modifications with vector masks.
Here we have a fruit crate label that I've recreated using shape layers. We have this thunderbolt that gets repeated and I've put all of those in the flash group and I've converted my type to shape layers just so that we don't have any problems with missing fonts. DYNAMO, each of these letters is a separate layer, just so that I've got more flexibility for rotating them. Then you'll have effects applied to them and on top of everything we have a gray overlay layer filled with neutral gray and applied to that we have some noise, and that's what's giving the whole thing its texture.
But the point I want to make here is sometimes it's useful to be able to adjust the density of your vector mask and down here, Shape 2, if I show you just that layer by itself, this is my shape layer and it's sitting on top of a just solid field of red that has a Gradient Overlay applied to it. Now by adjusting the Density of the vector mask of the Shape 2 layer, I can get a different effect. I am also going to turn on the Noise layer at the top, because that's very much a part of this design.
So with those three turned on, I can then adjust the Density of this vector mask and we can just really dial-in the color and the interaction between these two layers and get it just how we want it. And just like the feathering and just like the mask itself, this is continuously editable, so you can come back and change your mind and adjust this to your heart's content. Now here is another time when you might want to adjust the Density of a vector mask. Here I've used a vector mask creative with the Pen tool to isolate the flower, and if we turn the mask up to its 100% Density we get that, we are cutting the flower from its background. But maybe we don't want to cut it from its background. Maybe we just want to emphasize it a little bit more.
Ad perhaps the vector mask could help us do that, if I reduce the Density of the vector mask, we reinstate the background but at reduced opacity. Adjusting the Density of a vector mask also has some practical benefits when you are actually editing the vector mask. So I am going to click on to the vector mask and I'm going to choose my Direct Selection tool and then I'll come in and look at this path edge, and I realize oh, I made that in a bit of a hurry. It's not quite so good as I thought it was.
Although remember whenever you're doing this, no one is going to know what you left out, but they will if your mask density is less than 100%. So you can reduce the Density of the mask to less than 100%, just so that you can get a clear idea of where you're going with the editing of the mask edge, gives you a much better idea of how accurate you need to be. Because if the mask density is 100%, you are not seeing the background. Sometimes you don't want to see the background but sometimes you do, so you have the option of adjusting the density of the vector mask, so that you can better edit the mask edge.
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