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Photoshop mastery can be elusive, but in Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery, best-selling author and video trainer Deke McClelland teaches the most powerful, unconventional, and flexible features of the program. In this third and final installment of the popular and comprehensive series, Deke delves into the strongest features that Photoshop has to offer, including scalable vector graphics, Smart Objects, and Photomerge. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, both part of the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
In this exercise, we're going to dig in and start to use the vector-based drawing tools inside of Photoshop. Now, for the most part, very easy tools to use. So I'm not going to belabor this. I think you could suss out how to use them very easily. I'll just show you the cool stuff, the stuff you wouldn't figure out on your own. I'm working inside of this document here called Election.psd, found inside of the 24_vector_shapes folder. It features this wonderful fabric pattern here from the PhotoSpin Image Library; otherwise everything is synthetic. This goes to the notion that you can mix and match pixels with vectors inside of Photoshop, no problem whatsoever, very easy to do. All right, so we've got our Shape tools down here, the Rectangle tool, the Rounded Rectangle tool, the Ellipse tool and so on.
I mean they work just like the tools we've already seen. I'll go ahead and grab the Rounded Rectangle tool because it's a little bit unusual. But notice, if you start dragging with it, you'll get a rounded rectangle, like so, and if you want to drag from the center out, you would press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac. I'll go ahead and release that. If you want a square, you would press and hold the Shift key, like so. I'll release that as well. If you want to move the shape on the fly, you would press and hold the Spacebar as you're drawing the shape. Now, something that you can't do is change the roundness on the fly, the roundness of the corners. You have to change that Radius value before you start drawing with the tool. I'll show you that in just a moment.
But as soon as I release, notice that you create a new independent shape layer that's filled with the solid color which is going to match your foreground color, whatever you have your foreground color set to. It's masked by a vector-based mask right there. So if you look very closely at this thumbnail, everything that's white inside of the vector mask, that's going to show up. So, that's the interior of the mask and that's where you're going to see the color. Everything in the gray area that's outside of the mask, so that's going to be masked away. So, rather than seeing a white and black the way that you do with a pixel-based layer mask, Photoshop chooses to show you white and gray, the reason being that black is the outline of the vector-based shape, so it's just something to bear in mind, if you're looking at the thumbnail, if you care.
Anyway, I'm going to undo that, creation of that layer, and I'm going to show you how to change Radius value up here. You can either change it manually. I want it to be 36 pixels or what have you, then press the Enter or the Return key there. Or you can change it from the keyboard by pressing the Bracket keys. So, the right bracket key makes the value bigger, the left bracket key makes the value smaller. You can also press Shift+Right bracket to increase that value in 10-pixel increments or Shift+Left bracket to decrease the value in 10-pixel increments. So, whatever you want to do there, but you have to do it before you draw the shape. You can't do it on the fly the way you can, by the way, in Illustrator. Anyway, I'll make this value bigger and then I'll draw a shape for you and you can see what it looks like and we're done.
So that's how the Shape tools work, essentially. We're not going to work with the basic ones. We're going to work with the fun ones in this illustration. For example, I'm going to go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac. I'm going to show you how to create stars using the Polygon tool. That's a lot of fun, as you'll learn in the next exercise.
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