Creating vector shapes
Video: Creating vector shapesMost of the time when you're working in Photoshop, you're working with pixels, these little tiny squares that make up an image. But sometimes in Photoshop, you're not working with pixels. You're working with something called Vectors, and Vectors are essentially when you created an object using math. Of course, you don't have to worry about the math. Photoshop is doing that but the benefit of that is that you could re-size something as much as you want. And since it's not built with pixels, it's built with math, then there is no harmful effects and you image is not degraded.
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Adobe Photoshop is more than just an image editing application—it is a foundational staple in all the visual arts, from print design, to photography, to web design, to motion graphics and 3D graphics. In this course, Adobe Certified Instructor Chad Perkins covers the basics of Photoshop. Learn about the components of visual images, making selections, color correcting, fixing images, outputting images, and much more. This course uses Photoshop CS6, but the information presented is applicable to all versions of the application.
- Getting images into Photoshop
- Creating and navigating documents
- Working with layers
- Cropping and straightening images
- Color correction
- Making selections
- Fixing image problems
- Working with effects
- Creating and editing text
- Exporting and printing
Creating vector shapes
Most of the time when you're working in Photoshop, you're working with pixels, these little tiny squares that make up an image. But sometimes in Photoshop, you're not working with pixels. You're working with something called Vectors, and Vectors are essentially when you created an object using math. Of course, you don't have to worry about the math. Photoshop is doing that but the benefit of that is that you could re-size something as much as you want. And since it's not built with pixels, it's built with math, then there is no harmful effects and you image is not degraded.
So what we're going to do is we're going to use some Vector tools. And create this little baby invitation, baby girl announcement or whatever. This isn't really my cup of tea, but I'm trying to branch out a little bit here. So we're going to start with this, I've got text, and I've got a bar here. And this bar, as you can see it's labeled Template here in the Layers panel. I created by creating a selection and then filling it, but this creates pixels. So if I want to go back and adjust this bar later.
Let's say I might want to make it. Taller, or more narrow, I, it's really hard to do that. I basically have to create another layer, or add to this, or subtract from it delete it whatever. But if this were a Vector object, then I could go back and manipulate it later. So, what we're going to do, is come down to here to the bottom area of the tools panel. We've talked about how the Selection tools, utilities are up here. Imagery Touching tools are in the next section, and then after this dividing line, we have Vector tools. So text is vectored, so we can scale up text as big as we want, and there's no loss in image quality.
But now we're going to look at creating custom shapes. So click on this icon here, and we want to select the Rectangle tool. So with the Rectangle tool selected we want to make sure that this drop down says shape. In the Options bar here and our fill, we can click this fill swatch. We have a variety of swatches to choose from here but the color that I want to fill this isn't exactly white, this is cream. So we're going to make our own custom color. And we can do that by clicking this little color swatch here this swatch is the color picker. I'll give you the numbers to type in here for the RGB values so red is 255. I'm going to press the Tab key and get to green and press 255, and Tab again. And press 243 in blue.
So that darkens it just very slightly. And gives it a nice little cream color. So I'm going to click Okay here. And then to close these little Pop Out menus. You could either press the Escape key on your keyboard. Or click some blank area of the interface like this bar up here. And it goes away. So using this as a template, I'm going to click and drag. And now I don't need to worry about layers here because shapes are not pixel based. So I don't have to worry about pixels or separate layers or anything. It's going to make a new shape layer for me. So I'm going to click and drag.
And let's say I'll make it too big. and its a little bit too big, but that's ok. Again if this were pixels I'd be stuck but because this is a Shape layer I can go back and adjust this. So in the Vector tools area of the tools panel I'm going to click the black arrow which is the Path Selection tool. And I'm going to click on the Path Selection tool. You can see I can move it around. This is kind of like moving. You see if I once on this shape, with the Path Selection tool, it's selected.
I can move around, just like the regular Move tool. If I press Cmd+T, or Ctrl+T on the PC, it begins our Free Transform mode, and move these points around. And these points are really meant to be adjusted like this. They're meant to be fiddled with after the fact and there's no loss in image quality whatsoever because of these Vectors. It gets a lot more complex with these these little points than we are going to get in this course. But just be aware there's a lot of manipulation that can go into these Vectors.
After the fact that if you like this kind of flat art for designing graphics and logos. And I highly recommend checking out Adobe Illustrator, separate program entirely from the makers of Photoshop Adobe. And that program specializes in creating Vectors. And so, Photoshop's capabilities as far as the world of Vector is concerned, it's a limited, but still some great stuff. For example, these little shapes down here. At the bottom. These were custom shapes and I'll show you how to make those in, in just a moment. And I initially had them very small and I decided, you know, I'm going to make these bigger.
So, I stretched them out and the quality is still razor sharp, again, because they are Vectors. Another thing we could do with Vectors. Is just like we do with any other layer, is I could Double-click in this blank area. On the, in the Layers panel, and this will bring up the Layer Style dialog box. So I could click Drop Shadow to add a drop shadow. I'm going to click the word Drop Shadow to drop the opacity of that down quite a bit. Click Okay, and you'll notice that we have this active path that we're seeing and the shape, the outline that we're seeing.
And that can be ugly sometimes, so all we have to do just kind of deselect the layer. We could click in the thumbnail to reselect it and deselect it we click outside like in a blank area in the Layers panel to deselect that. Now another part of Vector that's really cool in Photoshop, is if I hold my mouse down, we have a whole bunch of shapes to play with here. But the best one here is the Custom Shape tool. So choose the Custom Shape tool and then up in the Options bar. We click this little arrow here, you'll see we have a library of pre-made shapes to choose from. We have design elements like Grids and Checkers and Guides and things like that. And we also have Web elements and Arrows, and Legal symbols and stuff. But if you click this little sprocket here, you'll see that we have libraries of symbols to choose from.
I'm going to go ahead and choose Ornaments in this case. I'm going to click Okay to replace the default library with Ornaments. We have a bunch of cool little Ornaments that we can add as shapes. I, this is the one I used here, so this shape is this thing here. And you can choose whatever shape that you want for this. I'm just going to go ahead and choose this shape here. And I'm going to click and drag at the top here. And I'm going to hold the Shift key so that It's, constrains the proportion so it doesn't get too wide or too tall, and let go.
And I actually don't like that color. But unlike filling with pixels, I can easily change the color after the fact. So with this layer selected and the shape selected, I can go to the Fill area, click this Drop Down here. I'm going to choose this brown, this fourth from the left on the bottom. It's cool dark brown, I believe what it's called, dark cool brown, excuse me, and I'll click over here. And then we can use either the Pass selection tool or the Move tool to kind of move this Into place where we want it to be. And if we have the Move tool selected, we could actually use the arrow keys to kind of nudge this around as we like.
And I might go back into the Custom Shape tool, and maybe make a couple other Ornaments. I might want to get one of these for example, and click and drag, holding the Shift key. Make these little accents here and again I'll go back to the Move tool and move these into place. And I want to make another one on the other side but what I'm going to do is I'm just going to hold the Option key with the Move tool selected. With the Option key and you get a little duplicate icon here, and click and drag and then make it a copy and I want to make sure that these line up.
So I'm going to hold down the shift key as well. So I'm actually holding down the Option key or the Alt key on the PC to copy it. And then the Shift key on both platforms, in order to keep it so that they form a line here. So that they are on the same linear horizontal line. Now, here's another cool trick. We really haven't pushed these Vectors to their limits, but here's one of the great benefits. I'm going to go back to the Custom Shape tool, go up to My Library at the top. Choose a new library that is Objects I'm going to go ahead and click Okay.
And there's cute little, you know, feet print here, that we could squash and make baby feet print. I'm not going to do that here. But I actually want to get the American Flag, believe it or not. And I'm going to close that, and I'm going to click on Fill to change my fill color. And because we had recently created that cream color, it's right here at the top. So I'm just go right there next to recently used colors second from the left next to brown click that cream color. And watch what I'm going to do here I'm actually going to zoom out using Space + Cmd and Option on the Mac or Space + Ctrl Alt on the PC click to zoom ouot. And then I'm going to click to drag my American flag way up in the upper left here.
So I actually just want the stripes of the American flag. And so, I want them to be long and narrow here. And this actually isn't in the right spot. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to hold the Spacebar while I'm moving. You see before I hold the Spacebar. As I drag up, I am resizing this vertically. As I drag left and right, I'm resizing it horizontally, but if I hold the Spacebar. Then what happens is it moves everything over and so moving up and down moves it up and down. And left and right moves it left and right.
And as soon as I let go of the Spacebar then I go back to resizing again. So I actually want to make it look some what like this. So just using those stripes, and I can let go. Now we could go back to our American Flag shape, and resize this as much as we want. And we're not going to experience any loss in quality, because of the Vector nature of the shape that we're using. It's really incredible. I'm going to drag this down to the bottom. Below everything else. And I'm going to take the Opacity down really low.
Maybe to 15%. Or somewhere around there. And let's go ahead and deselect it so we can see what it looks like. And that looks pretty good. So I can select it again. And with the Move tool selected. I'm going to hold the Option key down. And drag it downwards. And I'm also going to hold the Shift key. And that duplicates it. Constrains it. And makes more stripes there. So, there you have it.
This nice little baby invitation, that has been created quickly and easily with these shapes. And again, we could go back to any of these Vectors, scale them up as big as we want. And actually let me show you what that looks like here. I'll click on let's say, for example, this shape. I'm going to press Cmd + T or Ctrl +T on the PC. And I will scale this up huge, huge, look at that. Now I'll click Enter on the numeric keypad to accept that transformation.
Go over here to the Layers panel to deselect, and you can see how incredibly clean and sharp those lines are. And I can drag this down below everything else, and maybe you know, lower its opacity or something like that. This is just kind of like a pretty shape in the background if I wanted to do that. But shapes give us so much power, and also, just a lot to play with. There are so many shapes, and, and shape libraries that Photoshop ships with. That whether you're designing a website, or an invitation, something with, that needs a lot of little ornate decorations like this.
Sapes are a great asset when working in Photoshop.
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