Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now

Cropping, adjusting, and merging shapes


Photoshop CC One-on-One: Intermediate

with Deke McClelland

Video: Cropping, adjusting, and merging shapes

In this movie, I'll show you how to use one shape to crop another. And then I'll also show you how to merge your shapes together, in order to create a new custom shape. Now if you're working along with me, make sure the swash layer is active, here inside the layers panel, and what we going to do is draw a rectangle around the region that we want to keep. So I'll go ahead and select the rectangle tool, from the Shape Tool flyout menu. And then, I'm going to draw a rectangle that's about this big.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 4s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 4s
  2. 1h 1m
    1. The best of Photoshop automation
    2. Content-Aware Fill and Color Adaptation (CC 2014)
      7m 44s
    3. Combining two layers with a layer mask (CC 2014)
      5m 37s
    4. Content-aware healing (CC 2014)
      10m 17s
    5. Introducing the Patch tool
      3m 43s
    6. Using Content-Aware Patch
      7m 17s
    7. Retouching with Content-Aware Patch
      3m 45s
    8. Using the Content-Aware Move tool
      7m 41s
    9. Using Content-Aware Extend
      2m 4s
    10. The Content-Aware Scale command
      6m 35s
    11. Scaling in multiple passes
      2m 22s
    12. Protecting skin tones
      3m 31s
  3. 32m 55s
    1. Editing the histogram
      1m 50s
    2. The new automatic Levels adjustment
      4m 33s
    3. Customizing a Levels adjustment
      4m 53s
    4. Understanding the Gamma value
      2m 7s
    5. Opening up the shadows
      2m 48s
    6. Previewing clipped pixels
      3m 40s
    7. Retouching with Output Levels
      4m 25s
    8. Making channel-by-channel adjustments
      2m 19s
    9. Faking a gray card in post
      2m 51s
    10. Assigning shortcuts to adjustment layers
      3m 29s
  4. 57m 43s
    1. How sharpening works
      1m 38s
    2. Introducing the Smart Sharpen filter
      6m 56s
    3. Understanding the Radius value
      5m 20s
    4. Gauging the best sharpening settings
      5m 45s
    5. Addressing color artifacts and clipping
      5m 49s
    6. The Remove and Reduce Noise options
      4m 22s
    7. The Shadows/Highlights options
      7m 36s
    8. Correcting for camera shake
      6m 47s
    9. Sharpening with the Emboss filter
      5m 45s
    10. Sharpening with the High Pass filter
      4m 44s
    11. Painting in sharpness
      3m 1s
  5. 1h 12m
    1. Vector-based type
      1m 35s
    2. Creating and editing point text
      8m 8s
    3. Font and type style tricks
      7m 58s
    4. Type size and color tricks
      6m 42s
    5. Kerning and tracking characters
      8m 9s
    6. Creating and editing area text
      3m 50s
    7. Selecting and formatting paragraphs
      6m 50s
    8. Setting text inside a custom path
      5m 34s
    9. Creating text along a path
      6m 12s
    10. Adjusting baseline shift
      4m 45s
    11. Creating and stylizing a logo
      6m 49s
    12. Masking text into image elements
      6m 14s
  6. 1h 9m
    1. The other vector-based layer
      1m 39s
    2. Dotted borders and corner roundness
      8m 14s
    3. Drawing and aligning custom shapes
      3m 55s
    4. Creating your own repeatable custom shape
      5m 43s
    5. Selecting and modifying path outlines (CC 2014)
      6m 5s
    6. Isolating selected layers (CC 2014)
      6m 39s
    7. Combining simple shapes to make complex ones
      6m 31s
    8. Cropping, adjusting, and merging shapes
      8m 49s
    9. Creating a soft, synthetic sparkle
      6m 22s
    10. Saving a resolution-independent PDF file
      6m 42s
    11. Turning a small image into a huge one
      8m 38s
  7. 1h 14m
    1. Depth, contour, and texture
      1m 28s
    2. Imparting depth with a layer effect
      9m 9s
    3. The power of the drop shadow
      7m 37s
    4. Modifying a layer and its effects
      6m 21s
    5. Saving custom default settings
      4m 12s
    6. Creating a custom contour
      8m 5s
    7. Introducing Bevel and Emboss
      8m 8s
    8. Multiple effects and multiple layers
      7m 45s
    9. Global Light and rasterizing effects
      8m 5s
    10. Gloss and surface contour
      6m 4s
    11. Adding texture to Bevel and Emboss
      7m 21s
  8. 34m 48s
    1. Styles store settings
      1m 38s
    2. Creating and applying a paragraph style
      3m 41s
    3. Redefining a style and styling a word
      5m 38s
    4. Creating and styling a placeholder style
      5m 43s
    5. Applying and creating layer styles
      5m 45s
    6. Loading and customizing layer styles
      5m 42s
    7. Merging and saving layer styles
      6m 41s
  9. 56m 48s
    1. Meet the transformations
      1m 55s
    2. Transformations and Smart Objects
      5m 46s
    3. Adjusting the interpolation setting
      5m 10s
    4. Rotating a layer with Free Transform
      5m 22s
    5. Scale, duplicate, and repeat
      4m 30s
    6. Creating a synthetic star field
      5m 20s
    7. Warping a logo with Arc and Flag
      5m 34s
    8. Distort, perspective, and skew
      4m 15s
    9. Using transformations to draw and correct
      7m 0s
    10. Bolstering text with layer effects
      5m 43s
    11. Adding highlights with Lens Flare
      6m 13s
  10. 43m 36s
    1. Removing the weight that the camera adds
      1m 7s
    2. The Warp and Reconstruct tools
      6m 44s
    3. Brush size, hardness, and opacity
      4m 29s
    4. The Pucker, Bloat, Push, and Twirl tools
      7m 12s
    5. Saving and reapplying Liquify settings
      4m 9s
    6. Lifting and slimming details
      9m 42s
    7. Warping legs, arms, and fabric
      5m 33s
    8. Improving a model's posture
      4m 40s
  11. 58m 46s
    1. Shoot in color, convert to black and white
      1m 55s
    2. Three ways to grayscale
      5m 36s
    3. Mixing a custom black-and-white image
      7m 31s
    4. Simulating an infrared photograph
      6m 39s
    5. Creating a sienna-infused sepia tone
      5m 38s
    6. Creating a hyper-saturated image
      5m 26s
    7. Introducing the Black & White command
      3m 16s
    8. Customizing the Black & White settings
      4m 50s
    9. Black & White meets the Channel Mixer
      7m 29s
    10. Infusing an image with tint and color
      5m 9s
    11. Grayscale and Split Tone in Camera Raw
      5m 17s
  12. 41m 34s
    1. The many ways to print
      1m 41s
    2. Using the test document
      3m 18s
    3. Print, position, and size
      5m 57s
    4. Description and printing marks
      3m 3s
    5. Establishing a bleed
      3m 44s
    6. Getting reliable color
      5m 54s
    7. Special printing options
      5m 1s
    8. Previewing an image at print size
      4m 16s
    9. Creating contact sheets
      4m 49s
    10. Creating a multipage PDF
      3m 51s
  13. 31m 9s
    1. Making Internet imagery
      1m 6s
    2. Introducing Save for Web
      4m 39s
    3. Creating the perfect JPEG image
      5m 14s
    4. Creating a high-contrast GIF image
      6m 23s
    5. The two varieties of PNG
      3m 57s
    6. Downsampling for the web
      5m 59s
    7. Adding copyright and contact info
      3m 51s
  14. 1m 3s
    1. Until next time
      1m 3s

please wait ...
Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CC One-on-One: Intermediate
10h 37m Intermediate Aug 19, 2013 Updated Sep 18, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Photoshop CC One-on-One is back, and this installment teaches you how to build on your basic knowledge and achieve next-level effects with this premiere image-editing program. Industry pro Deke McClelland shows you how to seamlessly move and patch areas of a photo with the Content-Aware toolset; stretch the brightness of a scene with automatic and custom Levels adjustments; create intricate designs with text and shapes; and morph an image with layer effects and transformations. Deke also shares his techniques for sharpening details, whether addressing noise and highlight/shadow clipping or camera shake, and converting a full-color image to black and white. The final chapters show you how to best print and save images for the web, making sure all your hard work pays off in the final output.

Topics include:
  • Performing automatic retouch, scaling, and more with the Content-Aware tools
  • Editing the histogram
  • Customizing a Levels adjustment
  • Making channel-by-channel Levels adjustments
  • Sharpening with the Smart Sharpen, Emboss, and High Pass filters
  • Working with vector-based type
  • Kerning and tracking characters
  • Creating text on a path
  • Drawing and customizing shapes
  • Creating depth, contour, and texture with layer effects
  • Liquifying an image
  • Simulating an infrared photo
  • Adjusting print position, size, and color
  • Creating the perfect JPEG image
  • Downsampling for the web
Design Photography
Deke McClelland

Cropping, adjusting, and merging shapes

In this movie, I'll show you how to use one shape to crop another. And then I'll also show you how to merge your shapes together, in order to create a new custom shape. Now if you're working along with me, make sure the swash layer is active, here inside the layers panel, and what we going to do is draw a rectangle around the region that we want to keep. So I'll go ahead and select the rectangle tool, from the Shape Tool flyout menu. And then, I'm going to draw a rectangle that's about this big.

So in other words, we're tracing from this left edge over here, all the way over to the right edge, and I'm making sure that the swatch is inside the rectangle. But, as you may recall from the previous movie, if I go ahead and release now, I'll end up creating an independent shape layer that Photoshop calls rectangle one, which is not what I want. So, I'll just go ahead and press Control Z, or Command Z on the Mac to undo that change. What we need to do is establish how the paths are going to interact by going up to the path operations icon and choosing Intersect Shape Areas, and that way only the stuff inside of the rectangle will remain visible.

So I'll go ahead and select that command, and now I'll redraw that rectangle like so, and I'm pressing the space bar in order to get the alignment right, and I'll just go ahead and release, and I still end up with an independent shape layer, and that's because Photoshop was unaware that I wanted to intersect with the active layer because no paths were active. And, this can be a little frustrating but, here's how you solve the problem. You press Control Z, or Command Z on the Mac once again, and then you want to switch over to the Paths panel.

So just go ahead and click on the pass tab or you can choose the pass command from the Window menu, and then you will see in italics in addition to work path here, which is just a leftover, you'll see swash shape path. And these are the paths that are associated with the active shape player. So click on the path to make it active and then you'll be able to see the path outlines. Problem is, they're selective. Notice how we can see these two anchor points. So if I go up to path operations once again, and choose Intersect Shape Areas, then I'm going to end up modifying the selected path outlines which is not what I want.

So, I'll once again press Control Z, or Command Z on a Mac, to undo that change. What you have to do is temporarily access the arrow tool by pressing and holding the Control key here on the PC, or the Command key on the Mac, and click above the ellipses. Because if you click down here, you're essentially clicking inside the ellipses, which is going to ensure that they remain selected. Whereas if you Control or Command click up here, you'll deselect the ellipses, that also makes them disappear once again, which is not what we want. So you have to reselect the paths here inside the Paths panel.

Notice now that they are deselected, so if I go up to Path Operations and choose Intersect Shape Areas, that doesn't harm anything, and now, finally, I can go ahead and draw my rectangle with impunity. So I'm going to go ahead and surround this entire area and then I'll release, and now notice that I'm keeping just that area of the swatch that falls inside the rectangle. Now, when you're doing this kind of thing, you need to make sure that the shape that's doing the cropping is in front.

Notice if I go up here to this stacking order icon, which is, which is called path arrangement, and I choose send shape to back, I'm not going to get the desired effect as you can see here. So to bring that path to the front, I would just go ahead and click on that icon again and choose bring shape to front, and now everything's working out the way it should. All right, now for the sake of demonstration, I want to show you the last path operation, but first I need to switch over to the layers panel and turn off the underlying layer, which is that layer that we were tracing. Go ahead and turn that guy off and then go back up to path operations, just for the sake of demonstration. Make sure that the rectangle is still selected, and then choose this final guy, Exclude Overlapping Shapes. And you'll see now that the swatch is invisible where the paths overlap, and it's visible where the paths do not overlap. So it's the opposite of intersect, which we were seeing a moment ago. Anyway, obviously I want intersect, and so I'll go ahead and choose Intersect Shape Areas which is our cropping function, and we'll end up with this effect here. Now, the only part of this underlying layer that we still need is its drop shadow. If I click this down pointing arrow head, that's associated with the underlying layer, you can see that we do have a drop shadow, I am going to move it to the swatch layer just by dragging it and dropping it like so. So you don't have to press the Alt key or the Option key on a Mac to copy it, you can just do a drag and drop, and that's it for the underlying layer. So now you can select it and press the Backspace key, or the Delete key on a Mac in order to get rid of it. Now the great thing about having these live intersecting path outlines is that you can modify them anytime you like. So let's say I feel like the swatch is a little bit too wide. It should really only be as wide as the letters above it, so I'm going to switch to the white arrow tool by selecting it from this fly out menu right here, and then I'm going to click on this left edge of the rectangle and I'll drag it to the right, and you'll probably want to press the Shift key as you drag in order to constrain the angle to exactly horizontal. And then I'll go ahead and drag this guy and notice, I want you to see this, if you don't constrain the angle of the drag and you end up dropping this edge into place, Photoshop is going to warn you that this will no longer be a live shape. In other words, you can't dynamically change the roundness of the corners. So, what you want to do in this case is click on the No button, so that you preserve the rectangle and then go ahead and drag this guy in while pressing the Shift key until is aligns to the bottom serif of the T, and we end up with this effect here.

So in other words, things are as flexible as we need them to be. Now let's say we want to combine these shapes and create a custom shape. Well, I'd go ahead and press Shift A in order to switch to the black arrow tool, and then I'll go ahead and partially marquee these three path outlines, like so, and then you can go up to the options bar, to that same path operations icon, and choose Merge Shape Components. And that will go ahead and merge everything together. Now you will get this alert message once again, because we're losing the rectangle, after all, but that's what we want.

So just go ahead and click the Yes button, in order to fuse those shapes together. Now let's turn it into a custom shape by going up to the Edit menu and choosing Define Custom Shape. And I'll go ahead and call this guy Swash and click OK in order to create that new shape. Now, as it so happens, I don't really want these shapes to be fused together, because that's a less flexible solution. Then having all three shapes interacting, so I'll go up to the edit menu and choose Undo Combined Path Components, or you can press Control C or Command C on the Mac. We just wanted those shapes merged for the custom shape and no more. At which point, we can now draw that custom shape by switching over to the custom shape tool right there, and then go ahead and switch to a different layer just so that we're not seeing those path outlines, and we don't end up accidentally interacting with that existing swatch layer. And then make sure the shape option, up here in the options bar, is set to swash. If it's not, go ahead and click on that icon, scroll all the way to the bottom of the list, and select that very last shape, which is going to be swash in our case. Then press the Enter key, or the Return key on a Mac to accept that change and go ahead and drag inside of the image. And you can make that swash short and very angular, like so, or you can make it long and thin, or you can preserve the original proportions of the shape by pressing the Shift key as you drag. In any event, I don't want that new swash, but of course I can now use it in any future image that I like. So I'll go ahead and press Control Z, or Command Z on the Mac to undo that new swash. And I'll go ahead and scroll all the way up to this logo group up here, and I'll select it and then I'll Shift click on its layer mask thumbnail in order to turn that mask back on so that the logo is appearing behind the model's head.

And that's how you crop a couple of shapes inside of another one, modify that crop boundary, and finally merge everything into a new custom shape.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Photoshop CC One-on-One: Intermediate .

Expand all | Collapse all
please wait ...
Q: This course was updated on 09/18/2014. What changed?
A: Deke updated the course to reflect changes in the 2014 version of Photoshop CC. The updates are concentrated in "The Content-Aware Collection" and "Creating and Formatting Text" chapters, but there are new movies sprinkled throughout the course as well.
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now Already a member? Log in

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed Photoshop CC One-on-One: Intermediate.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


Upgrade to View Courses Offline


With our new Desktop App, Annual Premium Members can download courses for Internet-free viewing.

Upgrade Now

After upgrading, download Desktop App Here.

Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Start your FREE 10-day trial

Begin learning software, business, and creative skills—anytime,
anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts. provides
Unlimited access to over 4,000 courses—more than 100,000 video tutorials
Expert-led instruction
On-the-go learning. Watch from your computer, tablet, or mobile device. Switch back and forth as you choose.
Start Your FREE Trial Now

A trusted source for knowledge.


We provide training to more than 4 million people, and our members tell us that helps them stay ahead of software updates, pick up brand-new skills, switch careers, land promotions, and explore new hobbies. What can we help you do?

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.