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In this movie, I'll show you how to create the third kind of point that you can make with the Pen tool, and that's the cusp point. , A cusp is a corner between two curve segments, or a curve segment and a straight segment. And so the idea is that it can contain one or two control handles, but if there are two, then they are independent of each other. And we are going to use a combination of cusp and smooth points in order to trace this gentleman's face. Now again, he would not be hard to mask. He is dark skinned against a light background; what could be easier? However, if we were to create a pixel-based mask then we wouldn't have super smooth outlines.
Now, if he had any hair to speak of that was going out into the background, then the Pen tool would be a bad idea, because the Pen tool does not serve us well when working on filigree details, but because this guy is super smooth all way around, he is ideally suited to the Pen tool. Notice I have created another cheat layer, a template layer, if you prefer, called points & handles, and I will go ahead and turn it on. And we can see the points and handles that are required to trace this man's face represented in red.
And this time, because this is a much more complex path, the template is designed to be viewed at 100% or larger. All right, now I am going to press the P key in order to select the Pen tool. And as opposed to creating a work path, and then naming it later, I am going to create the path in advance by switching over to the Paths panel. And incidentally, a single path container can contain multiple paths outlines, but I want to create a new path entirely by dropping down to the page icon, and you can either click on it to create an unnamed path, or you could Alt+Click or Option+Click on that little page icon to bring up the New Path dialog box.
And I'm going to call this path face outline, and then I will press the Enter key, or the Return key on the Mac. And now we wont have to worry about whether we've named the path outline later or not, because it's already saved in advance of drawing it. All right; I am going to start things off at this point right here, which occurs at the intersection of the guy's chin and his sweater in the background. And so I will go ahead and drag up from that point, like so, to draw a smooth point. And you can see that I am going to be drawing this path in a clockwise direction. Again, it really doesn't matter how you start; it matters how you proceed after you begin.
So I'm establishing a pattern that I'll have to continue of tracing him in a clockwise direction. All right, so there is my first point. Now, I want to show you an option that you may find helpful. A lot of people swear about it. It's available up here in the options bar. Click on that little gear icon, and you'll see one checkbox called Rubber Band, go ahead and turn it on, and then click on the gear again to hide that option. And now notice that you have this kind of rubber band segment that's connecting your cursor to the previous anchor point. The problem with this view of things is it's not quite accurate, because it doesn't account for the control handles that you're about to draw.
Notice, if I click to set a corner point with no control handle, then my view of that segment did not update, because that's what it was showing me the first place. But if I press Control+Z, or Command+Z on the Mac, in order to undo that point. And then I click and drag, you can see that that fundamentally changes the shape of that segment. All right, anyway I'll press Control+Z, or Command+Z on the Mac, because that point is not in the right location. And I will click here, and then drag, and notice that that changes the curvature of the segment as I work.
And so once again, you may find this Rubber Band option helpful, or you may find the fact that you're getting inaccurate previews to be distracting. All right I am going to Spacebar+drag up this guy's face here. And then I will drag from this anchor point up, so again, I'm proceeding in a clockwise direction, and then I will drag at what's going to be our first cusp point. Now, there are couple of different ways to make the cusp point. I will show you both. The first is to click and drag from that anchor point right there, and what you want to do is you want to match up the angle of the opposite control handle, not the one that's under your cursor, but the opposite one that's controlling the segment that you're actually drawing, and then go ahead and release.
Now, obviously I don't want a smooth point; I need a cusp, because his ear is coming out of his head at this location. So I need to redirect this control handle, and you do that by pressing the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, and then you drag from that anchor point, like so, in order to sever the relationship between the two control handles. So now they're going in different directions, and this new one can go in any direction you like, so I'll position it right there. All right, let's drag up his head further still, and I will go ahead and drag from this anchor point until the opposite control handle is in the proper location.
Then I will release, I will press to Control key, or the Command key on the Mac, to access my white arrow tool on the fly, and I'll go ahead and drag this control handle down, so it matches the template once again. All right, I am going to zoom in to 200%, because I've got a couple of tiny anchor point control handle combinations. I will drag from this guy to this location right there. And then I'll drag from here to here, because I am trying to trace along that little divot in his ear. And now we are going to encounter another cusp point.
Here is the other way create it on the fly, so that you don't have to drag twice. You begin dragging, like so, from that anchor point, and you match the angle of the opposing control handle -- that's always what you're looking to do, by the way -- so that you're accurately tracing the top of the ear. Then, when you get that handle in the place, you press and hold the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, and now you can move the other control handle independently, but you've got to keep that Alt or Option key down. If you release, like I did, then you are going to end up making the opposite control handle symmetrical once again, and you are going to have to reposition it, like so, and then press the Alt or Option key; this time keep it down, and independently position this control handle here.
All right, now let's go ahead and scroll up, and we've got another point that we need to create out here in the pasteboard. So I will go ahead and click and drag, like so, up here, because we need to trace all the way around his head. And I am pressing the Shift key as I drag to constrain the angle of my control handle lever to exactly vertical. And when you have the Shift key down, it can be any multiple of 45 degrees, so either vertical, horizontal, or diagonal; all right. I want it to be vertical, however. I really don't want to invoke an auto-scroll, which I will get if I continue to drag upwards, so I am just going to go ahead and release.
And then I will press and hold the Control key, or the Command key on the Mac, and I will drag this bottom control handle down, like so. And again, I am pressing the Shift key to constrain the angle of my drag to exactly vertical, and I end up getting this result here. All right, so that's how you create cusp points in Photoshop, as well as how you make use of the Rubber Band function. In the next movie, I will show you how to establish points out here in the pasteboard.
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