In this exercise, we're going back to that project that I introduced at the outset of the chapter. We're going to trace along the boundary between this guy's face and the background, so that we can extract away the background using the Pen tool. This is going to be more elaborate than what we attempted with the droplet, not only because it requires more points, but also because we'll be working with a couple of different varieties of points. So we'll need smooth points of course for the continuous contours along his cheek, for example, and his ears, and along the sweater as well, but we'll also need a special variety of corner-point called the cusp point that has control handles associated with it.
It's ultimately a corner at the intersection of two curving segments. We've got quite a few of those up here at the top of the ear, over here on the side of the ear, at the top of the cheek, down here at the base of the jaw, and so on. So let's get to work. To help you out, I've once again given you a Template layer, so it's called points & handles. If you turn on that points & handles layer, you'll see a series of red points and handles. Now, they're designed to be viewed, because there are so many of them, at the 100% Zoom ratio. So you'll still be able to see them at lower Zoom ratios, but you'll make them out best at a 100%.
All right, so what I'm going to suggest is that we switch over to the Paths panel and we create a New Path. I'm going to do that by Alt+clicking or Option+clicking on the Page icon. I'm going to call this one, face outline. Then I'll click OK. Next, we're going to begin drawing inside of that face outline path using the Pen tool. So I'll grab my Pen tool, either by clicking on it or pressing the P key. I'm going to start at this point here, right on the guy's ear. We're going to be drawing, if you're following along with me, we're going to be drawing in a counterclockwise fashion.
That is, we're going to be starting down, out into the pasteboard, around his head, and then we'll come back to the ear. So I'm going to start things off like so. I'm drawing a smooth point, as you can see. So it begins at this location, ends there. You can choose to keep the Rubber Band on if you like that function. I'm going to turn it off, because it kind of gets in the way of a couple of techniques that I'm going to show you, but again, a lot of people just love this option. I don't really think that much of it. It's not my favorite. Now I'm going to draw a tiny little point. That is, the point is the same size.
It's still your infinitesimal anchor point, but very tiny little control handle levers right there, and tiny ones there as well, so little levers. That's because we're just trying to follow the indent of this guy's ear. It's a pretty small detail inside of this image. Then I'll drag down like so. I'm trying to match the opposite control handle, like usual, so that I get the segment that I'm working on at any given time accurate, as it is right now. Then I'll press the Ctrl key or the Cmd key on the Mac in order to get my White Arrow tool and I'll move that control handle down.
Then I'll restore my Pen tool. This is our first cusp right here. That is, a corner between two curving segments. It occurs at the intersection of the ear and the side of the face here. There is a couple of different ways to create cusp points inside of Photoshop. So I'm going to click and drag. And I know this doesn't make a ton of sense, but I'm trying to align the previous control handle, not the one that's under my cursor, because then I'd move my cursor over here to match this control handle, instead, I'm trying to match the opposite control handle, because it's the one that's controlling the segment that's active right now.
So I'm not concerned with that control handle, the one under my cursor, except to the extent of how it affects the opposite one. That takes a fair amount of getting used to I think, but that is the way it works. Anyway, that's where that control handle goes. I'll go ahead and release. You might look at this and think, well, gosh, that's weird, because that's not a cusp. You just drew a smooth point. So we have these control handles that are locked into alignment with each other and that means that we're going to get a continuous curve at this location, a continuous arc. That's true, which is why we need to go ahead and convert this point.
Now, I went ahead and nudged it up a little bit from the keyboard. So I'm going to Ctrl+drag this control handle down just a little bit. All right, so I'm going to Zoom into 200%, so we have a very close up view. I'm going to show you how to make a cusp point, how to convert this point, this smooth point, into a cusp point. What you do is you press and hold the Alt key here on the PC or the Option key on the Mac and drag from that point. Notice by Alt+dragging or Option+ dragging from the anchor point, you create a new control handle in a totally different direction.
So it's not like we now have three control handles, we still just have two. That's the most you can associate with any anchor point. The old one though got clipped away. We're dragging a new one out. It's no longer locked into alignment with the previous control handle. So wherever I move this control handle, it has no effect on the opposite one. I'm going to move it to this position right there. All righty! So that's your first method for creating a cusp. That will result in a corner at this location, a corner between two curving segments.
All right, I'm going to go ahead and draw another smooth point right there. Then I'll scroll down a little bit and draw a smooth point at this location. Notice, this smooth point involves symmetrical control handles, so I don't really have to do any additional adjustment there. Now, I might want to Zoom out, because I'm not really matching my template when I'm that far zoomed in, but it looks like I'm doing okay. All right, here is another method for creating a cusp point. You know what, I've got to Zoom back in, so I can show it to you. So just in time for me to Zoom out, I'm back in. Here is another way that you create a cusp point.
Go ahead and drag down like so in order to match the previous control handles to the opposite control handle, which is affecting the active segment. It's the one that you care about. Once you get it into position, then midway into your drag, you still have the mouse button down or at least I do, midway into your drag, press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac. Then you can move the control handle under your cursor, independently of the one you already sat down, the opposite control handle. Now, if you release the Alt or Option key at any time, then you're going to get a symmetrical control handle again.
So you'll need to put it back where it goes and then press and hold the Alt or Option key and keep it down until you release your cursor. So now at this point, I would go ahead and release. Now I'm going to go ahead and drag at this point, like so, and I'm going to leave that a smooth point, because we'll come back to that one. We're going to modify that smooth point after the fact using the Convert Point tools. So we'll come back to that one. Now I'm going to draw a smooth point at that location, another one here. Again, I'm concerned with the location of the previous control handle, the one that's associated with the active segment.
Once I get it into position, I'll release my mouse button, and then I'll press and hold the Ctrl key or the Cmd key on the Mac and drag this control handle outward, like so, or, that is, downward and over. Then I'll go down here. Now, we can't see the location of this point, because it's off in the pasteboard, but I assume it's right about there or so. I'll get that control handle into alignment, where it goes, right about there. That looks good. I might need to nudge the point over to the left a little bit, and then I would Ctrl+drag or Cmd+drag that control handle back just a little.
All right, we've now managed to trace along most of the left side of this fellow's face. We're going to complete things out here in the pasteboard, but we're going to do so in the next exercise.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
120 Video lessons · 57634 Viewers
119 Video lessons · 67188 Viewers
84 Video lessons · 16588 Viewers
125 Video lessons · 29486 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.