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Drawing a fading arrowhead

From: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Drawing a fading arrowhead

In honor of our text long a path September 2026, I have made my progress file Optimistic publication date.psd. In this exercise, we are going to begin to take on the logo at the top of the magazine cover. Notice the name Pout which is of course the title of the publication. It appears so tiny that I have to highlight it using this arrow, and this arrow is in fact a shape that I have drawn using a Shape tool. I am going to go ahead and zoom in on that shape right there.

Drawing a fading arrowhead

In honor of our text long a path September 2026, I have made my progress file Optimistic publication date.psd. In this exercise, we are going to begin to take on the logo at the top of the magazine cover. Notice the name Pout which is of course the title of the publication. It appears so tiny that I have to highlight it using this arrow, and this arrow is in fact a shape that I have drawn using a Shape tool. I am going to go ahead and zoom in on that shape right there.

One of the reasons I drew the arrow was so that you could find the word Pout inside of your composition. The other reason was I want to show you how to create these kinds of things. So if you are creating a diagram inside of Photoshop, and you want to indicate motion, or you want to show people where something is or anything along those lines, I find that the sort of motion trail arrows are very useful, notice that there is a Drop Shadow associated with the arrow. There is some interaction between the arrow in his background, and in order to keep these arrows very flexible, customizable and so on, you want to draw them using the Line tool and not draw them as arrows with the Custom Shape tool.

So let me show you how I put this guy together, just in case you want to do this kind of thing in your own graphics. By the way, we will see quite a few tips and tricks along the way here. This is the arrow layer right there not only do we have a vector mask, but we also have a pixel-based layer mask, and the two are working together hand in hand along with a variety of other options. So I am going to go ahead and turn off this arrow layer for starters, and we will draw our own arrow by switching down here from the Custom Shape tool to the Line tool, and notice everyone of these shape tools has a keyboard shortcut of U. So it doesn't really matter which one you grab.

I could stick with the Custom Shape tool if I wanted to, because then I can select exactly the Shape tool I want to use from the options bar. So I am going to switch to the Line tool, which is your primary tool for drawing arrowheads inside of Photoshop. And then I am going to change my Weight value to 24 pixels because that happens to be the value that I use for that arrow I had drawn in advance right there. So it not only affects the line weight, but it affects the arrowhead size as well. Before you draw the path outline you can press the Right Bracket key to make the Weight value bigger or the Left Bracket key to make it smaller, and that Left and Right Bracket key technique works for whatever that numerical option is regardless of which of the shape tools is active.

Anyway, I am going to click this down-pointing arrow. It brings up a pop-up menu of Attributes that you can assign to the Active Shape tool. I am going to turn on Arrowheads - that's what this is all about here - and I am going to assign an arrowhead to the start of my path outline. So wherever I begin dragging, that's where the arrowhead will be. You could also assign end by the way if you wanted arrowheads in both directions. Next, I am going to add something Concavity. I love Concavity, and what that does is it gives you a little bit of sliced backward on your arrow.

So it's not straight across, so the arrowhead doesn't look like a triangle, which I think looks dopey. So anyway, Concavity of 20% is my favorite value, and then you have to sort of play with your Width and Length values. For this specific arrowhead effect I change the Width value to 350% as 350% of the Weight, and then I am going to tab to Length and change it to 500%, and that's it. Now I will press the Enter key or the Return key a couple times in order to hide that panel, and then I will drag to create my arrowhead, like so, and notice as I am drawing my path outline, and this works with a Custom Shape tool as well, the one that we use to draw the fleur-de-lis as well as all the other shape tools.

You can press and hold the Spacebar midway into your drag to move the shape to a different location. Anyway, once I get done I will release, and it's a total mess, what in the world's happening. Well, I have got some style attributes that are automatically assigned to my shape because that last shape that I was working with that little info i thing had all those layer effects assigned to it. I am glomming those layer effects on to my new arrowhead as well, which happens to be colored black, which isn't what I want at all.

So I could go ahead and just take this shape that I have drawn and clear out its layer effects by right-clicking on the fx icon incidentally, and I could choose Clear layer Style, and I will get rid of everything, like so, and then I would change the color and yada-yada. But instead what I am going to do is this. Press the Backspace key here or the Delete key on the Mac to get rid of that shape I just drew. Then go up here and just make sure my style is cleared out, which it is. By virtue of the fact that I just got rid of the layer effects assigned to that previous layer, the one I threw away.

I have now cleared out my style, but had I not done that I could click the down-pointing arrowhead, and I could choose the box with the red line to it, and that will go ahead and clear out those Style options. Next, I am going to switch my Color, might as well do that in advance. By clicking on the Color Swatch which brings up the Color Picker dialog box, and I am going to change my Hue value to 35 degrees, which gives me an orange, and I am going to change Saturation to 100 % and Brightness to 100%, and this particular orange works very well with the Blend mode that I will show you in a moment, and it allows you to see through your arrows.

Basically you are going to get good effects if you are trying to work with this Blend mode, which is Hard Light as I will show you in a second. But if you want to get a see-through effect associated with Hard Light then you can adjust this Hue value in essentially 60 degree increments starting at 35 degrees. So if you switch to 95 degrees or 215 degrees or etcetera, etcetera, adding 60 degrees each time, and the reason you have to work this way is the Hard Light Blend mode is a little bit fickle, where solid colors are concerned.

Anyway, I will click OK having selected these values, and then I will go ahead and draw my arrow. Now I happen to press the Shift key in order to constrain the angle of my arrow to the nearest 45 degree increment, and draw it way too long, like so, because we want to be able to fade it in. All right, the next step is to rename the layer arrow, like so, and now I am going to add a layer mask by clicking on the layer mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, and that will add a pixel-based layer mask, and now using the Gradient tool I'll go ahead and grab the Gradient tool or press the G key, and make sure that you are working with a default Black to White Gradient like so, and I am, but you can go ahead and switch your Gradient setting if need be.

Actually the safest thing to do is select this third Gradient option Black, White. Make sure you have Linear turned on, Reverse is turned off, otherwise just observe the settings that you see in my options bar, and I am going to drag from about here, so well inside of the arrow. From about this location to -- I don't know, very close to the arrowhead, but I want to give a little bit of room, and I will press the Shift key since I want to match that 45 degree angle right there, and I end up creating this fading arrowhead effect, like so.

All right, a couple of other modifications I want to make. I want to change the Blend mode, I want to add a Drop Shadow, and I want to be able to see through that Drop Shadow, and those are all settings that I will demonstrate to you in the following exercise.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced
Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

247 video lessons · 32829 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 40m 2s
    1. Welcome
      2m 1s
    2. Making Photoshop your default image editor
      7m 43s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 10s
    4. Remapping OS shortcuts
      7m 37s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 31s
    6. The color settings explained
      6m 54s
    7. Loading the CS5 color settings in Bridge
      3m 6s
  2. 1h 5m
    1. What you can do with Photoshop
      1m 46s
    2. The mission-critical eyes
      2m 44s
    3. Copy Merged and Paste in Place
      6m 52s
    4. Sharpening details to match
      4m 34s
    5. Masking eyes
      9m 22s
    6. Working with clipping-mask layers
      9m 5s
    7. Shading with layer effects
      8m 10s
    8. Color and highlight effects
      4m 2s
    9. Refining layer masks
      5m 43s
    10. Fabricating the highlights in the pupils
      7m 33s
    11. Using a merged copy to sharpen
      5m 34s
  3. 2h 14m
    1. Highlights, shadows, and midtones
      1m 16s
    2. Introducing the Auto commands
      7m 23s
    3. Adjusting Cache Level settings
      6m 8s
    4. Reading a channel-by-channel histogram
      6m 21s
    5. How the Auto commands work
      5m 22s
    6. Auto Tone, Auto Contrast, and Auto Color
      7m 7s
    7. Blending the Auto results
      4m 4s
    8. Introducing the Levels command
      6m 15s
    9. Using Levels as an adjustment layer
      3m 12s
    10. Applying custom Levels adjustments
      6m 8s
    11. Understanding the gamma value
      7m 39s
    12. The futility of Output Levels
      2m 56s
    13. Selections and adjustment layers
      5m 48s
    14. Opening up the shadows
      3m 40s
    15. Previewing clipped pixels
      4m 51s
    16. The black, white, and gray eyedroppers
      5m 7s
    17. Gray card tips and tricks
      6m 5s
    18. Making channel-by-channel adjustments
      7m 29s
    19. Introducing the Curves command
      7m 44s
    20. Curves dialog box tricks
      7m 16s
    21. Curves adjustment layer tricks
      5m 45s
    22. Correcting an image with Curves
      5m 32s
    23. Filling in the highlights
      5m 42s
    24. Neutralizing casts and smoothing transitions
      5m 37s
  4. 1h 46m
    1. The art of enhancing edges
      1m 26s
    2. How sharpening works
      6m 2s
    3. The single-shot sharpeners
      6m 7s
    4. Introducing Unsharp Mask
      6m 19s
    5. Radius and Threshold
      6m 24s
    6. Sharpening colors vs. luminosity
      5m 56s
    7. Gauging the ideal settings
      8m 59s
    8. Unsharp Mask vs. Smart Sharpen
      7m 1s
    9. Using the Remove settings
      9m 30s
    10. The More Accurate checkbox
      6m 8s
    11. Saving your Smart Filter settings
      5m 31s
    12. The Advanced sharpening settings
      7m 52s
    13. Accounting for camera shake
      6m 18s
    14. Sharpening with the Emboss filter
      6m 43s
    15. Sharpening with High Pass
      9m 23s
    16. The new and improved Sharpen tool
      6m 22s
  5. 1h 34m
    1. Edge's evil twin: noise
      1m 12s
    2. Color vs. luminance noise
      7m 21s
    3. Reducing color noise
      7m 45s
    4. Reducing luminance noise
      4m 59s
    5. Relegating an effect to the shadows
      6m 27s
    6. Switching between layer and mask
      6m 59s
    7. The Dust & Scratches filter
      4m 56s
    8. Adjusting shadow saturation
      5m 52s
    9. Combining High Pass with Lens Blur
      6m 57s
    10. Masking a layer of Lens Blur
      7m 34s
    11. Painting away High Pass sharpening
      8m 22s
    12. Building up a noise pattern
      6m 40s
    13. Converting noise to texture
      4m 24s
    14. Bleeding colors into paper
      6m 16s
    15. Matching different noise levels
      8m 31s
  6. 1h 32m
    1. We are the stuff of light
      1m 24s
    2. Applying automatic lens correction
      5m 53s
    3. Introducing Shadows/Highlights
      3m 44s
    4. Shadows/Highlights in depth
      7m 59s
    5. Creating a "bounce" with Gaussian Blur
      4m 43s
    6. Sharpening on top of blur
      7m 3s
    7. Sharpening the merged composition
      6m 16s
    8. Grouping and masking layers
      5m 40s
    9. Adjusting the density of a mask
      7m 14s
    10. Creating a Shadows/Highlights shortcut
      5m 47s
    11. Restoring detail with Shadows/Highlights
      6m 23s
    12. Changing the Shadows/Highlights defaults
      6m 21s
    13. Smoothing skin details with Gaussian Blur
      3m 56s
    14. Smoothing with High Pass
      5m 44s
    15. Lowering contrast with Gaussian Blur
      7m 4s
    16. Inverting a sharpening effect
      7m 5s
  7. 2h 32m
    1. Color becomes monochrome
      1m 31s
    2. Converting an image to grayscale
      6m 49s
    3. Extracting luminance information
      7m 37s
    4. Introducing the Channel Mixer
      10m 23s
    5. Aggressive channel mixing
      9m 42s
    6. Proofing CMYK colors
      7m 49s
    7. Color settings and intent
      7m 6s
    8. Practical Channel Mixer variations
      4m 30s
    9. Saving variations as layer comps
      7m 57s
    10. The default grayscale recipe
      8m 55s
    11. Creating a custom black-and-white mix
      6m 59s
    12. Shadows/Highlights in black and white
      4m 58s
    13. Introducing the Black & White command
      5m 55s
    14. Adjusting Black & White settings
      9m 39s
    15. Mixing a Black & White portrait
      6m 32s
    16. Black & White vs. Channel Mixer
      9m 21s
    17. Adding tint and color
      8m 0s
    18. Introducing the Gradient Map
      7m 10s
    19. Loading custom gradients
      4m 32s
    20. Editing gradient color stops
      9m 58s
    21. Colorizing with blend modes and Opacity
      7m 13s
  8. 2h 10m
    1. Two great commands working great together
      1m 18s
    2. Introducing the Color Range command
      5m 13s
    3. Setting key colors and Fuzziness
      5m 38s
    4. Predefined vs. sampled colors
      3m 57s
    5. The Localized Color Clusters option
      5m 41s
    6. Defining a selection with care
      4m 44s
    7. Introducing the Quick Mask mode
      5m 20s
    8. Testing edges with the Magic Wand
      5m 14s
    9. Hand-brushing a selection
      5m 39s
    10. Saving and loading an alpha channel
      4m 35s
    11. Converting a selection to a layer mask
      2m 46s
    12. Switching between an image and a layer mask
      6m 58s
    13. Protecting elements with a layer mask
      8m 5s
    14. Duplicating and editing a layer mask
      7m 34s
    15. Introducing the Refine Edge command
      4m 46s
    16. Accessing the various Refine Edge options
      5m 35s
    17. Refine Edge's preview options
      6m 21s
    18. The Adjust Edge values
      4m 11s
    19. Edge Detection and Smart Radius
      6m 5s
    20. Using the Refine Radius tool
      8m 8s
    21. Using the Decontaminate Colors option
      7m 30s
    22. Old-school masking adjustments
      7m 7s
    23. Four micro mask adjustments
      8m 33s
  9. 3h 13m
    1. Photoshop's vector exceptions
      1m 11s
    2. Making text in Photoshop
      6m 18s
    3. Creating and editing a text layer
      6m 56s
    4. Font and type style
      7m 35s
    5. Type size and color
      7m 52s
    6. Combining layer effects and type
      10m 57s
    7. Drawing a custom shape layer
      8m 34s
    8. Side bearing, kerning, and tracking
      10m 36s
    9. Point text vs. area text
      8m 26s
    10. Selecting and formatting a paragraph
      5m 19s
    11. Copying and pasting unformatted text
      7m 45s
    12. Creating text inside a custom path
      6m 26s
    13. Creating text along a path
      8m 13s
    14. Adjusting baseline shift
      6m 16s
    15. Drawing a fading arrowhead
      7m 29s
    16. Fading a shadow with a layer
      5m 32s
    17. Logo creation and Fill Opacity
      7m 44s
    18. Stretching a background element
      6m 9s
    19. Drawing with shape outlines
      6m 18s
    20. Combining vector-based shapes
      6m 42s
    21. Masking vector-based shape layers
      6m 7s
    22. Correcting spacing problems
      7m 44s
    23. Drawing the ultimate specular sparkle
      8m 45s
    24. Preparing text for commercial output
      5m 9s
    25. Saving a high-resolution PDF file
      7m 11s
    26. Inspecting the final PDF document
      7m 8s
    27. Saving large poster art
      9m 32s
  10. 2h 36m
    1. What filters ought to be
      1m 25s
    2. Layer effects vs. filters
      6m 14s
    3. Carving with an Inner Shadow effect
      7m 45s
    4. Selling an effect with Drop Shadow
      7m 17s
    5. Creating blurry shadow type
      5m 30s
    6. Saving custom default settings
      6m 22s
    7. Creating a custom contour
      7m 3s
    8. Introducing Bevel and Emboss
      7m 35s
    9. Adjusting Angle and Altitude
      7m 8s
    10. Exploiting global light
      8m 11s
    11. Gloss and edge contour
      5m 8s
    12. Applying and creating layer styles
      6m 45s
    13. Loading, saving, and merging styles
      6m 17s
    14. Creating a textured bevel effect
      6m 56s
    15. Using shadows as highlights
      7m 39s
    16. Combining filters and effects
      6m 58s
    17. Working with random effects
      6m 55s
    18. Smoothing with Gaussian Blur and Levels
      6m 13s
    19. Masking blacks from whites
      4m 37s
    20. Applying liquid styles
      4m 36s
    21. Simulating liquid reflections
      8m 12s
    22. Finessing and cropping a liquid effect
      7m 25s
    23. Initiating a displacement map
      6m 17s
    24. Applying a displacement map
      7m 37s
  11. 1h 12m
    1. Two words: Free Transform
      34s
    2. Scale, rotate, and constrain
      6m 30s
    3. Using the transformation origin
      7m 42s
    4. Applying a slant (aka skew)
      3m 37s
    5. The four-point "perspective" distortion
      7m 51s
    6. Two ways to make gradient text
      5m 59s
    7. Building complexity from a simple shape
      4m 42s
    8. Duplicating a series of transformations
      6m 3s
    9. Rasterizing a layer with its effects
      6m 41s
    10. Applying a custom warp
      7m 24s
    11. Blending and softening a warped layer
      4m 39s
    12. Creating spherical highlights
      6m 30s
    13. Using a center-source inner glow
      3m 51s
  12. 2h 42m
    1. Distorting reality
      1m 33s
    2. Extracting a foreground element
      6m 45s
    3. Introducing the Puppet Warp command
      7m 20s
    4. Setting and manipulating pins
      7m 48s
    5. Rotating pins and switching warp modes
      6m 41s
    6. Expanding and contracting the mesh
      6m 11s
    7. Changing the Density setting
      8m 0s
    8. Adjusting the pin depth
      5m 18s
    9. Winding an image into a pretzel
      6m 2s
    10. Applying Puppet Warp to type
      6m 30s
    11. Warping single characters
      6m 25s
    12. Editing puppet-warped text
      8m 24s
    13. Extending an image with Free Transform
      8m 46s
    14. Extracting from a white background
      10m 5s
    15. Tracing a shape with Puppet Warp
      9m 1s
    16. Introducing the Liquify command
      5m 4s
    17. Warp, Twirl, Pucker, and Bloat
      8m 53s
    18. Saving and loading a mesh
      5m 59s
    19. Push, Mirror, and Turbulence
      11m 49s
    20. Lifting and slimming details
      8m 22s
    21. Warping fabric, arms, and legs
      7m 1s
    22. Masking and finessing the results
      10m 8s
  13. 3h 3m
    1. Welcome to the digital darkroom
      1m 44s
    2. Introducing Camera Raw
      7m 40s
    3. Adjusting white balance
      7m 0s
    4. Selecting and synchronizing images
      6m 9s
    5. Making automatic adjustments and saving changes
      7m 19s
    6. Creating and managing snapshots
      8m 23s
    7. Adjusting the Exposure value
      6m 24s
    8. Working with clipping warnings
      5m 5s
    9. Adjusting Brightness and Contrast
      7m 35s
    10. Vibrance, Saturation, and Clarity
      9m 25s
    11. Recovery and Fill Light
      6m 57s
    12. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      7m 2s
    13. Painting edits with the Adjustment Brush
      9m 44s
    14. Straighten, crop, and geometric distortions
      7m 49s
    15. Applying manual lens corrections
      7m 19s
    16. Vignette and chromatic aberrations
      6m 21s
    17. Introducing the Tone Curves
      6m 9s
    18. Parametric curves and targeted adjustments
      6m 26s
    19. Correcting a low-noise photograph
      7m 35s
    20. Sharpening and high-noise photos
      8m 25s
    21. Selective Hue/Saturation adjustments
      5m 34s
    22. Selective Luminance adjustments
      5m 39s
    23. Adding grain and vignetting effects
      5m 23s
    24. Mixing a subjective black-and-white image
      7m 53s
    25. Colorizing with the Split Toning options
      4m 29s
    26. Opening a raw image as a Smart Object
      5m 39s
    27. Camera Raw wrap-up
      8m 38s
  14. 55s
    1. Until next time
      55s

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