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Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced
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Drawing smooth points with the Pen tool


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Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

with Deke McClelland

Video: Drawing smooth points with the Pen tool

In this movie, I'll show you how to draw a custom path outline made up of smooth points, using the Pen tool. And just to keep the learning curve as shallow as possible, we will go ahead and retrace this droplet. So I will right-click on the vector mask thumbnail here inside the Layers panel, and I'll choose Delete Vector Mask in order to get rid of it. And then I'll switch to the Pen tool, which you can get by pressing the P key. I'll go ahead and start my path outline up here toward the top. Now, you'll undoubtedly recall that you create corner points by clicking with the Pen tool, and in each case, the corner point has no control handles associated with it whatsoever, and as a result, we end up getting straight segments. All right, I don't want that path outline, so I will press the Control key, or the Command key on the Mac, to get my white arrow tool.
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  1. 30m 4s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 19s
    2. Loading the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      6m 5s
    3. Remapping your Macintosh OS shortcuts
      3m 4s
    4. Adjusting a few general preferences
      4m 3s
    5. Using the visual HUD color picker
      2m 2s
    6. The interface and performance settings
      5m 31s
    7. Adjusting the color settings in Photoshop
      7m 0s
  2. 47m 0s
    1. Smart Objects
      1m 36s
    2. Three ways to place a Smart Object
      3m 6s
    3. Copying and pasting from Adobe Illustrator
      4m 11s
    4. Transforming and warping a vector object
      4m 48s
    5. Blending a Smart Object into a photograph
      3m 10s
    6. Blurring with a nested Smart Filter
      4m 57s
    7. Editing a Smart Object in Illustrator
      3m 20s
    8. Creating "true clones"
      3m 50s
    9. Duplicating a group of clones
      2m 53s
    10. Breaking the Smart Object link
      2m 53s
    11. Styling and blending Smart Objects
      2m 44s
    12. Editing originals; updating clones
      3m 41s
    13. Removing people from a scene with Median
      5m 51s
  3. 29m 59s
    1. Luminance meets sharpening
      1m 2s
    2. Correcting for lens distortion
      4m 39s
    3. Introducing Shadows/Highlights
      3m 54s
    4. Mitigating halos with Radius values
      4m 19s
    5. Enhancing the effects of Midtone Contrast
      3m 18s
    6. Creating a "bounce" with Gaussian Blur
      3m 29s
    7. Sharpening on top of blur
      2m 47s
    8. Masking a group of Smart Filters
      2m 53s
    9. Reducing the density of a layer mask
      3m 38s
  4. 49m 10s
    1. Using Curves
      2m 40s
    2. Introducing the Curves adjustment
      7m 36s
    3. Adding and editing points on a curve
      6m 27s
    4. Winning Curves tips and tricks
      8m 12s
    5. Correcting a challenging image
      6m 33s
    6. Selecting and darkening highlights
      4m 39s
    7. Neutralizing colors and smoothing transitions
      6m 6s
    8. The new automatic Curves function
      6m 57s
  5. 1h 31m
    1. Camera Raw
      2m 11s
    2. Opening and editing multiple images
      8m 1s
    3. Correcting white balance
      4m 8s
    4. The revamped Exposure controls
      8m 8s
    5. Working with archival images
      7m 54s
    6. The Spot Removal and Graduated Filter tools
      6m 4s
    7. Painting edits with the Adjustment Brush
      7m 23s
    8. Tone Curves (and why you don't need them)
      5m 57s
    9. Straighten, crop, and geometric distortions
      5m 17s
    10. Applying manual lens corrections
      5m 14s
    11. Vignette, chromatic aberration, and fringe
      6m 49s
    12. Selective hue, saturation, and luminance
      6m 36s
    13. Working with JPEG and TIFF images
      6m 36s
    14. Camera Raw Smart Objects
      6m 48s
    15. Editing Camera Raw images from Bridge
      4m 24s
  6. 32m 30s
    1. Duotones
      1m 23s
    2. Creating a professional-quality sepia tone
      4m 18s
    3. Introducing the Gradient Map adjustment
      5m 42s
    4. Loading a library of custom gradients
      3m 48s
    5. Creating a custom quadtone
      5m 48s
    6. Colorizing with blend modes and Opacity
      4m 6s
    7. Creating a faux-color, high-key effect
      7m 25s
  7. 1h 6m
    1. Noise vs. Details
      1m 28s
    2. Introducing the Reduce Noise filter
      7m 29s
    3. Correcting a noisy photo
      5m 33s
    4. Smoothing over high-contrast noise
      5m 50s
    5. Protecting details with an edge mask
      4m 52s
    6. Adjusting overly saturated shadows
      3m 35s
    7. Correcting with High Pass and Lens Blur
      3m 45s
    8. Brushing away blur and sharpening
      6m 42s
    9. Creating texture by adding noise
      5m 28s
    10. The Camera Raw Detail panel
      7m 8s
    11. Correcting noise and detail in Camera Raw
      8m 10s
    12. Adding noise grain and vignetting effects
      6m 47s
  8. 44m 30s
    1. Blur Gallery
      1m 36s
    2. Creating depth-of-field effects in post
      5m 29s
    3. Modifying your Field Blur settings
      4m 57s
    4. Editing and exporting a Field Blur mask
      6m 15s
    5. Adding a synthetic light bokeh
      3m 52s
    6. Using the Selection Bleed option
      7m 29s
    7. Creating a radial blur with Iris Blur
      6m 59s
    8. Creating "fake miniatures" with Tilt-Shift
      4m 35s
    9. Combining multiple Blur Gallery effects
      3m 18s
  9. 1h 34m
    1. Blend Modes
      1m 16s
    2. Using the Dissolve mode
      9m 47s
    3. Multiply and the darken modes
      8m 30s
    4. Screen and the lighten modes
      8m 10s
    5. Cleaning up and integrating a bad photo
      6m 38s
    6. Blending inside blend modes
      6m 55s
    7. Overlay and the contrast modes
      6m 53s
    8. A few great uses for the contrast modes
      9m 7s
    9. Difference, Exclusion, Subtract, and Divide
      5m 5s
    10. Capturing the differences between images
      4m 18s
    11. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      4m 45s
    12. Blend mode shortcuts
      6m 21s
    13. The Fill Opacity Eight
      8m 57s
    14. Using the luminance-exclusion slider bars
      8m 8s
  10. 44m 20s
    1. Color Range
      1m 14s
    2. Introducing the Color Range command
      7m 24s
    3. Selecting a complex image with Color Range
      5m 49s
    4. Refining a selection in the Quick Mask mode
      7m 4s
    5. Viewing a mask with or without its image
      4m 24s
    6. Painting directly inside an alpha channel
      5m 39s
    7. Correcting fringes around a masked layer
      8m 5s
    8. Turning a layer into a knockout
      4m 41s
  11. 59m 43s
    1. Refine Edges
      1m 28s
    2. Laying down a base layer mask
      6m 49s
    3. Introducing the Refine Edge/Mask command
      7m 57s
    4. Edge detection and Smart Radius
      4m 42s
    5. Using the Refine Radius tool
      7m 31s
    6. The transformative power of Refine Edge
      3m 37s
    7. Perfecting a mask with overlay painting
      10m 58s
    8. Combining Quick Selection with Refine Mask
      10m 37s
    9. Bolstering and integrating hair
      6m 4s
  12. 1h 18m
    1. The Pen tool
      1m 50s
    2. Pixel-based masking versus the Pen tool
      6m 45s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided path outline
      6m 57s
    4. Moving, deleting, and adding anchor points
      6m 10s
    5. Dragging control handles to modify curves
      5m 27s
    6. Converting a path outline to a vector mask
      5m 36s
    7. Customizing a geometric shape
      5m 53s
    8. How to position points and control handles
      7m 7s
    9. Drawing smooth points with the Pen tool
      8m 7s
    10. Duplicating and scaling a vector mask
      5m 21s
    11. Cusp points and the Rubber Band option
      6m 21s
    12. Setting anchor points in the pasteboard
      6m 8s
    13. Using the Convert Point tool
      6m 43s

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Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced
11h 8m Advanced Sep 12, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

The third part of the popular and comprehensive series Photoshop CS6 One-on-One follows industry pro Deke McClelland as he plunges into the inner workings of Adobe Photoshop. He shows how to adjust your color, interface, and performance settings to get the best out of your images and the most out of Photoshop, and explores the power of Smart Objects, Shadows/Highlights, and Curves for making subtle, nondestructive adjustments. The course dives into Camera Raw to experiment with the editing toolset there, and returns to Photoshop to discuss toning, blur, and blend modes. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details and reducing noise, as well as creating quick and accurate selections with Quick Mask, Color Range, and Refine Edge commands.

Topics include:
  • Adjusting the color settings in Photoshop
  • Placing and blending Smart Objects in a scene
  • Transforming and warping vector objects
  • Correcting for lens distortion
  • Mitigating halos and enhancing contrast with Shadows/Highlights
  • Adding and editing points on a curve
  • Editing multiple images in Camera Raw
  • Creating a pro-quality sepia tone or quadtone
  • Colorizing with blend modes and opacity
  • Reducing and smoothing over noise
  • Creating depth-of-field effects with blur
  • Selecting with Color Range and Quick Mask
  • Perfecting a mask with Refine Edge
  • Drawing paths with the Pen tool
  • Converting path outlines to vector masks
Subjects:
Design Raw Processing
Software:
Photoshop Camera Raw
Author:
Deke McClelland

Drawing smooth points with the Pen tool

In this movie, I'll show you how to draw a custom path outline made up of smooth points, using the Pen tool. And just to keep the learning curve as shallow as possible, we will go ahead and retrace this droplet. So I will right-click on the vector mask thumbnail here inside the Layers panel, and I'll choose Delete Vector Mask in order to get rid of it. And then I'll switch to the Pen tool, which you can get by pressing the P key. I'll go ahead and start my path outline up here toward the top. Now, you'll undoubtedly recall that you create corner points by clicking with the Pen tool, and in each case, the corner point has no control handles associated with it whatsoever, and as a result, we end up getting straight segments. All right, I don't want that path outline, so I will press the Control key, or the Command key on the Mac, to get my white arrow tool.

Then I will click anywhere on the path to partially select it, and I will press the Backspace key, or the Delete key on a Mac, two times in a row; first to get rid of the selected segment, in my case. That goes ahead and selects the remainder of the path, and then you press Backspace or Delete again in order to get rid of that path outline. All right. So clicking creates a corner point; dragging creates a smooth point. So you click and drag, like so, and the point at which you click, that is, where you begin your drag; that's the location of the smooth point right there.

And as you drag outward, a control handle emerges in both directions. So I've got a control handle under my cursor, and I have a symmetrical control handle in exactly the opposite direction. Then you go ahead and release in order to create that smooth point. Now, notice, in my case, that I set my anchor point at more or less the 1 o'clock position on this droplet, and continuing with the clock metaphor, I dragged in the clockwise direction. Now, that's not important. You can set your points where you think they need to be, and you can drag in any direction you like.

But once you've begun a path outline, as we have here -- and you can see that it's active, because the pen cursor doesn't have an asterisk next to it -- you need to stick with that direction. So if you start the path in a clockwise direction, then you need to stay clockwise. If you start your path in a counterclockwise direction, you need to keep drawing it in a counterclockwise direction. So that means I am going to set a point here at about 3 o'clock, and I am going to drag clockwise, because if I were to drag in the wrong direction -- counterclockwise, in this case -- I would reverse the curvature of the path, and we'd get this inaccurate bend.

So by virtue of the fact that I am continuing clockwise, I am continuing to draw the path just as it needs to be drawn. One control handle, the control handle that doesn't affect anything so far, is under my cursor. The opposite control handle is affecting the first curve segment that's being laid down. And so, by virtue of the fact that I have two control handles now, Photoshop is drawing a curved segment between my two anchor points. Now I will click down here at about 6 o'clock and drag again in a clockwise direction.

If I were to go in a counterclockwise direction, as if I were to try to control the segment that's being drawn, then I would end up curving the segment the wrong way. So you are actually controlling the segmented hand indirectly. If you don't get it right, you can always go back and make adjustments, and you can do that as easily as pressing and holding the Control key, or the Command key on a Mac, to temporarily get the white arrow tool. Then you can click on an anchor point to select it. You can drag a control handle to a different location as desired. You could drag directly on a segment if you wanted to. Make any modifications you like, and then when you are ready to draw again, go ahead and release the Control key, or the Command key on the Mac, and you will return to your Pen tool, and with any luck, the path will remain active, as it has in my case. All right, now I'm going to create a point here at 9:30, or so.

I will drag, again, in a clockwise direction. I'm indirectly controlling the curvature of the segmented hand, and once I get that segment looking the way it should, I will release. Then finally, I want to go ahead and close the path, and I will do that just by clicking. So you hover your cursor over the first smooth point, and you click, and that will go ahead and maintain the control handle that you already had associated with that anchor point, and curve the segment accordingly. Now, it's not going to look right, necessarily. You are going to have to go back and modify it, but you will close the path with a nicely curving segment. All right.

Now we want to adjust this path outline, obviously, so I will press the A key to switch back to the white arrow tool, which is the last arrow I used. If you're getting the black arrow tool instead, then press Shift+A, and now I will click on the path outline to select it. Specifically, I have clicked on this upper left segment, and that allows me to see the two control handles associated with that segment, without selecting either the neighboring anchor points; notice that. So now I will go ahead and drag this control handle up and over, like that. I think this anchor point wants to be a little higher, so I will click on it, and nudge it by pressing the arrow keys.

Then I will go ahead and drag this guy a little up, and I'll drag this guy a little bit farther down. So you end up doing a fair amount of backing and forthing when you're working with control handles inside Photoshop. Let's say I'm thinking this looks pretty good. Well obviously, the first thing I want to do is switch to the Paths panel, and save off that work path so I don't lose it. So I will double-click on Work Path. I'll call this one pen tool path, and then click OK. Now I want to convert it to a vector mask. I am going to switch back to Layers panel, just to make sure I have the right layer selected.

I do, and now I will show you yet another way to turn a path into a vector mask. You switch to the Pen tool, which again, you can get by pressing the P key, and then you go up to the options bar. We've got some new options available to us in CS6. There is one called Shape, which allows you to convert the path to a shape layer. We don't want that. There is one called Mask that allows you to convert it to a vector mask, as we are seeing right here. All right. Now let's confirm our work here. I will click on the vector mask to make it active; that deactivates the path in the Paths panel, by the way. And then I'll go ahead and click on it again in order to hide the vector mask.

And I can see down here at the bottom that I've got a little bit of kind of an edge, and I am not sure if that's coming from the background or not. And the only way to tell for sure is to Shift+Click on the vector mask thumbnail to turn it off for a moment, and I can see that, yeah, that area was indeed part of the droplet. If you want to be able to see the path at the same time as the drop, just go ahead and click on that vector mask thumbnail. And it looks like we've got a pretty darn accurate mask actually. If anything, I have cut into the droplet a little bit, because once again, it's generally better to select too little of an image element than too much.

So I will go ahead and zoom out a click. And let's say that this area right there; I want to capture more of the droplet. I'll press the A key to switch back to the white arrow tool, and I will click on the path outline to select it, and then I'll go ahead and drag the control handle out and over a little bit, so I get more of that droplet. So notice that I'm editing the vector mask, even though it's not active at the current moment. All right. I'm going to drag that anchor point up a little bit, and then I will go ahead and drag this control handle down, because I am trying to make sure that we also go ahead and select the top of the drop accurately, which means I need to move that anchor point up farther even still.

And this might actually work out. I am going to nudge the anchor point over and up a little bit, and then I'm going to take the wind out of this control handle, so that it's not yanking the segment so high. Then I might go ahead and take this guy over. So every action has an equal and opposite reaction, so you may not be able to trace the droplet exactly, in which case, again, make sure you're cheating into the droplet as supposed to out. And then if you want to see the results of that vector mask, go ahead and click on it first to hide it, and then Shift+Click on the vector mask thumbnail there in the Layers panel in order to apply it to the droplet once again. All right, so that's how you go about drawing smooth points using the Pen tool.

In the next movie, we'll create the soft shadow, again, using a vector mask.

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